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Cleansing Parasites from our Bodies

What can you tell me about the validity of having "parasites" and "worms" in
our bodies and the need to "cleanse" beforesupplementing. 

First off this is not an easy question to answer and requires some understanding about parasites. Generally speaking, your conventional physician, MD or DO, will not buy into this discussion at all. With this in mindlets enter this discussion.

First, off we must consider the definition of parasite. A parasite is an organism which feeds off, a host, an example is the small feeder fish on larger fish or a more relevant example is a tapeworm or fluke that uses our own body or other living organisms as its host. They often live symbiotically (together, supporting one another). However, parasites can leach their specific host of nutrients and cause disease.

The idea of human parasites is often disturbing to think about. In the medical field it is common knowledge that parasites lead to diseases. However, we usually think you had to get the parasite by drinking infected water, eating raw fish, exposure to stool from a cat, dog, bird, human or some other exposure.

There has been increased concern about parasites since the 1990's. Much of this concern is generated by the alternative health practitioners ( class=SpellE>ie herbalists and naturopaths). It is generally felt that if the immune system of the host is intact then it is more difficult for class=GramE>the parasite to "set up shop". However, if the immune system is compromised it allows parasites greater ease to invade the body.

Many people are now wondering if they are infested with parasites. Some practitioners have suggested that we all have some parasites. I suppose it can be considered semantics, but abacteria, in a sense, is a parasite.We have bacteria in our intestines that have a symbiotic relationship with our bodies.   Essentially, our body provides nutrients the class=GramE>bacteria needs to survive and this bacteria generates ½ of the Vitamin K we need (just one of many possible examples).A parasite, in a sense, but more of a symbiotic relationship. Our mouths are filled with bacteria and many of these bacteria help the host, but when the host defenses are compromised then the bacteria can be overwhelming, and lead to a serious infection. "We could not exist on this planet and not be in contact with parasites. And while our immune system does a good job of keeping them out of the body a few still get through, just as viruses and bacteria also get through. There is some thought that parasites serve a purpose of keeping our immune system active".

Parasites are ubiquitous. They can be found in water, food and from contact with pets.  Our bodies can be a host to many different types of parasites ranging from microscopic amoebas to very large tapeworms that can exceed several feet in length. 

Physicians utilize tests from stool and or blood and can find many but not all parasites. The alternative practitioner believes that our body is able to deal with small numbers of parasites, but as their numbers increase, we start having diseases or disorders such as, nasal congestion and other allergic symptoms, poor digestion, sleep disturbances, constipation, diarrhea, headaches etc"essentially symptoms that we take as normal variations in our health.  These symptoms do not develop overnight and generally progress slowly so we rarely notice them as anything wrong. Thus, the alternative mindset suggests that since parasites are omnipresent, it seems everyone can benefit from a yearly parasite cleanse. The traditional allopathic and osteopathic paradigms would not agree.

I can only say that if your body is healthy, then your immune system can deal effectively with the parasites. However, if you have medical issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, circulatory problems, pH balance issues etc, it is thought that your bodily tissues begin to malfunction, if you will. While parasites may not necessarily be the cause of a disease, they are opportunistic and can exacerbate a disease situation. Thereare ALTERNATIVE (your conventional physician will not believe that you have a parasitic infection without being very ill) reasons to consider a parasite cleanse. It is estimated that parasites infect up to 80% of the world population. Surprisingly, these parasitic infestations are not limited to developing nations where sanitary conditions are poor, and frankly, not all parasitic infections are likely to be bad (as the name would imply).

Possible Signs of Parasitic Infestation (I know, we have all had thesesymptoms, that is why I am not convinced that we need to be so worried).
Symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways.

