Parasites

Last month we reported that for many patients treated for intestinal problems like candida or a leaky gut who don't get better, the nub of the problem is often a parasite infection. Getting rid of it may be difficult with conventional medicine, but many alternative remedies have a solid track record of success.Homoeopathy

A two part study by the Chiropractic Academy of Homoeopathy in the US reported on a number of homoeopathic remedies which have long demonstrated action against specific parasites (J Chiro Acad Hom, 1996; 7: 49-54).

Cina 3DH (Wormseed, Artemisia maritima) is effective against pinworms (Oxyuris vermicularis). Naphthaline 3DH (coal-tar camphor) is effective against threadworm (Trichuris trichiura), especially when the urinary tract is irritated. Santoninum 2DH or 3DH , derived from A maritima, is highly valued for treating worm diseases, other than tape worm, which cause gastrointestinal irritation, nasal itching, restless sleep and twitching muscles. Don't use this remedy if your symptoms include fevers or constipation.

Tanacetum vulgaris 2DH (Tansy) is useful when there are abdominal reflex spasms. Use 10 drops in some water every eight hours against roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) or threadworm (T trichiura) in children. Never take this when you are pregnant. For threadworms, when the rectum is highly irritated, use 10 drops of Teucrium marum (Cat-thyme) in some water.

Herbal Medicine

Balmony (Chelone glabra), butternut bark (Juglans cinerea), centaury (Cent-aurium erythraea), European pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), quassia (Picrasma excelsor) and southernwood (Artemisia abrontanum) are among the highly effective plant remedies for parasites found in herbalism's reference manuals (S Y Mills, The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism, Wellingborough: Thorsons, 1985: 22; R Mabey, The Complete New Herbal, Penguin, 1991: 203).

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), the Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolia) and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) have all been shown to be effective in inhibiting a variety of parasitic, fungal and microbial infestations (Sabouraudia, 1982; 20: 79-81; Nature, 1967; 215: 527-8; Ind J Med Res, 1983, 78: 407-16).

One of the most surprisingly effective cures for some of the most widespread and dangerous parasites is ginger root (Zingiber officinale). Ginger has been shown to be highly potent against nematodes (roundworms), including Anisakis and A lumbricoides, and filarial worms like Wucheria bancrofti.

With Anisakis, which is normally caught through eating raw fish or Japanese sushi, there is no effective orthodox drug treatment. But one study showed that an extract of ginger root caused 91 per cent of the larvae to lose spontaneous movement within four hours and to be completely destroyed within 16 hours. By comparison, pyrantel (Combantrin by Pfizer), a drug for roundworms, was unable to kill the worms even with relatively high dosages.

A lumbricoides, which is believed to infect one billion people worldwide, was also effectively inhibited by ginger root extract.

In a study of infected dogs with Filariae, which afflicts more than 80 million people worldwide, 98 per cent of the parasites were eliminated without any reported toxic effects (J Chiro Acad Hom, 1996; 7: 49-54).

Schistosomiasis from flatworms or flukes is considered to be the second most major parasitic disease in the world. In one study, ginger root extract completely stopped it from taking hold in its early phases. In young children, it was found significantly to reduce the egg count in the urine (G Lapage, Animals Parasitic in Man, New York: Dover, 1963: 87-9). Obviously, the Japanese are onto something in serving up ginger root with sushi.