Got digestive problems, fatigue, stiff joints, sleep issues, or other chronic issues? Did you know these are all signs and symptoms of parasites? I know it’s a topic no one wants to talk about, but it’s good to know the signs and natural remedies that can help.
First and foremost, I am not a doctor so don’t take this as medical advice. Please see your doctor or medical professional to talk about your symptoms and get the advice and treatment you need. I am in no way recommending you do this instead of any treatment from a doctor. This is JUST my experience.
However, I have been there myself and wanted to share my experience because we’ve dealt with this issue many times in our family. In this post, I’ll share our story with parasites, why we decided to do a herbal parasite cleanse, and the specific herbs and natural remedies we used to get rid of parasites naturally.
My Story with Parasites
For years, we didn’t even know we had parasites. My husband had dealt with leaky gut syndrome yet we had no clue. At the same time, one of my kids had unexplained digestive issues like vomiting even though no one else in the family was sick. We had suspected food sensitivities. I remember talking to our pediatrician about my son’s digestive issues, and she shrugged and said “some kids just throw up often.” Ugh! That was so frustrating, and I knew I had to find answers on my own.
By sheer luck, I had found an integrative rheumatologist near me who specialized in autoimmune issues. I don’t know what had led me down the path of finding him. My husband had struggled with chronic pain and fatigue for years and wasn’t given much help other than pain medication. I knew we had to find answers and get to the root cause of the issues.
I had never even considered that parasites were a factor in my husband’s health issues, but after getting a comprehensive GI panel (or check out other at-home lab tests for parasites) it showed he had candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast in the gut. He was put on a candida cleanse (that’s a whole other blog post), and once he started feeling better, I got the whole family the same GI test.
We found that both I and one of my sons had parasites. We also found that some of the symptoms (vomiting, digestive issues) happened regularly (usually every month) because the symptoms worsen with the full moon. Crazy as it sounds, it’s true. This is because serotonin, otherwise known as your happy hormone, increases during the full moon. Parasites love serotonin, as it encourages them to reproduce, move more freely and get stronger.
What Effects Do Parasites Have on The Body?
If you have a parasites, you won’t be able to resolve your digestive issues. Even if your diet is healthy and you take your probiotics and other supplements daily, parasites can undermine all your efforts. They do this by causing digestive inflammation and damaging your gut wall.
It’s a fact of life that you have other creatures living inside your body. You have more bacteria than you do body cells and you also have changing populations of fungi, protozoa, amoeba, and worms. Most of these cause no harm and some are even beneficial to your health. But there are others that can make you unwell.
Parasites are defined by the way they take nutrients and energy from your body but don’t provide you with any benefit in return. There are thousands of different types of parasites and many of them are single-cell organisms rather than worms. People are usually talking about worms when they use the word parasite because worms are by far the most common disease-causing type of parasite.
15 Signs and Symptoms You May Have Parasites
Your could have parasites whether you get symptoms or not. People have been known to live with parasites for years without serious symptoms, while others get sick immediately after contracting a particular type. If you notice any of these symptoms, please talk to your doctor or health care professional to get help.
1. Persistent digestive problems
This is one of the most common symptoms of parasite infection. You simply can’t get well with parasites causing inflammation in your gut. If you have pain, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea that persists for weeks or months, then you should consider parasites as the cause.
2. Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite and nausea are common symptoms of parasite infection. When your body is busy fighting an infection, it sometimes directs energy away from digestion and hunger so it can focus on immune strength. It’s possible that certain parasites alter your hormone balance in a way that reduces your normal hunger response.
3. Constant hunger
At the other end of the scale, it’s possible that parasitic infection can lead to extreme hunger. Parasites that live predominantly in the stomach and gut are smart because they are most likely to cause this symptom by sending messages to your body to keep sending them nutrients. If you’ve been infected for a while, it’s likely you are nutritionally depleted, so the hunger is genuine. But eating won’t satisfy your hunger because all the nutrients you consume are going to the parasite anyway.
4. Food allergies or sensitivities
Due to the inflammation caused in your gut by parasites, along with possible nutritional deficiencies, you’re at risk of developing food allergies and sensitivities. If you can’t find any other cause for your food allergy, and it’s accompanied by other symptoms in this list, then a parasite infection could be the reason.
5. Recurring yeast infections
Candida, thrush, and other digestive or vaginal infections can be a result of high parasite populations in your gut. Parasites alter the acid-alkaline balance of your digestive and vaginal fluids, making you much more susceptible to yeast infections.
Toxic and inflammatory chemicals released by parasites can make their way to your brain and nervous system through your bloodstream. This can lead to inflammation in your brain and nerves, causing headaches and migraines.
7. Stress and tension
The connection between your gut and your brain includes your bloodstream but there’s also a nervous connection. One nerve, in particular, known as the vagus nerve, directly connects the gut and the brain, sending a constant stream of messages between the two organs. Parasite infection influences these messages in a way that can lead to anxiety and tension.
8. Anxiety and depression
The vagus nerve also affects hormone balance and mood. If you’re suffering anxiety and depression that doesn’t have an obvious cause, it could be due to a parasite infection. If it’s combined with other symptoms on this list, it’s definitely worth talking to your doctor.
9. Chronic fatigue
The connection between your gut and your brain strongly affects your energy levels. Fatigue is a very common symptom of parasite infection. This is due to the chemical and nervous messages that are sent from your gut to your brain. It’s also because you’re likely to have nutrient deficiencies if you’ve had parasites for a long time.
10. Teeth grinding and drooling during sleep
Associated with tension and stress, teeth grinding during sleep is very common during parasite infection. Sometimes it’s accompanied by drooling. It’s quite an obvious symptom because there are not many other things causes for teeth grinding or drooling.
