Intestinal parasites are usually caused by protozoa or helminths. Protozoa are single-celled organisms that can multiply in the human body, while helminths are multi-celled organisms like larvae or worms that can’t reproduce within your body.
Some of the most common protozoa are Cryptosporidium and Giardia, while the most prevalent helminths are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and pinworms.
Intestinal parasites are mostly transmitted when someone comes in contact with infected feces (usually by way of contaminated water, food, or soil).
Other risk factors for intestinal parasites include living in areas that are known to have parasites, poor hygiene, exposure to institutional and children care centers, poor sanitation, and having a weak immune system.
People can also contact intestinal parasites from house pets. Most pet owners do not remember to always wash their hands after playing with their pets.
Pets have specific grooming habits that usually involve licking their fur, and most times, parasites and eggs are stuck in the fur.
What are the symptoms of intestinal parasites?
If you have intestinal parasites, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms.
- Weakness or fatigue
- Weight loss
- Stomach tenderness or pain
- Passing out worm in your stool
If you feel you may be infected by an intestinal parasite, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Your physician may order testing (including stool testing) prescribe treatment, and suggest some preventive measures.
After treatment, your doctor may likely carry out another test to make sure that the parasites are gone.
You are advised not to self-diagnose as improper diagnosis and treatment can further complicate the condition that may have been easily cured.
What are natural remedies to get rid of intestinal parasites?
Although these natural remedies lack substantial evidence to back their effectiveness in treating intestinal parasites, some preliminary studies suggest that certain dietary supplements and herbs may have potential.
Here some natural remedies that are worth the shot.
Berberine is a compound present in a variety of herbs such as the European barberry (Berberis vulgaris) and is shown to help fight off intestinal parasites in several preliminary research.
In 2014, a report was published in the Iranian Journal of Parasitology, which noted that berberine extracted from barberry displayed activity that may provide protection against tapeworm infection. Berberine can also be found in herbs like coptis and goldenseal.
In 2007, a pilot study published in the Journal of Medicine Food tested the effectiveness of papaya seeds in treating intestinal parasites.
Sixty participants – children – who were diagnosed with intestinal parasites were split into two randomized groups; one group was given an elixir containing a mixture of honey and papaya seeds, and the other was given honey alone.
After one week, over 70% of the group that received the papaya-honey elixir had their stools cleared of parasites.
A preliminary study published in Parasitology Research in 2010 showed that wormwood might be useful in treating intestinal parasites as it kills off a type of helminth known as Heterobranchus longifilis.
The herb contains substances known as sesquiterpene lactones, which are said to weaken parasite membranes.
Pumpkin seeds are a natural remedy that has shown lots of promise in treating intestinal parasites, as it contains high amounts of fatty acids and amino acids, as well as the compounds cucurbitine, berberine, and palatine.
Studies on the effectiveness of pumpkin seeds in treating intestinal parasites include a preliminary study published in 2016 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, in which pumpkin seeds extracts were found to have some anti-parasitic components.
Natural medicine practitioners sometimes recommend specific dietary strategies when treating intestinal parasites to increase stomach acids, which offer protection against food-borne parasites.
These strategies include:
- Adding more garlic to your meals
- Temporarily avoiding refined sugar, coffee, refined grains, and alcohol.
- Eating foods rich in B vitamins and vitamin C
- Increasing your consumption of sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and other foods rich in beta carotene ( an antecedent of vitamin A which may boost resistance to penetration by helminths)
- Avoiding raw fish or meat (especially pork meat)
- Rebuilding beneficial bacteria in your gut by consuming foods that are rich in probiotics such as yogurt.
Some practitioners also recommend an intestinal cleanse or detox, a process that involves pairing certain supplements with a high-fiber diet to aid your body in eliminating intestinal parasites.
These supplements include beetroot, flaxseeds, and psyllium.
Being infected by an intestinal parasite can be discomforting, but there are some remedies that you can try at home to get rid of them and speed up recovery.
While these remedies are backed by preliminary laboratory and animal studies that suggest that they may provide some benefits, there are very few clinical trials (the kind of research that you need to see before trying any treatment) to back up these claims.
If you feel you have parasites, it’s essential that you consult your doctor for proper diagnosis. Proper treatment may lessen the likelihood of complications and prevent the condition from deteriorating.
Have you tried any of these remedies before? Do you know any remedy that people use in your region to treat intestinal parasites?
We would love to hear from you, do not hesitate to share with us your personal experiences with these remedies and other ones not listed here in the comments section below. Other users may benefit a lot from your contributions to this post. Thanks!