Could You Have Parasites?

Living in the US, we don’t often think about parasites, but you don’t have to leave the country in order to get them. Millions of Americans are unknowingly living with chronic parasitic infections. Parasites can be the cause of many common health problems.  In addition to digestive problems, chronic parasitic infections can cause irritability, chronic fatigue, acne, rashes, sleep problems, anemia, muscle cramps, teeth grinding, post nasal drip, allergies, poor concentration, and headaches.

What are parasites?

Parasites are organisms that feed on other organisms. If you contract them they feed not only on what you eat, but also on your body. They feed on your cells, your blood, the food you eat, the supplements you take, and your energy. There are many types of parasites. The microscopic single cell protozoa cause diseases such as malaria, dysentery, and giardiasis. Another type of parasitic infestation are worms which come in many shapes and sizes, from hookworms measuring only a few millimeters to tapeworms that can grow to lengths of 37 feet. No matter the size of the parasite, they cause problems that can be overlooked by your physician.

In traditional medical systems around the world, like ayurveda, the ancient healing system of India, the internal organs are associated with different emotions. When the spleen, stomach and pancreas are harmed, it can cause excessive worrying, anxiety, and mental activity. The liver and gallbladder are associated with anger, irritability, and frustration.

Liver health is often compromised in parasitic infections because it is the organ responsible for removing waste products from your blood. Parasites release toxins into your blood stream after they feed as well as when they die. The waste material emitted from these parasites is toxic to your system and, over time, the liver gets overworked, resulting, according to ayurveda, in a release of emotions associated with the liver (anger, irritability, and frustration).

How do you get parasites?

There are a number of ways to contract these nasty organisms. Food is one pathway for parasites to enter your body. Undercooked meat is one common breeding ground for parasites. But vegetarians are not off the hook; unclean or mishandled vegetables can also harbor parasites. Human contact from someone who has parasites can also result in contamination – a handshake, a kiss, or even sharing the same soda can transfer parasites. Parasites don’t just come from other people; your pets can also pass them onto you.  Contact with feces (human and animal) is another way of contracting parasites.

How do you get rid of these parasites and prevent them from coming back?

There are quite a few natural methods for removing parasites. One of the most effective anti-parasite treatments is the neem tree. Neem has been used as an anti-parasitic treatment for thousands of years in India. Neem can be taken in capsule form or as tea. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take neem because it is an abortive herb and can be toxic to small children. One of the advantages of neem is that it not only kills the parasites, but it also removes the toxins that they leave behind as they are dying. Neem also supports proper liver function, so it helps the liver to recover from being over-worked from the parasite infection. Because neem is such a potent herb, the exact dose should be determined with the help of a health-care provider. Read more about neem in my last blog.

Papaya seeds are also another natural method for removing parasites. Here is a tasty anti-parasitic smoothie you can make as you rid your body of these nasty organisms:

Take the seeds from an average size papaya and grind them in your blender. Next, add a tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil. Then add about a cup of coconut milk and the rest of the papaya. Finally top it off with some organic honey and blend until smooth. Drink the smoothie each morning for at least 7 consecutive days.

Since killing off parasites often results in a release of toxins into your blood stream and colon, it is a good idea to take another herb to help remove the toxins. Triphala is a natural herbal supplement that supports digestion, the immune system, and helps your body detox.  It is available in pill form and typically 2-4 tablets at bedtime are sufficient for most people during a parasite cleanse.

If you are suffering from a chronic condition such as fatigue, digestive issues, malnutrition, or skin eruptions that have not responded to aggressive treatments, ask your physician to order a simple test to evaluate for parasites.  Even if the test is negative, which can be a false-negative result, using a natural parasite treatment could be potentially beneficial to you. In order to keep your self free from parasites, I recommend doing a low-dose month-long neem treatment once a year just to maintain a parasite-free environment.