How to do a parasite cleanse

 

 

What You Should Know About Doing a Parasite Cleanse

Wait, aren't parasites only a problem in tropical countries?

Not exactly. Parasites are actually very common all over the world and even in developed countries.

The reality is, if you're a human, you probably have parasites. Now this isn't something to be particularly alarmed about but instead educated around so you can take the required action steps to keep critters at bay and avoid any health complications.

When you understand how to reduce your risk of obtaining any bugs by regularly cleansing and keeping your body healthy and strong, parasites are nothing to fear!

 

What are parasites?

Parasites are micro-organisms that live off another organism in order to survive, at the expense of their host (1). These organisms cannot survive without a host, this means that unfortunately an individual's nutritional and health status will be compromised in the presence of parasites. Though we cannot entirely avoid parasites, problems arise when our defense systems are compromised and our body cannot properly eradicate them. 

Parasite infections can occur anywhere and for many reasons such as ingestion or contact with contaminated water and food, pets, raw food, waste, soil, blood transfusions, insects, and other people. A simple act such as walking barefoot can predispose you to parasites!

Now, this is not to freak you out, we all have parasites and can co-exist with these critters without encountering problems however issues may arise when there is an overgrowth of parasites that can compromise the body's proper functioning.

Though parasites are often found in the digestive system they can also take up residence in other parts of the body like the lungs, ovaries, liver, esophagus, brain, blood, muscles, joints, eyes, and other organs and tissues.

You can test for parasites via stool and blood tests and certain scans, however, these tests are not always accurate and can miss parasitic infections, which is why it is typically recommended to do a parasite cleanse at least yearly and of course to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle to keep your digestive health in tip-top shape and avoid overgrowth of harmful pathogens.

 

Diagnosis

How can you tell if you have parasites? There are several tests you can ask for from your doctor to verify if you do have parasites. The best way to assess this is with a stool test. Most doctors will order a conventional stool test however these are not always accurate and can miss parasites. A more accurate form of stool testing is a comprehensive stool test which you can order from a naturopathic doctor or functional medicine practitioner.  

The tricky part is that multiple testing will likely be required as parasites can fluctuate between dormant and active depending on where they are in their life cycle. Did you know that parasites are most active during the full moon

For this reason, a false negative is quite common to arise if the parasite is dormant as these tests only identify active ones. 

Some doctors utilize more sophisticated testing using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology to detect parasite DNA which is the most accurate because it can catch parasites even in their dormant phase. Testing can also help to identify what kind of parasite is present to then choose the appropriate supplement or medication. 

If you do believe that you may have a parasite it's best to discuss this with your doctor and assess if a cleanse might be beneficial for you. Many people experience improved symptoms after parasite cleansing however we recommend doing it with surveillance especially if it's your first time.

 

  

Symptoms associated with parasites

Parasitic infections are not always obvious and can be disguised by many symptoms such as:

  • digestive symptoms: bloating, constipation, diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • cravings, especially sugar
  • anemia
  • menstrual pain
  • teeth grinding
  • hyperactivity
  • weight loss
  • weight gain
  • allergies
  • abdominal pain
  • autoimmune disease
  • arthritis
  • cysts
  • skin conditions
  • insatiable hunger
  • anxiety
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • brain fog
  • weak immunity

Or you may not be symptomatic at all. Parasites can live in the body for years without any signs but can be a primary cause of many health conditions. If you find yourself suffering from chronic health conditions and are unable to find the cause, parasites may be a significant contributing factor.

  

How a cleanse can benefit you

There are many health benefits to a parasite cleanse. If you think you might have parasites, there are natural treatments and protocols that can help you get rid of the infection.

Though natural anti-parasitic remedies can remove the infection it's important to assess what may have contributed to your system being compromised in the first place. Reasons for this may include low stomach acid, poor diet, stress, and toxins.

The duration of a cleanse will depend on your unique situation however it typically spreads over a 4 week period.  

Always consult with your health care practitioner before starting any new regimen. Avoid if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, and consult with your doctor if you are taking any medications.

The risks of parasite cleansing

It is possible to encounter certain side effects from doing a parasite cleanse. These symptoms may show up as fatigue, headaches, irritability loss of appetite, or digestive issues. These are usually only temporary and associated with "die off" or the toxins released by the dying parasites. It is common to experience mild side effects however pay attention to how you are feeling and make sure you are supporting yourself adequately. Side effects may indicate that the toxins are greater than your body can currently handle. Adding more support for the detoxification organs during this time or reducing your supplement dosage can help to minimize the die-off reaction. 

