What are intestinal parasites?
Intestinal parasites are usually microscopic organisms that invade the gastrointestinal tract in humans where they live alongside a host of other good and bad bacteria and fungi. In medical terms, a parasite is a life form that lives and thrives within the host’s body and does more harm than good to the host.
Most parasites are microscopic in nature however there are some which are large enough to see with the naked eye. There are some 3200 species of parasites, which can be found everywhere in our environment, in the air we breathe, in the water we drink and in the food we eat. These parasites feed on the nutrients that are meant for us thereby increasing the chances of nutrient deficiencies. At times these parasites can even pose a greater threat to our bodies because many of them carry diseases.
It is estimated that around 80% of both adults and children have parasites in their gut. People can be infected with these parasites in a number of ways. The most common route is through the faecal oral route. This means that faeces from the infected person via improperly prepared food, unsafe drinking water and contaminated hands, makes its way to the mouth of another person. This is the followed by ingestion of the intestinal parasite until it reaches the gut.
Round worms – Enter the body usually through under-cooked and contaminated food. Manure used in organic farming may be contaminated with these works which is a reason to avoid raw produce diets. Always wash your hands after having contact with any pets especially if there has been contact with the faeces.
Pin worms – Living inside the intestines and lungs, these small white worms come out at night around the anus to lay eggs which hatch and the small worms re-enter through the anus. If a person scratches at night, the eggs may get lodged in the fingernails leading to possible spreading. Because these eggs are small and lightweight, it is believed that they can become airborne and spread to the lungs.
Hook worms and tape worms – Usually found in contaminated water though they can also enter the body through the soles of bare feet even without open wounds. These worms are unique because they have a lifespan of several years and can incubate in the intestines for up to ten years. Always wear shoes when walking outside.
Symptoms of intestinal parasite infection
Not everyone displays symptoms of being infected by intestinal parasites. The majority, however, do exhibit some or all of the symptoms below:
- Abdominal cramping
- Repeated diarrhoea
- Foul smelling gas
- Itching around the anus, especially at night
- Wheezing and coughing often followed by stomach pain and bloating
- Multiple food allergies
- Unexplained dizziness and weakness
The list above is by no means exhaustive and there are numerous other symptoms.
How intestinal parasites affect your body
In literature, a parasite is a person who lives on someone else’s wealth. In medical terms, a parasite is a life form which thrives within another organism and does more harm than good to its host. Parasites can cause havoc within the body.
Intestinal parasites rob us of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytonutrients within the foods we eat affecting our digestion and indirectly virtually every process within the body. This is because enzymes, hormones and other chemical compounds found within the body require nutrients for their manufacture and function. Nutrient deficiencies such as a lack of iron can lead to anaemia. Improper digestion can lead to bloating. The stagnation of food in the gut can result in inflammatory bowel concerns and of course toxin build-up. These toxins make their way into the bloodstream affecting the other glands in the body including skin where in many cases rashes and skin sensitivities may develop.
Parasites can damage the linings of the intestines, lungs, liver and the circulatory system. They can make holes, clog or even damage the organs within the body. Intestinal parasites also poison our bodies because of the toxic metabolic waste products they release. This poisoning can lead to verminous intoxication which produces symptoms of dizziness, inability to think clearly, hunger pains, high or low blood sugar, poor digestion and allergies.
Parasites are highly intelligent organisms. They are not intelligent in the same way humans are, however they are intelligent in their ability to survive, reproduce and remain undetected. Of the 3200 species of parasites, over a 1000 of these parasites can live in the human body. Unfortunately, we can only test for 50-60 species which means that the vast majority of parasites can remain undetected. Scientists estimate that we play host to around 100 parasites, which begs the question of whether we really wish to support these unwelcome guests.
Cloves, Pumpkin Seeds & Thyme for intestinal parasites
Clove buds are one of the key herbs used in Ayurvedic medicines for the treatment of gastrointestinal infections and for worms, with a recorded use that spans thousands of years. Cloves contains a powerful oil, eugenol, which has been studied and found to help in the eradication of numerous pathogens in the gut. Clove oil has been found to dissolve the eggs left behind by worms. It is believed to be the only oil that destroys almost all parasite eggs.
Pumpkin seeds are known for their content of minerals and essential fatty acids. What most people do not realise is that pumpkin seeds contain a powerful anti-parasitic compound called curcubitin. The seeds themselves do not kill the parasites but it is thought that curcubitin paralyses the parasites so that they cannot hold onto the walls of the intestine as they do during bowel movements.
Thyme contains natural volatile oils which are known to help strengthen the immune system. Additionally, these oils also help to alleviate intestinal cramping often associated with parasite infection. These natural oils also help to eradicate and eliminate the growth of many parasites.
A remedy which contains these three key herbs and one which helps to address many of the symptoms of intestinal parasitic infections is Clove Bud Complex by Viridian Nutrition. Clove Bud Complex also contains caprylic acid, basil and rosemary all known for their varying roles in the eradication of not just parasites but also other pathogens in the gut.
Whilst many practitioners in this field advocate the regular use of anti-parasitic supplements, I believe that we should consider the use of Clove Bud Complex at least once a year to ensure that we cleanse and eliminate parasites from our bodies.