Intestinal parasites have some of the most unpleasant health effects. If you have intestinal parasites, you'd probably rather not visit the doctor to discuss your symptoms.
While a doctor's trip can often be inevitable in the case of intestinal worms, there are some home remedies that you can try first to get rid of intestinal worms. There's not a lot of research to prove the effectiveness of these home remedies, but you may still benefit from them.
Stay tuned to learn of the best home remedies to get rid of several types of intestinal worms.
Intestinal Worms Symptoms
There are several types of intestinal worms, but the symptoms for intestinal worms tend to be the same, and include:
- Stomach tenderness and pain
- Weight loss
- Fatigue or weakness
- Worms in your stool
If your symptoms are severe, home remedies may not be suitable for you. Book an appointment with your doctor and make sure you treat the problem effectively. Intestinal worms can become dangerous if they're not treated when the symptoms are spotted.
If you try to diagnose your own intestinal worm problem, you might end up choosing the wrong remedies for intestinal worms, or making the problem worse, rather than better. However, there are some home remedies that you can use to get rid of intestinal worms while you wait for your doctor's appointment.
Types of Intestinal Parasites
Pinworm is the most common intestinal worm infection. Pinworms are thin and white, measuring 1/4 to 1/2 an inch in length. If you have pinworm, you might not have any specific symptoms. Pinworm commonly spreads amongst children.
Some pinworm symptoms to look out for are:
Nausea and mild abdominal pain
Irritability, insomnia, or restlessness
Whipworm is a parasitic infection caused by the Trichuris trichiura. This infection is usually caused by ingesting contaminated water and is common in people who live in unhygienic or unsanitary conditions. Hot and humid climates are breeding grounds for whipworms. Animals, including cats and dogs, can be affected by these intestinal worms.
You may experience mild or severe symptoms with whipworm, including:
Stomach pain and vomiting
Inability to control your toilet habits
Tapeworm is another common intestinal worm infection. Most of us associate tapeworm with our pets, but animals aren't the only ones to be affected by tapeworm. Tapeworms live in the intestines of some animals, and humans can contract tapeworms by eating undercooked meat from these animals.
There are several symptoms that are linked to a tapeworm infection:
- Abdominal pain
- Mineral and vitamin deficiency
- Loss of appetite
Liver flukes are a lesser-known group of flatworm parasites that measure from 0.2 inches to 4 inches in length. There are two types of liver flukes: Clonorchis, which we can ingest when eating raw or undercooked fish in Asian regions; and Opisthorchis, which also occurs from eating undercooked fish - but Opisthorchis is found in Europe, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, too.
Some of the symptoms of liver flukes are:
- Abdominal pain
Roundworm is a parasitic infection that can cause fever and diarrhea. The infection is most common in countries with poor hygiene and sanitation, but young children in developed countries can contract roundworm, too. The infection spreads through infected feces from one person to another. Roundworms grow up to around 13 inches and have a lifespan of up to 2 years.
Look out for the following roundworm symptoms:
- Stunted growth or weight loss
- In bad cases, worms coming out of the mouth or the nose
Causes of Intestinal Worms
Intestinal parasites are usually caused by protozoa and helminths (larvae and worms). You can get intestinal worms in several ways, but most commonly, exposure to contaminated food, water, or soil is the most common cause.
If you live in, or visit, an area where human or animal waste isn't properly treated, or parasites are common, you're more likely to get intestinal worms. Children are also more likely to get intestinal worms because they don't follow the same good hygiene practices as adults. The risk is also higher if your immune system is compromised.
Many people don't realize that pets increase their risk of parasites. Pets pick up parasites from outdoors, and the microscopic eggs of parasites can often be on an animal's fur. If you stoke your pet without washing your hands after, you may touch your mouth and transfer the parasites into your body.
Natural Remedies for Intestinal Worms
If you do have intestinal worms, don't panic. Arrange to see your doctor, and in the meantime, try one of the home remedies for intestinal worms on this list.
It's unlikely that any home remedy can completely get rid of worms, which is why you should see your doctor for proper treatment, too. However, some research suggests that some natural remedies can be used in the same way as pharmaceutical drugs to treat parasites.
Some of the natural remedies for intestinal parasites are:
Berberine is a compound that is found in a number of herbs, including the European barberry, goldenseal, and coptis. In several studies, berberine has shown anti-parasitic properties, and has decreased parasites.
One study found that berberine was particularly effective in protecting against the tapeworm infection.
You can buy dried European barberries online. Coptis extract and goldenseal extract are also available as tinctures and tablets.
Papaya seeds are another herbal ingredient to show anti-parasitic activity, with one study of Kenyan school children finding that raw papaya seeds could reduce roundworm eggs by more than 60% compared to children who ate untreated porridge.
