Internal parasites are a common problem worldwide, and the United States is no exception. The common myth that parasites may only develop by drinking water or eating food in developing countries has already been busted by researchers.
It means that these parasites can breed anywhere and can infect any human being. (1) These parasites take control of your body’s resources, eating all your food and taking all the nutrition away that you get by eating food.
Some even suck blood, which may cause blood loss, among other deficiencies (such as iron). They weaken your immune system and make you prone to more diseases.
These tiny, microscopic, undetectable-to-naked-eyes parasites are everyone’s nightmares. But the good thing is that most of them are diagnosable and can be cured.
Although, they cannot be seen by the naked eyes, in most cases, diagnosing your stool sample may tell you what type of internal parasites are breeding in your body.
- Types of Parasites in Humans
- Causes of Parasites in Humans
- Symptoms of Parasites in Humans
- Prevention of Parasites in Humans
- Home Treatment for Parasites in Humans
- Tips for deworming your system
Types of Parasites in Humans
Most common intestinal parasites found in human bodies are:
Ascaris: This is one of the most common infections found worldwide. Spreading through the roundworm Ascaris lumbricoide (which is the largest of the roundworms that infect humans; growing up to 35 cm in length), it may live for up to 2 years in your small intestine and eat away all the nutritional values that you intake every day.
Trichinellosis: It is also known as trichinosis. It is a common disease that you can develop by eating raw and undercooked meat from animals infected with the parasite called Trichinella. These parasites are microscopic and are not visible to the naked eyes.
Enterobius vermicularis: Better known as human pinworm, this parasite lives in your small intestine. The female travels to the anus area and deposits eggs around the anal area. Once the larvae hatch, they migrate back into the anus and lower intestine, causing infection. It is said to be the most common intestinal parasite in the United States.
Cyclospora: These parasites are mostly caught by people who are frequently traveling to other countries, where the disease is endemic (most common in tropical and subtropical regions). You can easily be infected if you consume food or water contaminated with the parasite.
Giardia: This parasite can spread in many different ways but drinking water is the most common mode of transmission. Giardia has an outer shell that allows it to protect itself outside the human body (for a long period). The shell also makes it resistant to chlorine treatment and iodine (that are used to purify water).
Cryptosporidium: Commonly known as Crypto (the parasite as well as the diseases that it causes), this parasite carries the same properties as Giardia. Microscopic and undetectable to the naked human eye, it has a protective outer shell that helps it survive outside the body for a long period and makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection.
While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking as well as recreational) is the most common way to spread the parasite. Furthermore, this parasite is also responsible and is a leading cause of waterborne disease in humans in the United States.
Causes of Parasites in Humans
- Drinking contaminated water is the most common cause for the internal parasites to occur in your intestine.
- Foods such as raw or uncooked meat, especially pork or beef, may give rise to parasites to develop in your body.
- Parasites may also get transferred through your own hand to mouth contact.
Symptoms of Parasites in Humans
- Constipation and diarrhea are the most common symptoms occurring through internal parasites. As they mostly stick to your digestive tract and small intestine, indigestion and bloating are also common.
- Internal parasites may leave you fatigued and weak, making you unable to carry out everyday activities (because of the weakness).
- As parasites such as roundworms deposit their eggs near the anus area, it may cause itching around the area (more frequent during night time when your body is at rest).
- Most parasites cause you less food absorption resulting in loss of appetite.
- Some bloodsucking parasites may cause internal wounds to open up, causing darker feces or blood in your stool.
- The damaged immune system may cause serious problems such as skin problems and hair loss, and may leave you open to more severe diseases.
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and coughing are also common, which may even lead to coughing blood (in more severe cases).
Prevention of Parasites in Humans
Some preventive measures include. (2)
- Drink filtered and processed water.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat. Safe internal temperature levels for meat should be followed. (8)
- Avoid eating at unhygienic restaurants since there is a good chance they might use contaminated water.
- Drink enough water and maintain a healthy diet. This will help excrete parasites easily.
- Avoid hand-to-mouth contact by maintaining proper personal hygiene. Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water to ensure clean hands before eating a meal.
- Do not swallow water when swimming in public places.
- Bring bottled water with you if hiking, camping, or traveling where water may be unsafe.
- Wash all produce (vegetables and fruit) before eating.
- Drink only pasteurized milk and juice.
Home Treatment for Parasites in Humans
Although most parasites are asymptomatic and cause minor ailments, they may also cause serious and, sometimes even, life-threatening illness. Below mentioned are six methods, which may help you get rid of worms, and make your body healthy and immune again.
Method 1: Garlic
Allicin (a compound found in garlic) is the active component that is responsible for killing parasites in your body.
But be sure to leave the garlic out in the open for around 15 minutes after you’ve peeled it, as allicin takes about that much time to activate when comes in contact with air. This will ensure the killing of more parasites, as a result, adding more health benefits to your body.