  • Food and environmental allergies have been linked to parasites. This is not likely to go over well with your conventional physician, but is a widely held belief of the alternative practitioner.
  • Stomach pain, indigestion, ulcers, constipation or colitis may indicate parasites in the digestive tract
  • Some have suggested that patients with Parkinson"s disease or other movement disorders may haveparasites, again, you will not likely convince your MD or DO of this possibility.
  • Joint or muscle pain, such as arthritis, can theoretically be a sign that the presence of a parasite irritating the joint or tissue causing inflammation
  • Increased susceptibility to infections in lungs, sinuses, vagina, bladder or any mucous membrane may indicate the presence of a parasite
  • Dermatitis, itching, psoriasis, eczema, hives, swelling and rashes can indicate parasites in the skin (again, NOT the most common causes of these symptoms)
  • Anemia, fatigue or drowsiness can theoretically indicate parasitic infections

If you think you want to do a "parasite" cleanse, there are many tested pharmacologic compounds, many of which have significant side effects. Nonetheless, you would be encouraged to discuss this with your physician. In the meantime, here are some alternative options.


Initially, it is important to avoid getting parasites in the first place.

Drinking water from mountain streams, international travel (drinking water where it is not purified satisfactorily"don"t forget, eating fruits and veggies that have been washed in this non-purified water) can and routinely does cause parasitic infections. Do you like Sushi" The increased consumption of raw or undercooked class=GramE>foods, is a known source for acquiring parasites.

In the summer time you will often hear of beach closings after heavy rains. This is because the bacterial and parasite levels are much higher than normal and pose a serious risk for infection.

You might be surprised but your dog Fido or cat Fluffy are more likely than not the most common method of transmission. Even despite hand washing you can still get parasites by picking up their bedding or their food dish or when they come over and lick you. This is one reason why women are advised to stop emptying the cat litter box while they are pregnant.

Parasitic infections are thought to be more opportunistic in an alkaline environment. Thus, the alternative practitioner may advise keeping your digestive tract in a slightly acidic condition. This is why cranberry juice or apple cider vinegar (diluted two tablespoons to eight ounces of water) is often times recommended.

There are many herbs that may help eradicate parasitic issues. Most alternative practitioners feel that you need to do this cleanse for a minimum of four-six weeks, which is the reproductive cycle of most parasites. This will eliminate the adult worms and the eggs. It is generally recommended to take parasite-cleansing herbs before a meal.

Some herbal concoctions/examples:

Hanna Kroeger was the pioneer behind the original Wormwood Combination formula. This formula has its roots in folk medicine.

Bitter digestive herbs are used to kill parasites in the digestive tract as well as controlling their eggs and improving digestive secretions, a natural protection against parasite overgrowth. At the same time, the bitter principles help to increase elimination, so that the parasites" toxins may be excreted more rapidly. Wormwood has been used by naturopaths to kill parasites, reduce mucus, promote bowel movement and urination, help with stomach and digestion issues, and reportedly clear toxins from the blood, liver and gall bladder. Traditional herbalists use Male Fern to facilitate elimination of the parasites. Black Walnut acts as a laxative to enhance elimination and also has anti-parasite activity.   The Wormwood formula also utilizes class=SpellE>Quassia to soothes andprotect the stomach and spicy Cloves, which can kill parasites and their eggs and also reduce the gas formation and the cramping that many other de-worming formulas can cause. All the herbs in this blend also control secondary fungal infections and excess mucus that can be both a contributing factor to and by-product of parasite infections.

Cloves have been traditionally used to balance digestive function, calm the stomach, promote bowel movement and reduce gas and mucus. Cloves contain sesquiterpenes which has strong antiparasitic activity.

Black Walnut Hull Tincture (from green black walnuts). Both the leaves and the walnut hulls are believed to have anti-parasitic activity. Black Walnut acts in several ways to address parasites. It works as a laxative and it reportedly oxygenates the blood to help kill parasites, and can also assist in ridding parasites from the blood, lymph system and other major organs.

I must say in conclusion that the above discussion is considered very alternative. It will be unlikely that your physician will suspect any of this to be true or supported in science.

They do understand that parasites exist, but typically the patient infected with parasites presents in a very ill way. There are many alternative minded practitioners who believe that most disease is rooted in parasitic infections.Diseases such as cancer, allergies, liver diseases etc etc.



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