PARA 90 - Herbs for Parasites
parasites and herbs
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See PARA 90 for a natural parasite supplement.

Parasites in the world

Although North Americans often consider parasites something to only worry about when traveling, this is not true. As long ago as 1976, a nationwide survey in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that one in every six people selected at random had one or more parasites. It is quite possible that we are hosting a dinner party for many types of parasites.

An Internet homepage, Parasites of Vertebrates, by the Department of Nematology, University of California at Davis, states that 900 million people worldwide are infected with hookworm, and some 4 to 15 percent of the population in the southeastern United States. Some one billion people (¼ of the world’s population) are infected with roundworm, and 500 million people worldwide are infected with pinworm. In the United States, estimates of those infected with pinworm range from 10 to 35 percent of the population.

How did this happen? Climate and sanitary conditions breed parasites worldwide, and they find a home in contaminated municipal and rural water supplies, household pets, and daycare centers. They are also spread throughout the world via international travel.

What are parasites?

The word parasites comes from the Greek para, meaning "beside," and sitos, meaning "food." This means "an animal or plant that lives on or in another organism from which it obtains nutrients." Some parasites are larger than bacteria and viruses but they are usually so small that you cannot see them without a

microscope. Others, such as worms, can grow quite large and can be seen with the eye. Four major groups of parasites include Protozoa (amoebas, Giardia), Nematoda (round, pin, and hookworms), Cestoda (tapeworms), and Trematoda (flukes).

Parasites enter your body in one of four ways: through food and water intake; through a transmitting agent, such as a mosquito; through sexual contact; and through the nose and skin. The parasites are often harmful. Any number of them can infect your gastrointestinal tract. Most parasites produce similar symptoms.

How do I know if I have parasites?

According to Skye Weintraub, a naturopathic physician and author of The Parasite Menace, a parasitic infection could be manifested by any number of signs. These include constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, joint and muscle aches and pains, anemia, allergies, skin conditions, nervousness, sleep disturbances, teeth grinding, and chronic fatigue.

Many health practitioners believe not only that parasites result in symptoms such as those listed above but also that they may be responsible for a number of other health problems. Weintraub says, "Many parasites go undetected because they are not producing serious symptoms. It is easy to attribute feeling ill to other causes because parasitic infections look like lots of other conditions. I have seen other health problems disappear once the body has become parasite-free."

How can parasites hurt you?

Parasites can damage the host’s body in a number of ways. They can

  • destroy cells faster than cells can be regenerated.
  • produce toxic substances.
  • irritate body tissue.
  • invade body tissue, including the skin and intestinal lining.
  • put pressure on body organs.
  • depress immune system function while activating immune system response.
  • cause nutrient malabsorption.


If you suspect you have parasites, a health practitioner can arrange a number of tests. These include stool tests, blood tests, tissue swabs, and more. These tests are often inconclusive. Many parasites that reside in tissue or in the blood will not be found in fecal samples. Pinworms cannot usually be seen in stools. Parasites that adhere to the gastrointestinal tract lining are very hard to find. Often, only their eggs will be passed in the stool.

If you have parasites, there are a number of things you can do. Prescription drugs are available, and they do work, but, like so many prescription drugs, they also can have many side effects. There are also natural methods of ridding the body of parasites. These generally include cleansing the intestinal tract, modifying the diet, using a substance that kills the parasites, recolonizing the intestinal bacteria, and taking preventive measures. See PARA 90 for a natural parasite supplement.


  • There are a number of things you can do to avoid picking up parasites:
  • Keep your fingernails short and clean.
  • Do not walk barefoot, especially on warm, moist soils.
  • Have regular parasite checkups (especially if you travel frequently).

Suggested Reading

  • Castleman, Michael. The Healing Herbs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1991.

  • Gittleman, Ann Louise. Guess What Came to Dinner? Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing Group, Inc., 1993.

  • Grieve, M., and C.F. Leyel, ed. A Modern Herbal. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble, 1931, 1973, 1996.

  • Santillo, Humbart, N.D. Natural Healing with Herbs. 10th ed. Prescott, AZ: The Hohm Press, 1993.

  • (FDA: The Bad Bug Book)

  • (Karolinska Institute: Parasitic Diseases)

  • Bueno, Hermann. Uninvited Guests. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1996.

  • Weintraub, Skye, N.D. The Parasite Menance. Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing, Inc., 1999.

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