You can ingest garlic in so many ways. Garlic contains antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasitical properties that will help you to get rid of the intestinal parasite, and the best part is that it enhances the taste of your food (dramatically).
You can drop a few chopped cloves of garlic in your food to get that extra flavor (and benefits) in your food. Or, if you’re willing to, you can directly consume (chew and eat, don’t swallow) 1 to 2 cloves every day, for better absorption.
The regular intake of garlic will result in killing most of the parasites in your small intestine and hence, providing a better digestive system. (3)
Method 2: Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Food-grade DE is a remedy that can eliminate both internal and external parasites. (4) But make sure to get only the food-grade type.
Taking DE is simple too. Adults may start from 1 teaspoon a day and increase their intake over time, eventually is 1 to 2 tablespoons every day in a glass of water (8 ounces). Drink another glass of water after you have consumed the DE solution.
It usually takes around 1 week to kill the parasites in your body when consuming DE, but consume it for another week to ensure complete removal of intestinal parasites.
What DE does is it makes the parasites feeding in your body to dehydrate. When the parasites come in contact with DE, it acts as a toxin to them, and they try to dig in even deeper into your intestine.
The process may take about 2 weeks to complete, and there is a chance that you may feel weak and fatigued during the cleansing process, but don’t lose hope. It all happens so that ultimately you can have a healthy body.
Consume plenty of water during the days you intake DE so as not to leave your body dehydrated and that parasites are regularly flushed out of your body.
More research is still required to confirm the effectiveness of DE for humans. But DE has been found to be effective in treatment of parasite in organically raised free-range chickens. (5)
Method 3: Pumpkin Seeds
Parasites such as tapeworms bite your inner lining of the digestive tract and get stuck to them, and do not get off easily. They suck away all the healthy food that you earn after a hard day’s work. The only way to get them off is to kill them. Or, is there any other way?
Yes, there is.
Next time you eat a pumpkin, don’t throw the seeds away. Eat them along. Cucurbitin, an amino acid, found in pumpkin seeds does not kill the intestinal worms but paralyzes them in the digestive tract.
Once they are paralyzed, they can then easily be flushed out of the body through excretion. For this very reason, pumpkin seeds are a wonderful parasite killer. (6)
These small-sized packets, along with being tasty, are also very (very) healthy. They contain nutrients such as copper, magnesium, protein, and various others that are required to maintain a healthy body.
Take 5 to 6 seeds in a day every day for 2 weeks to ensure complete removal of the worms. You can add them to your salad, grind them and add them to your food, or take them whole if you wish.
Method 4: Papaya Seeds
Papain, an enzyme found in papaya plant, helps kill the intestinal worms in your body. (7) Taken 30 minutes before or after meals, it is proved an effective remedy for cleansing your stomach and getting rid of the parasites.
Consume 5 to 6 seeds every day either whole, or grind them into a fine powder, and take it with milk or water.
You can also add it your fruit smoothie, or sprinkle them on your fruit salad. No matter which way you eat it, they work like a miracle for your stomach and help in killing those parasites.
Method 5: Coconut Oil
Coconut is a nature’s gift to humans. Rich in fiber, multiple vitamins, and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and others, coconuts are good for your body.
Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, called medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). MCFAs get easily absorbed by the body as compared to other long-chained fatty acids found in other oils, which then helps get rid of parasites in the digestive tract.
Not only does it help in flushing out parasites like Giardia, it also helps in preventing them to develop further, resulting in a worm-free body.
Single-Step Treatment: Mix coconut oil with water and drink
- Mix together 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to 1 glass of water, and stir well.
The coconut oil is lighter than water and will float on top. After you’ve drunk the oil (as it floats on top), you can then consume the water to balance the coconut taste of the oil. Drink the coconut water for a healthy worm-free stomach.
You can also take it in your tea so that when the coconut oil is consumed, you are left with sweet tea to enjoy.
Method 6: Coffee Enema
As most parasites such as human pin holes (Enterobius vermicularis) leave their eggs to hatch near around the anus area, it is necessary to clean the area inside out effectively. An enema is a procedure of injecting a liquid via the anus to cleanse the rectum and large intestines.
The coffee enema is an effective remedy to flush those parasites and their eggs building up near your anus area. The coffee, when injected through the rectum, directly fights the worms by flowing through the large intestine and cleaning it.
It is strongly advised that you always perform an enema with plain water before doing a coffee enema. A normal enema will flush your colon and rectum, allowing the coffee from the enema to be absorbed better.
You may also want to consult your healthcare provider before considering an enema if you suffer from certain medication conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
Step 1. Brew coffee for enema
- Add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee, preferably organic, to 2 cups or half a quart of boiling hot distilled water and give it a whirl.
- Cover the jug containing the solution with a lid and let the coffee brew for around 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 2. Strain the coffee and use it to administer an enema
- Remove the lid and strain the brewed coffee through a sterile fine mesh strainer lined with clean paper towels.
