Those of you not jetting off this Easter may instead by thinking of a Spring-clean in the home. But while the spare room may be in need of a clear out, how about a physical Spring-clean of our own bodies?
It's a salutary thought that the majority of us carry intestinal parasites, which can often be the unsuspected cause of a range of chronic ailments, such as stomach disorders and allergies.
Herbal medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) both have a range of supplements that have successfully treated the intestinal parasite. Perhaps the best known is the aptly named herb wormwood, or Artemisia absinthium. It's been used for centuries to treat parasites, and a wormwood tincture is used today as a worm preventative in the West Indies. Wormwood has also been used for de-worming horses, cows and sheep. It's vitally important never to exceed the recommended dose as wormwood includes monoterpene thujone, a potentially toxic substance.
Several medical studies attest to the efficacy of wormwood, and it's also used to treat appetite loss, disturbed digestion, flatulence and disordered bile flow. Trials have also shown that it can increase the flow of gastric enzymes, pancreatic enzymes and bile.
Other herbal remedies include a decoction from the fruit of the black walnut tree, which has been effective in treating some types of parasites, and clove-bud essential oil, which can be effective if you're suffering from nausea, flatulence and dyspepsia or if you're taking other herbal remedies.
TCM offers stemona, which is a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades. It's used for the treatment of acute cough, and externally to treat fungal infections and lice infestation. It's also used as an enema for pinworm infestation.
A combination of several of the herbal remedies can have a powerful, synergistic effect, especially on a bad case of infestation, although this should be done in conjunction with a qualified herbal practitioner.
(Source: Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients,2003; 237: 46-50).