It is absolutely essential that you are having regular bowel movements and that your organs of dexotification are functioning well before starting a parasite cleanse. Avoid doing a cleanse if you suffer from constipation as that should be sorted out before attempting any detox.

In addition, not all herbal formulations are safe to take for everyone depending on your health situation and if you are taking medications. Always consult your healthcare provider if you are experiencing side effects and if you are unsure of any ingredients.

 

Parasite Cleanse How To's

Food

The food we eat can either promote pathogenic proliferation or keep bugs at bay. It's especially important during a cleanse to make sure you adopt a healthy diet that is focused more on fighting parasites, and not feeding them.

Top anti-parasitic foods include:

Essentially you will want to be following a whole foods diet with more of a paleo approach if possible, reducing sugars as much as possible.

You will do best to steer clear of foods such as fried foods, processed foods, sugars, pork, wheat, grains, and alcohol. Critters thrive off these foods and they dampen your immune system making you less able to win the fight.

Fuel yourself, not the bugs!

 

Parasite Cleanse Supplements

There are many natural alternatives to antibiotics that can be quite effective at killing off pathogens such as parasites and include a variety of medicinal herbs.

These may include:

  • Black walnut: More particularly, the hulls of black walnut, are what provide anti-parasite effects as they contain juglone a plant compound that is naturally anti-parasitic. Juglone has promising studies backing its ability to target certain parasites such as acanthamoeba and toxoplasma gondiicommon parasites that can weaken the immune system and organs of the body (2)It also has antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties making it a valuable addition to your cleanse to get rid of unfriendly critters (3).
  • Clove: This common spice that you may find in your kitchen cabinet is a fantastic food to include as part of your parasite cleanse. For more therapeutic effects you can take it in supplement form as its oils are rich in a specific compound called eugenol, shown to be effective at combatting different types of parasites as well as fungal infections, which typically go hand in hand (4)(5).

  • Wormwood:
    Did the name give it away? A popular herb against parasites, wormwood has been used as an anti-parasitic remedy since ancient times, treating intestinal worms as far back as Ancient Egypt (6). It too has a specific property known to fight parasites called thujone
    Fun fact: thujone is also found in absinthe, a popular liquor in the 19th and 20th centuries made from different botanicals including wormwood, anise, and fennel. Though we don't recommend using it as it is actually illegal in many countries (7).
  • Oregano:
    You are probably familiar with oregano as a cooking herb and remedy for 
    all sorts of infections due to its potent antibacterial properties. Oregano essential oil in particular is shown to reduce parasitic infections and replication (8)(9).
    Oregano oil has a very strong taste therefore it is typically encapsulated as part of a parasite treatment.

  • Grapefruit seed extract:
    This little seed has some big qualities to it! Shown to be effective against fungal, viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, grapefruit seed extract can help to improve overall digestive symptoms and eradicate harmful pathogens (10)(11).

Many brands have created parasite kits that provide a variety of anti-parasitic herbal ingredients working synergistically together. This can be more useful as different herbs have different functions and can thus be more effective at clearing out parasites from the body.

Supplements

There are many natural alternatives to antibiotics that can be quite effective at killing off pathogens such as parasites.

These may include:

  • Black walnut: More particularly, the hulls of black walnut, are what provide anti-parasite effects as they contain juglone a plant compound that is naturally anti-parasitic. Juglone has promising studies backing its ability to target certain parasites such as acanthamoeba and toxoplasma gondii, common parasites that can weaken the immune system and organs of the body (2). It also has antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties making it a valuable addition to your cleanse to get rid of unfriendly critters (3).
  • Clove: This common spice that you may find in your kitchen cabinet is a fantastic food to include as part of your parasite cleanse. For more therapeutic effects you can take it in supplement form as its oils are rich in a specific compound called eugenol, shown to be effective at combatting different types of parasites as well as fungal infections, which typically go hand in hand (4)(5).

  • Wormwood:
    Did the name give it away? A popular herb against parasites, wormwood has been used as an anti-parasitic remedy since ancient times, treating intestinal worms as far back as Ancient Egypt (6). It too has a specific property known to fight parasites called thujone
    Fun fact: thujone is also found in absinthe, a popular liquor in the 19th and 20th centuries made from different botanicals including wormwood, anise, and fennel. Though we don't recommend using it as it is actually illegal in many countries (7).
  • Oregano:
    You are probably familiar with oregano as a cooking herb and remedy for 
    all sorts of infections due to its potent antibacterial properties. Oregano essential oil in particular is shown to reduce parasitic infections and replication (8)(9).
    Oregano oil has a very strong taste therefore it is typically encapsulated as part of a parasite treatment.