11. Skin ailments
Your skin is quite sensitive to the toxic by-products and inflammation that parasites cause. This could appear as hives, rashes, weeping eczema, itchy dermatitis, acne, ulcers, sores, or lesions.
Pinworms, in particular, are known to cause itching around the anus because the females crawl out at night to lay their eggs in the area. Itching can also occur around the nose, mouth, genitals or stomach.
13. Breathing problems
Certain parasites cause breathing problems. Sometimes this is because there are worms living in your lungs, causing inflammation – flatworms (lung flukes) do this. Sometimes it’s because parasite infection has caused anemia and your red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen so you always feel short of breath.
14. Stiff joints
A result of inflammation through your body is that you might get pain or stiffness in joints or muscles. This is a vague symptom that can have many different causes so it shouldn’t be taken alone as a sign that you have a parasite infection. However, it can be one indicator among many.
15. Anemia or iron deficiency
Worms survive by taking blood and nutrients from your body. If they live for long enough, in a large enough population, it’s very possible they’ll cause a nutrient deficiency. Commonly this is an iron deficiency because many types of parasites use your blood as their main food source.
Herbal Protocol for Parasites
As I’ve said many time in this post, I am not a doctor or medical professional. This post is here to help you learn and make informed decisions, so you can ultimately decide how to treat it.
We had the guidance of our integrative rheumatologist who put us on an herbal parasite cleanse. Much of what he recommended was from the Hulda Clark protocol, and we continued to use the protocol for maintenance. Dr. Hulda Clark was one of many therapists who believed that regular parasite cleansing was a better approach than waiting until you became really sick from a severe infection. Parasites are found in everybody, the only differences between people are which types, how many, and whether they’re causing disease or not. Dr. Clark believed that keeping parasite populations low were essential to good health. This requires minimal but regular treatment.
Dr. Hulda Clark developed a specific an herbal protocol for parasites (including a combination of black walnut hulls, wormwood, and clove). It gives you specific doses and time frames to follow so that you know exactly what to take and when. It’s based on three key medicinal herbs and some supporting nutrients. She recommends that you use it as an intensive treatment at first, then reduce it to a maintenance dose once your health has improved.
Natural Remedies for a Parasite Cleanse
Alongside the protocol developed by Dr. Clark, these are my favorite remedies for intestinal parasites:
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
The hulls of the black walnut are used while the nuts are still green. This is a traditional Native American remedy for worm infestation. It’s used as a liquid tincture (extracted into alcohol). It kills the adult worms. This was one of the first herbs our integrative rheumatologist had us get on when parasites first presented in our GI test.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Wormwood is a bitter herb that strengthens your digestion, increasing the production of stomach acid and bile. It kills worms in their larval stage. It contains bitter substances that have a strong flavor and can be taken in capsule form to avoid the taste. The bitters are active against parasites so it’s important that these constituents aren’t taken out of the remedy.
Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
Clove is an aromatic spice that has a potent oil component. It can kill worm eggs by dissolving the egg casing. It’s also taken as a capsule because the flavor is too strong as a raw herb.
Ornithine and Arginine
Ornithine and Arginine are two amino acids that work together to help you detox from the chemicals produced by dying worms. This stops you from getting the side effects that are common with parasite cleansing, such as headaches and nausea. They also protect your liver and immune function, which can both be put under stress by parasites and their treatment.
Diatomaceous earth is another natural remedy for a parasite cleanse. It is a flavorless, chalk-like powder that consists of fossilized aquatic organisms. It causes a drying effect that kills parasites alongside yeast and parasite eggs. If you want to do a parasite cleanse using Diatomaceous Earth add 1tsp to 8oz of water and drink on an empty stomach. Be sure to look for food-grade diatomaceous earth.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic contains a specific alkaloid that kills parasites. The component allicin has been shown to act against a broad range of microscopic pests. The usual recommendation for using garlic to treat parasites is to take 3 cloves of freshly crushed garlic on an empty stomach. Garlic can cause digestive upset in sensitive people, so it’s good to try a single dose first to see how well it’s tolerated.
Parasite Cleanse For Kids
Many of these herbs can be used in kids, but definitely check with your doctor or health care professional. We personally used this kids supplement that’s easy to take (it’s in a dropper bottle) and made with green walnut hulls, wormwood, clove, and olive leaf. It’s for kids ages 12 months and up.
Nutritional Ways to Help a Parasite Cleanse
Alongside the natural remedies above, I have listed a few nutritional tips which may help prevent a parasite infection from intensifying. Always check with your doctor before making any dietary changes.
- Simple carbohydrates: Found in refined foods, fruits, juices, dairy and all sugars (excluding honey) simple carbohydrates should be avoided.
- Raw Garlic: Increase your intake of raw garlic as it has been used traditionally to kill parasites. This also goes for pumpkin seeds, pomegranates, beets, and carrots.
- Fiber: It is believed by increasing fiber in your diet, you can help get rid of worms. Try high fiber foods such as refried beans, baked potatoes or this berry smoothie.
- Probiotics: There are many varieties of priobiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacilus plantarum, Saccharomyces boulardii, and bifidobacteria. They are essential in keeping your digestive system healthy and probiotic supplements can help do this.
- Papain: Papain is an enzyme derived from papaya which is believed to help kill worms. It (alongside other digestive enzymes) help restore your intestinal tract to its normal state, threatening the survival of any parasites. Take papain 30 minutes before or after meals for best results, but consult your doctor before use.
- Vitamin C: Is essential for a healthy immune system. You could either take supplements or Vitamin C can be found naturally in citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers among other foods.
- Zinc: Also helps support a healthy immune system which will prevent the growth of parasites. Red meat and poultry are excellent sources of zinc as are chickpeas and nuts.
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