Parasites are a class of living organisms that feed off nutrients and energy from their hosts. They can live in organs like your liver, and also dwell in the digestive tract.
If you have intestinal parasites, you may be wondering if a natural remedy could help restore your health. While there isn’t a lot of research to support their use, some herbs, seeds, and their extracts may benefit you.
What is a parasite?
A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism, causing it harm.
It feeds at the expense of its host, thus depriving it of many key nutrients necessary for its proper functioning.
Moreover, an internal parasite (endoparasite) can also harm its host by releasing toxins, such as metabolic wastes, into its body.
What are common human parasites?
Human parasites include protozoa and worms.
Parasitic worms (helminths) comprise different groups, such as:
- Flatworms (trematodes)
e.g., Liver flukes and blood flukes
- Roundworms (nematodes)
e.g., Ascaris, pinworms, and hookworms
- Tapeworms (cestodes)
e.g., Taenia and Echinococcus
What are the symptoms of intestinal parasites?
The symptoms of parasitic intestinal infection in humans include:
- Weight loss
- Blood loss, anemia
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea, vomiting
Where do human parasites live?
Internal parasites can colonize different parts of the human body, such as:
- The circulatory or lymphatic system
- Hollow organs (lungs or urogenital organs)
- The digestive system
- Connective tissue
Causes of intestinal parasites?
The main causes of intestinal parasitic infection in humans are:
- Touching contaminated soil, water, or feces
- Transmission in the womb through the umbilical cord
- Eating contaminated food, such as undercooked meat or fish (sushi), raw vegetables or fruits
- Drinking contaminated water
Foods that kill parasites in humans
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a perennial flowering plant that grows from a bulb.
The bulb has a strong smell and comprises thin sheathing leaves that protect cloves.
Since ancient times, humans have used garlic cloves as a food flavoring and traditional medicine.
The biological activity of garlic is mainly attributed to allicin and ajoene, sulfur compounds with anticancer effects.
Cayenne pepper is the red-colored berry-fruit of a Capsicum annuum plant.
It is a moderately hot chili pepper used as a spice in cooking.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound responsible for their spicy and hot taste.
Does spicy food kill parasites?
Chili pepper plants produce capsaicin as a defense mechanism against predators, parasites, and microbes.
Capsaicin kills the protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease,
- Trypanosoma cruzi
The concentration of capsaicin required to eliminate this parasite is 57 times lower than benznidazole, the drug commonly used for treating Chagas disease.
Pumpkin seed is the edible seed of a cultivar of orange winter squash.
It has a white husk and is green in color after shelling.
Pumpkin seeds kill parasites
Pumpkin seeds help eliminate parasites, such as Taenia, from your body by paralyzing them before they get expelled.
Besides, pumpkin seeds prevent parasitic eggs from hatching.
The anti-parasitic component in pumpkin seeds has been identiﬁed as cucurbitine.
Sauerkraut is a fermented food made by slicing raw cabbage, layering it with salt, and leaving it to ferment in an airtight container.
Once deprived of oxygen, probiotic lactic acid bacteria present on cabbage leaves intensively multiply. This process is known as lactic acid fermentation.
During this process, the probiotic bacteria convert sugar into lactic acid.
Unpasteurized sauerkraut kills parasites
The digestive system produces digestive enzymes, such as hydrochloric acid and pepsin, that break down food and kill intestinal viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Lactic acid resulting from fermentation increases the acidity in your stomach, enhancing food digestion and parasite destruction.
Sauerkraut is also rich in kaempferol14, a flavonoid with antiparasitic properties/
The fig is the edible fruit of a small tree (Ficus carica) in the Moraceae family.
It is native to the Mediterranean and western Asia.
Figs kill parasites
Fig fruits have anti-parasitic properties.
They contain, namely, ficin, a proteolytic enzyme that digests the cuticle and destroys the body of Ascarids.
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Ginger is the rhizome of Zingiber officinale, a flowering plant in the Zingiberaceae family.
Since ancient times, it has been used as a spice to flavor food and as a traditional remedy.
The health benefits of ginger are mainly attributed to its phenolic compounds gingerols and shogaols.
A study showed that ginger’s anti-parasitic activity against Fasciola giganta was more effective than triclabendazole, the drug commonly used.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of an evergreen aromatic tree (Cinnamomum)..
In addition to being a food flavoring, cinnamon is also beneficial to human health.
Cinnamon aldehyde is the main bioactive compound found in cinnamon bark.
Cloves are the dried flower buds of clove (Syzygium aromaticum), an evergreen tree native to Indonesia.
Cloves contain eugenol
The main bioactive compound of cloves is eugenol, a phenol.
Turmeric is a flowering plant (Curcuma longa) in the Zingiberaceae family.
Its rhizome is widely used to flavor food, especially in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Furthermore, turmeric has a very long history of medicinal use in India.
Its main biologically active compound is curcumin.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of salted and fermented vegetables and seasonings.
Its main ingredients are cruciferous vegetables, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper powder.
These functional foods make kimchi very beneficial to human health.
Kimchi for parasites
Homemade kimchi is also one of the best foods that kills parasites.
Just like sauerkraut, it contains probiotic lactic acid bacteria with anti-parasitic properties.
Moreover, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper also have anti-parasitic effects, as explained in the previous sections.
Berries are small, rounded, fleshy fruits that are often edible. They are generally brightly colored and have many seeds.
Berries include raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries.
Some of them were as effective as the currently used drug, metronidazole. Berries are rich in polyphenols with anti-parasitic activity, such as gallic acid
Pomegranate is the fruit from a shrub (Punica granatum) member of the Lythraceae family.
Pomegranate has anti-parasitic effects
Pomegranate is one of the best foods that kill parasites.
Pomegranate peel is high in polyphenols and tannins that have anti-parasitic effects.
Side effects of foods that kill parasites
Foods that kill parasites can cause side effects known as “die-off symptoms” or a “Herxheimer detox reaction”.
However, these symptoms disappear over time.
Humans catch parasites by consuming contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or touching contaminated matter.
There are, however, multiple natural foods that kill intestinal and other types of parasites.
As such, by modifying your diet, it is possible to get rid of them and the symptoms they induce.