Parasites live on or in organisms, surviving and thriving at the expense of their host. They are not a disease, but in fact spread diseases. They are not exclusive to the family pet. Foreign pathogens make their way into our bodies through unclean water, shellfish, pork products, uncooked beef, unwashed produce and a slew of other sneaky ways. It’s more than an urban legend, exotic vacations can offer parasites a long-term free meal ticket when they ride back home inside you. Taking up residence can go unnoticed for quite sometime, but there are side effects offering clues and holistic protocols to help you bid farewell.
Feeling unwell for an extended period without a clear answer why is a terrific time to give some thought to the possibility of having an intestinal infestation of unwelcome creepy critters. The parasite family referred to as protozoan includes amoeba, giardia and trichomonas while the helminth family includes roundworms, pinworms, hookworms and tapeworms. Getting past the icky factor is tricky for sure. Please keep an open mind while perusing the laundry list of side effects. Parasites just may be the answer you seek, helping shed light on nagging unexplained health concerns.
~ Signs and symptoms ~
Whether you are hiking in the rain forest, riding a camel in the desert or shopping for fabric in an eye-catching market in a far away land, the first and most obvious tell-tale sign of parasites is onset diarrhea or abdominal distress. Once arriving home, refuge in our regular scheduled life quickly returns. A few weeks post-vacation bliss, a sudden outbreak of skin rashes, hives, rosacea, eczema, patchy blemishes or red rings are a sure sign to schedule time with your favorite health practitioner. Parasites can stimulate the production of immunoglobulin (IgE), therefore triggering an allergic reaction, resulting in skin conditions.
Indigestion is never fun, but unexplained gas or bloating is a clue. Its never normal to experience a burning sensation, cramps or any type of irritation. Do you have a ravenous appetite with no apparent reason? Skipping calorie-burning workouts, yet still starving? Tapeworms just might be stealing your snacks. Losing weight without any effort or an inability to gain weight may point to petrifying parasites.
Feelings of rectal fullness or pressure best described as close to constipation is a common complaint.
Many sufferers of intestinal parasites will go on to develop food and environmental allergies, as well as find it increasingly difficult to overcome yeast overgrowth in the body.
Nightly anal itching is appalling without a doubt, but this fearful fact is due to increased parasite activity during a new and full moon.
Parasites can migrate and become enclosed in a sac inside joint fluids, referred to as encyst. Inflammation, joint and muscle aches and pains can occur, but unfortunately are often mistaken for arthritis. Parasites residing long term can also leave their mark through muscular wasting and weakness.
Unwanted guests take a toll on health. Lethargy, slow reflexes and chronic fatigue syndrome can result. Some varieties of parasites attach themselves to the mucosal lining of the intestines, stealing valuable nutrients from their human host. Malabsorption of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, key vitamins A and B12, as wells as copper, magnesium, zinc and iron can lead to a mountain of side effects from forgetfulness to flu-like symptoms to depression.
Besides the unnerving idea of parasites living inside us, their metabolic wastes can irritate the central nervous system.
Sleep disturbances are standard. Awakening multiple times throughout the night are noted as parasites exiting the anus is incredibly itchy and uncomfortable. Bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding while sleeping, is not easy to ignore by bedmates. Please be kind and speak up, sharing your parasite concerns. You may be sharing your bed with more than just a loved one.
~ Risk factors ~
Intestinal parasites are more common than you think. Risk factors increase your chances of acquiring your own portable parasite. Poor sleep, diet, stress and the overuse of unnecessary antibiotics are unhealthy daily choices, affecting your overall health. Heavy metal poisoning is another risk factor. Mercury for example is toxic to the good bacteria in your microbiome. It might very well be the right time to swap old-fashioned mercury fillings for composite resins and limit tuna in the diet. An acidic environment is the ideal real estate for pathogens to thrive. A happy gut equals a happy life.
Parasites are more than an urban legend. Yes, sushi is a culprit, along with various types of improperly cooked animal products. Being diligent, checking expiration dates and ensuring the inside cooking temperatures of all animal flesh food fare reaches the correct degree is necessary for parasite prevention. Going plant-based is a step in the right direction for your health, but not a fool proof parasite deterrent. Washing fresh produce is also of the utmost importance for prevention. Fruits and vegetables can be contaminated through direct contact with parasites or the application of manure and even due to contact with human feces. Organic produce may not have chemicals, pesticides or herbicides, but there is still a chance a freeloading parasite takes a one-way meal ticket straight into your gastrointestinal tract. Washing fruits or vegetables with a quick and easy homemade wash of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water with fresh squeezed lemon safely removes creepy crawlers and their eggs.
