Parasites are organisms larger than yeast or bacteria that can cause infection, usually in the intestines. The most common parasites to infect humans are giardia (Giardia lamblia), Entamoeba histolytica, cryptosporidium (Cryptosporidium spp.), roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), hookworm (Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus), pinworm (Enterobius vermicularis), and tapeworm (Taenia spp.).
Infection with parasites can be life-threatening in people with severe impairment of immune function. You should always consult your doctor if you suspect a parasitic infection. Parasite infections can lead to a variety of symptoms, including wind, bloating, diarrhoea, weight loss, abdominal cramping and pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, rash, cough, itching anus, and bloody or foul-smelling bowel motions.
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|Wild Oregano Oil||Studies suggest a powerful anti-parasitic action for oregano oil. May be effective against Giardia lamblia, the most common cause of ‘traveller’s diarrhoea’.||15 – 45mg per day|
|Goldenseal||Goldenseal has also demonstrated activity against many parasites, which along with its antibiotic properties is of great value in helping to prevent or treat ‘traveller’s diarrhoea’ and many cases of food poisoning.||150 – 600mg per day|
|Pau d’Arco||Acts as a barrier on the mucous membranes of the intestines, preventing the penetration of parasites.||250 – 500mg per day|
|Garlic||Garlic exerts broad-spectrum anti-microbial activity against a variety of pathogens including; viruses, bacteria, fungi e.g. Candida species, and parasites. Garlic has a history of being used to kill parasites and control secondary fungal infections; detoxify and gently stimulate elimination. It also has antioxidant properties that offer protection against oxidation caused by parasites’ toxins.||80 – 160mg daily|
|Fibre||A high fibre diet promotes probiotic organisms that help to control the level of pathogens in the gut, including parasites, Candida, and pathogenic (bad) bacteria. In the case of an existing parasitic infection fibre is helpful, in combination with anti-parasitic herbs, in the removal of parasitic toxins and the restoration of good gut ecology.||3 – 6g per day with glass of water|
|Probiotics||Increases the acidity of the intestines making the environment undesirable for resident and non-resident pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeasts. When used in combination with antiparasitic herbs, probiotics help to ensure that healthy gut ecology is restored, thus ensuring better resistance to future infection.||5-15 billion organisms per day|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
Reduce or avoid – Sugar, Refined carbohydrates, Saturated and trans fats, Allergens, Fried foods
Increase – Complex carbohydrates, Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts and seeds, Oily fish, Whole grains
High fibre, low saturated fat diets promote healthy intestinal ecology.
When travelling abroad, avoid drinking tap water and eating uncooked foods, foods prepared by street vendors, ice, and fruits that cannot be peeled. All of these are potential sources of parasitic infection. Undercooked fish, meat and poultry can also contain parasites.
Do not drink untreated stream water while camping, as it may be contaminated with giardia.