To treat intestinal worms with papaya seeds, you can eat raw papaya seeds from the fruit, or buy papaya seed powder or capsules online.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of fatty and amino acids, and offer a range of health benefits - and they can get rid of intestinal worms, according to some research.
As a good source of berberine, pumpkin seeds are a promising anti-parasitic home remedy. Pumpkin seeds also contain cucurbitine and palmatine, two other anti-parasitic compounds that are known to damage certain worms.
One study on mice found that pumpkin seed extracts could reduce the number of adult parasites, although there haven't been any human studies to reinforce this.
Harry Potter fans will know wormwood best for its inclusion in the Draught of Living Death - but wormwood isn't actually a fantastical wizard's ingredient. Wormwood is a herb used to treat intestinal and digestive problems, including parasites.
One study of mice found that sweet wormwood extract was capable of killing, damaging and paralyzing adult tapeworms, preventing them from laying eggs.
Wormwood is such an effective herb that a number of medications are made using compounds from wormwood. However, there's little research into the anti-parasitic benefits of the plant itself, and it's unclear how effectively wormwood can treat infections.
Garlic - especially raw garlic - has a number of benefits for the immune system, the digestive system, and the intestines. Emerging evidence suggests that garlic can prevent female pinworms from laying eggs and kill existing eggs.
Raw garlic can be ingested internally or applied as a salve. To ingest garlic, crush or dice a clove and eat it as a savory ingredient, such as in pasta or stir fry dishes. You could also use smashed garlic as a toast or bread topper, or, if you're a garlic lover, eat it alone.
To create a topical salve from garlic, chop garlic cloves and grind to form a paste. Use a base oil like castor oil or petroleum jelly and mix with the garlic. Apply the salve to your anus. Don't use this salve if you have inflammation, broken or sensitive skin, or a burning sensation.
Coconut oil's antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties make it a possible natural remedy to get rid of intestinal parasites. Coconut oil is considered especially useful for treating a pinworm infection.
There are two ways to treat intestinal worms with coconut oil. First, swallow a teaspoon of coconut oil every morning on an empty stomach. Second, rub coconut oil onto the affected area before you go to bed.
If you enjoy snacking on raw carrots, this intestinal worms home remedy is for you. It's thought that shredded, raw carrots can push worms out of your system by promoting bowel movement with their high fiber content.
It's unclear why carrots are the only fiber-rich food to be considered a remedy for intestinal worms.
According to natural medicine experts, you can stay safe from parasites that you may eat in food by following a particular anti-parasitic diet. Here's what you're recommended to do:
Eat more garlic.
Avoid sugar, refined grains, alcohol, and coffee.
Eat more beta-carotene-rich foods, like carrots, squash, and sweet potato, which protect against certain parasites.
Eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods, and increase your B-vitamin intake.
Don't eat, or avoid eating too much, raw fish or meat.
Eat probiotic foods such as yogurt to encourage good bacteria in your gut.
Some herbalists suggest cleansing or detoxing your gut by eating a high-fiber diet and using supplements like flaxseeds and beetroot to clean out your intestines. There isn't much evidence to suggest that a detox or gut cleanse will get rid of, or treat, a parasitic infection.
How to Prevent Intestinal Worms From Returning
Once you've had intestinal worms, you certainly won't like the sound of having them again. Unfortunately, home remedies aren't guaranteed to get rid of intestinal worms for good, and it's up to you to make sure you don't contract worms again.
To prevent intestinal worms from returning, there are several things that you can do.
The best way to prevent intestinal worms is to wash your hands on all of these occasions:
- After you've used the bathroom
- After you've changed a diaper or collected your pet's waste
- Before you touch your mouth
- Before you eat a meal or snack
Keeping your nails short is another way to prevent intestinal worms. Long nails can trap nasties like bacteria and worm eggs. Remember, worm eggs are microscopic, so just because you can't see them, that doesn't mean they're not there.
Intestinal worms are unpleasant, and it's unsurprising if you want to get rid of the issue as soon as possible. If you have stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhea, or you're being sick or losing weight, you might have an intestinal parasite.
Natural remedies can be used as part of a broader treatment plan - including medical treatment - for intestinal worms. Herbs and supplements containing berberine are thought to be particularly effective, and eating a healthy diet will ward off parasites and provide your body with the energy it needs.
While some studies show promising evidence that natural remedies for intestinal parasites work, you should never use these in place of medication. Intestinal worms can, in severe cases, cause death, so it's important to seek medical advice and use natural remedies alongside a treatment prescribed by your doctor.
If you're unsure about using a particular natural remedy, speak to your doctor, who can advise you on how much to take, and whether the remedy is worth using.