- Allow the coffee to cool down to your body temperature. Test the temperature on the inner wrist like you would a baby bottle. Too warm coffee will over-relax the colon, while cold coffee will make the colon contract, hindering the process of the enema.
Preparing the enema setup:
- Attach the hose line to the enema bag and fix the catheter tip to the end of the hose line. Keep the hose line shut with the clamp to prevent any accidental liquid flow. Your enema kit likely has two catheter tips, the smaller of which is meant for administering the rectal enema.
- Depending on the shape of your enema bag, set it up at a comfortable height – about 2 feet from the floor – from which the hose can easily reach you, and you can comfortably insert the tip into your rectum. If the water bottle is hot, you can hang it on the doorknob with a wire hanger. If your enema kit has a bucket, rest it on a chair or a low shelf.
- After setting up the enema kit, fill the enema bag with brewed coffee warmed to body temperature.
- Aim the catheter tip toward the toilet seat and release the clamp, allowing the liquid to flow through the hose line. The moment you notice coffee come out of the catheter tip, clamp the line shut. This removes the air pocket from the hose line which prevents the air from entering your colon. While it’s not harmful, you’ll have to expel the air along with the discharged coffee.
- Empty your bladder just before the enema process as partially or completely full bladder can make it difficult to retain water.
Administering the Coffee Enema:
- Lie down on your right side on an old towel spread on the floor, using another old towel for a pillow. This setup should work preferably in or near the bathroom so that you have easy access to the toilet seat. Use old towels only as coffee stains can be quite stubborn.
- Lubricate the catheter tip and the rectal area with organic coconut oil or olive oil.
- Take a deep breath and insert the catheter tip about 1 or 2 inches up the rectum on the exhale. The tip should rest comfortably into the rectum.
- Keep one hand on the clamp to control the flow of the liquid at all times.
- When you feel comfortable, release the clamp and let the coffee flow into the rectum. Clamp the hose line to stop the liquid inflow anytime you feel pressure. Take a few breaths to calm yourself. Release the clamp when you feel the liquid moving deeper inside.
- Taking breaks as required, keep up the inflow of the coffee until you have taken 2 cups of coffee.
- Retain the coffee for 12 to 15 minutes to allow it to be absorbed, then clamp the hose line shut, get up and expel the liquid into the toilet.
- If you’re new to an enema, you may find it difficult to retain water initially. You are strictly advised against forcing the retention of the liquid in the colon. The retention time will increase gradually with practice. Meanwhile, whenever you feel the urge to release, you should get up and expel the liquid into the toilet.
Repeat this coffee enema process daily for 1 week to get rid of worms completely. As you get into the practice, gradually increase the quantity of coffee to 1 quart with time. When using 1 quart of coffee, have two consecutive enema sessions, each with a ½ quart of brewed coffee, retained for 12 to 15 minutes.
Tips for deworming your system
- All the remedies work better when performed before breakfast as your stomach is empty which results in better absorption. If not, take those 30 minutes before the meal for better results.
- Even though the worms will be dead after following the remedies, they will also have to be excreted out of your body. Consume plenty of water and maintain a healthy diet when following the remedies to ensure that they are out of the system, else they may leave eggs and larvae that can reproduce further and continue the situation.
- Proper exercise will help you maintain a healthy metabolism and will help in proper excretion of the worms.
- Contact a medical practitioner if the problem persists for long. If not treated, parasitical infections can even lead to some lethal health problems.
- Kiani H, Haghighi A, Rostami A, et al. Prevalence, Risk Factors And Symptoms Associated To Intestinal Parasite Infections Among Patients With Gastrointestinal Disorders In Nahavand. Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de Sao Paulo. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4879999/. Published 2016.
- Parasites and Foodborne Illness. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/foodborne-illness-and-disease/parasites-and-foodborne-illness/.
- Cortés A, García-Ferrús M, Sotillo J, Guillermo Esteban J, Toledo R, Muñoz-Antolí C. Effects of dietary intake of garlic on intestinal trematodes. Parasitology research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28536879. Published August 2017.
- Maqbool I, Wani ZA, Shahardar RA, Allaie IM, Shah MM. Integrated parasite management with special reference to gastro-intestinal nematodes. Journal of parasitic diseases: official organ of the Indian Society for Parasitology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5339188/. Published March 2017.
- Bennett, Yee, Rhee, Cheng, M. K. Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. OUP Academic. https://academic.oup.com/ps/article/90/7/1416/1543647. Published July 1, 2011.
- Grzybek M, Kukula-Koch W, Strachecka A, et al. Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity and Composition of Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seed Extracts-In Vitro and in Vivo Studies. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/17/9/1456. Published September 1, 2016.
- Kugo M, et al. Fortification of Carica papaya fruit seeds to school meal. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12906-018-2379-2. Published 2018.
- Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart. USDA FSIS. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/safe-minimum-internal-temperature-chart.