Pet love perfection can add up to pesky parasites. Hugging, kissing, petting and picking up poop is a prime time for parasites looking to relocate. Wash your hands after cuddle time with your four-legged fuzzy friends. Water is a breeding ground for a plethora of parasites. Always drink clean water. Drinking bottled water on vacations may not be kind to the environment, but tap is too risky to take a chance.
Parasite paranoia is a stool sample answer away. Live blood analysis is also an option. If the test returns a positive result, a course of action can be done holistically. The first step is to start an anti-inflammatory diet. Eliminating gluten, soy, eggs and sugar starves parasites of their favorite food fuel. Increasing sleep is imperative for repair. Opening the body’s pathways of elimination is essential, helping remove parasites as they die off and hatching eggs. Drinking lots of mineral water helps flush the kidneys. Exercise increases sweat while supporting the lymphatic system. An anti-inflammatory and alkaline diet focusing on fresh produce is high in stool-bulking fibre, plus increases transit time, helping eliminate pesky parasites in bowel movements. Dandelion leaves, artichoke and turmeric turn up the gallbladder’s ability to release bile, helping eliminate parasite die off. Start sipping ginger and dandelion tea for liver loving support.
Waiting for a full moon may sound like hocus pocus, however, starting a parasite-eliminating protocol a few days prior to mother nature’s nighttime splendor enables the herbs to be ready to work their magic upon the start to full moon hatching.
Being on board with a healthy diet, exercise, water intake, sleep and reducing stress levels helps keep the human body in tip-top shape, laying the foundation to start supplements and say so long to parasites. Protocols for parasite destroying are usually a combination of several herbs. Capsules, teas and tinctures are all par for the course.
~ Parasite cleanse protocols ~
Cloves have been used throughout history as a topnotch essential oil offering temporary pain relief to dental pain. Cloves are also dynamite, dissolving parasite eggs in intestines.
Black walnut, a well-known anti-parasitic and anti-fungal, can be uber helpful expelling intestinal worms and efficiently eliminating ringworm. Black walnut tincture is best taken on an empty stomach, but more is not necessarily better due to its laxative effect.
Wormwood is another all-star anti-parasitic agent. A super bitter bile booster used for centuries to improve digestion and bowel motility, wormwood helps rid the body of worms and speeds up elimination thanks to improved bathroom frequency. The name alone makes this medicinal herb memorable. Take caution and consult an herbalist. Wormwood is known to interact with certain medications.
Along with being a powerful parasite eliminator, oil of oregano offers an array of diverse activities against bacteria, viruses, fungi and fabulous for fighting the common cold.
~ Power up prevention ~
Living an overall healthy lifestyle is prevention perfection on every level. Exercise helps lower blood pressure, eating a plant-based diet supports weight management and adding top-notch foods to the menu aids in parasitic prevention. Fasting or abstaining from food or juice takes fuel away from parasites. Skip the sugar and heal the gut everyday through a healthy, raw unprocessed diet, incorporating fermented favorites kombucha and unpasteurised sauerkraut, kimchi and pickled veggies.
Starting the day with super star vitamin C lemons to water and a small shot of antioxidant-rich unsweetened cranberry juice are helpful healthy add-ons.
Whisking unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, virgin olive oil, parsley and a few drops of oregano oil is a stupendous salad dressing, especially with delightful dandelions for chlorophyll rich bitter bile producing greens.
Garlic is a timeless all-around destroyer, thanks to its active compounds allicin and ajoene. Garlic is fabulous fresh in all recipes, but a tad smelly, making capsules an option. Power up prevention, snacking on anti-parasitic pumpkin seeds. Increase anti-fungal properties with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper pre-roasting raw seeds.
Another go-to for addressing any digestion ailments associated with parasites is ginger. Grate fresh, sip tea or choosing capsules all will address bloating, flatulence and a slew of digestive distress concerns.
After six weeks following a parasite protocol, probiotics are a huge helper, restoring good bacteria. Living in a state of prevention is key to keeping pesky parasites at bay. Wash hands and produce, check expiration dates and always cook all animal products to a safe temperature. When in doubt, skip the water or meal and always pack protein bars for on-the-go days here and while jet-setting!