Parasites: Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them.
Parasitic infestations cause all manner of health problems. We are definitely better off without them, yet they are a normal part of life and pretty well impossible to avoid.
The list of undesirable organisms wanting to make you their host is almost endless. The internet is full of gruesome images of serious infestations, it should be enough to force people to take steps to avoid them or routinely clear them out. But it isn't. The trouble with clinical pictures of parasites is they are usually so graphic, inspiring countless alien movies, that it's easy to believe all parasites lead to such obvious conditions. Unfortunately they don't.
I say unfortunately, because the majority of parasitic infestations remain well hidden, wreaking havoc in the background, disturbing physiology with their endotoxins and stealing some of your nutrition.
Where do parasites come from?
The sources are myriad but your risk of exposure is increased if you have pets, work on the land or eat your own organically grown vegetables.
Contamination of organic produce is definitely a concern because the practices revolve around recycling nutrients. Organic farmers use manure or compost to add nutrients to the soil to feed the microbes, but it's the manures which usually contain parasitic larvae. The heat generated in a good compost heap should kill off most pathogenic forms, but it's unlikely all will die. So these forms are transferred to the soil, your vegetables and maybe you. Salmonella for example can survive in the soil for almost a year. Farmland and your vegetable plot are not sterile places. It is said there is more life in the top 8 inches of soil alone than in the whole of the rest of the planet. Animal dung isn't added only by the farmer, it includes all the animals scurrying through the land; rats, birds, foxes, deer, badgers, rabbits, cats, dogs, slugs etc. All leaving their mark, and all have the potential to harbour parasites. Parasites are also found inside body tissue, not just in cavities like the gut, hence improperly cooked meat is a common source. Dirty water, dirty finger nails, poor hygiene at home, the sea and the beach; the routes in are endless.
Country Medicine Knows Best.
Traditional cooking methods accept this wealth of wildlife and take precautions to kill them off before they take hold. Herbs added to traditional dishes have anti-parasitic properties, In the UK, mint sauce is used with lamb; vinegar being a natural solvent to melt parasitic cysts. Horseradish used with beef is anti-parasitic. In India, turmeric and ginger are anti-parasitic. Alcohol has anti-parasitic properties, so you should definitely have the Saki with your Japanese sushi meal. Bio-chemists will tell you not to touch raw fish with a barge pole! Delving into old natural remedy books, the majority of herbs and spices added during old cooking practices have anti-parasitic properties. Nowadays mint sauce from the supermarket is often a brightly coloured jelly containing sugar, with questionable anti-parasitic action; a sorry replacement for freshly picked mint and vinegar.
One has to wonder how peoples of old knew the plants growing in their vicinity have such benefits, acquiring a name like Wormwood (Artemesia Absinthium), a very effective deworming herb. Yes it's the same absinthium used in the drink which makes you go blind if you have too much. Used wisely as medicine however it is a life saver.
How do you know if you have parasites?
If you live in a rural area or have pets at home, for your health's sake, just assume you have parasites, because the chances are high. There are clinical examinations such as stool or blood tests, including a white cell count. In my experience these are far from conclusive; I have seen a client with a negative stool result, pass parasites through colonic hydrotherapy. Stool tests appear to be the first resort when parasites are considered but that's only of use if they are in the gut, and are active. Many ingested parasites migrate to other body tissues rendering a stool test pointless. White cell counts are not infallible either, because some parasites it is said interfere with the immune system to mask their presence. Eosinophils are the white cells which target blood and tissue borne microbes, but they may still be within parameters when microbes are present.
Discussion with a tropical medical doctor in Asia suggested some parasites are detectable only through biopsy. But how to know which tissue to biopsy, they could be anywhere? Its easily conceivable they are not present in the sample, but still in the tissues.
In my opinion the most reliable method to find parasites is through energetic testing. Simply put, this means challenging your body with a parasite and monitoring how you respond. Whether live adults are present or just the eggs, this method is the most revealing I have found yet.
In nature parasites are a part of life. There are instances where certain infestations actually take control of the host's mind. Ants in the Amazon rainforest work as a team following distinct trails to food sources, until they are inhabited by a type of fungal parasite, which actually forces the ant to climb a tree to just the right spot for the fungus to thrive, then the ant attaches itself to a leaf and dies! Such radical mind control has not been recorded in humans yet but certainly the toxicity they generate in our bodies can alter mood, usually negatively.
Symptoms of parasites.
This is likely one reason why antibiotics are handed out like sweets and anti-parasitics are not. Aside from the obvious skin infestations or those causing diarrhoea, presenting symptoms vary wildly. Clinicians look for patterns in presenting symptoms to aid diagnosis, but if there is no pattern, parasites is not usually the first consideration. Symptoms might be headaches or joint pains, but equally they could be tummy cramps or haemorroids. They frequently cause skin rashes and skin depigmentation. It might be fatigue or weight loss. Anemia and poor liver function are also common signs. There is evidence to suggest parasites are complicit in cancers and auto-immune diseases.
The reason for this seemingly random collection of symptoms is that parasites have their favourite target tissues, from eyes to livers, and they compete for your nutrition. Depending which nutrients they go for, dictates which bodily systems suffer. Commonly they target iron and B12. Deficiency of either of these is likely to cause some potentially serious health issues.
How should you get rid of parasites?
The most common internal parasites fall broadly into two groups; worms (hookworms, pinworms, roundworms etc) and microbes or protozoa (giardia, plasmodium etc.). Each group responds to different medicine. Worms can be treated with over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Microbes need prescription drugs. Both groups respond to herbal tinctures or dried herbs. Classic herbs with a long history of use include, wormwood, black walnut, cloves & barberry. You will find most anti-parasitic herbal combinations contain at least one of these herbs. Sometimes it is necessary to use just one to treat specific infestations. In addition to killing herbs, it is crucial to expel them, to prevent you hosting a load of dead parasites instead. A gut and liver cleanse is called for.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of parasites or remedies, which is why broad spectrum anti-parasitic formulae are recommended routinely, annually.
Article written by David Wells 2021
All these topics and many more are presented in my new book 'Finding Awesome, Proven Steps to Extraordinary Health available on Amazon.