  • Grapefruit seed extract:
    This little seed has some big qualities to it! Shown to be effective against fungal, viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, grapefruit seed extract can help to improve overall digestive symptoms and eradicate harmful pathogens (10)(11).

Many brands have created parasite kits that provide a variety of anti-parasitic herbs working synergistically together. This can be more useful as different herbs have different functions and can thus be more effective at clearing out parasites from the body.

 

Lifestyle

Support detoxification & remove toxins

The liver is a prime organ responsible for detoxification and clearing of waste and toxins. Thus it is essential to support this organ during any sort of cleanse.

What's more, when parasites take over it is commonly a result of a weakened immune system more susceptible to pathogens and less able to clear chemicals. For this reason, heavy metals and chemicals often go hand in hand with parasitic infections as these bugs like to feed off these compounds and the body is weakened in the process.

As parasites are killed off they may also release all sorts of toxins including heavy metals which can create "die-off" symptoms such as bloating, brain fog, cravings, anxiety, depression, cravings, skin conditions, body soreness, insomnia, GI symptoms, and headaches. 

If the digestive and detoxification organs are congested or sluggish this will increase the likelihood of die-off symptoms and make the process that much longer.

There are many ways to support detoxification and reduce the severity of die-off symptoms while improving the efficacy of your cleanse:

  • Epsom salt bath: helps to replenish magnesium levels while pulling out toxins from the skin, supporting the overall detoxification process and stress response while relieving muscle soreness. You can add essential oils or herbs for additional calming benefits such as lavender or chamomile.
  • Binders: these supplements help to bind onto toxins and escort them safely out of the body. Carbon-based binders in particular are shown to be effective at targeting multiple toxins at once without eliminating beneficial nutrients.
  • Castor oil: applying castor oil topically over the abdomen can do wonders for supporting the liver and drawing out toxins. It may also help to reduce die-off symptoms. 
  • Herbal teas: dandelionmilk thistle, burdock, and ginger tea are all great herbs to support the liver and detoxification. 
  • Sweat: as the skin is the largest detoxification organ, sweating can help to release additional toxins. This can be done via exercise, sauna, etc.
  • Stay hydrated: this will help reduce headaches (common symptoms of die-off), support energy levels, and help eliminate toxins.
  • Movement: regularly moving your body supports lymphatic drainage as the lymphatic system relies on exercise to be able to function properly and do its job. This supports the process of detoxification as it enables toxins to be metabolized more efficiently and pathogens neutralized.

Remember, your body is working hard at fighting off these pathogens so you might feel worse before you feel better. It is that much more important during this period to support your body as much as you can during the cleanse. Of course, we recommend working with a practitioner to ease the process and minimize any ill symptoms. 

 

Following an Anti-Parasite Diet

It is not only important to support yourself while doing a cleanse but also after as this process is quite taxing to the body. The more you can do this the less likely you will be to experience unwanted reactions and side effects.

Cleansing is not just a physical process but also an emotional process which means you need to take extra care of yourself!  

Rest

A common symptom of parasite cleansing is fatigue, as the body is going through an intense process. Extra rest will likely be necessary during a parasite cleanse to build up your strength and resources and promote healing of the body. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night or more if needed, always listen to your body! To support optimal sleep avoid electronics around bedtime, dim the lights, and keep your bedroom as dark as possible to promote melatonin production and get that deep restorative sleep.

You will also want to pay attention to your stress levels as your body is already going through a stressful period! This might mean reducing intense exercise and getting to bed earlier,  your body needs all the energy reserves it can get!

Nourish

We already mentioned the foods that will help you eradicate parasites but it's also important to nourish your body with maximum goodness to improve strength and resiliency. 

We recommend warming and grounding foods such as broths, quality protein, ghee, garlic, and herbs like ginger, turmeric, and 

Cooked and warm foods will also be more easily digestible as raw and ice cold foods and drinks can actually dampen the digestive process and put more of a strain on digestive organs, not what we want!

Take a break

You're not the only one who deserves a break, your digestive system does too! When we constantly bombard our gut with food we never really give it a break to rest, repair, and regenerate. You can give your gut extra support by finishing all food consumption atleast 2 hours before bed. It is typically recommended to give your digestive system a break for about 12 hours a day though some people like to do more. Experiment with what works for you!

 

 

 

About the Author

Laurence Annez

Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.

 

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