There are many famous health practitioners throughout the ages who have attributed health dis-ease to parasitic infection. This line of thinking is gaining credibility in conjunction with the increasing volume of research focusing on the gut and role of microbes in human health. The two concepts are linked but can also be very separate issues. Although when we think parasites we typically think of the gut, but the reality is parasitic infection can occur anywhere in the body, in any system.
Parasitic infection is closely connected to immune health and with our declining immune health comes a plethora of challenges, parasites being among the most insidious. I say insidious because parasitic infection takes time to manifest and during that time there may be none or very few symptoms. But there are some warning signs when an infestation has taken hold and can be evidenced by any or all of the following symptom pictures:
1. Chronic digestive issues from top to bottom and anything in between
2. Auto-immune disorders
3. The spectrum of mental distress issues including depression, anxiety, body aches, headaches, eye aches, visual hallucinations, behavioral changes, and a strange sensation that something is stuck in the head.
One of the most common parasites that I now see frequently in my clinic is the single celled protozoan Blastocystis hominis, or “blasto” for short, very much attributable to a range of gut issues and anal itching in kids. But other kinds of parasites are not uncommon and include:
Tapeworms, which can grow as long as 60 feet while living in the human intestines. There are currently more than 5,000 different species of tapeworm.
Hookworms. If given the chance, they will suck blood from our intestinal walls.
Giardia, a single-celled parasite that is usually the result of drinking infected waters. It typically survives in chlorinated water and commonly lives in mountain streams, earning it the name, “backpacker’s diarrhea.” About 2.5 million cases are reported annually.
Blood flukes. They mature first in snails and then complete their life cycle by burrowing through human skin and swimming through veins. Blood flukes infect more than 200 million people. There are also other species of flukes found living in the liver, lungs, and pancreas.
In the case of malaria, a new generation of parasitic microbugs will burst from a single red blood cell.
Pinworms, the most common roundworm in the United States. Worldwide, roughly 209 million people are infected. (2) The most common sign of pinworm infestation is anal itching at night, which is when the female pinworm migrates to the perineum to lay her eggs. Children are the most common carriers.
What makes this issue even more complicated is that parasites require very specific elements in order to be displaced and can persist even in the face of the “perfect” diet including sugar free. A specific herbal tonic can be made for children that contains the right combination of herbs including; wormwood, black walnut, andrographis, cat’s claw, olive leaf, clove and oregano oil. This remedy is administered morning and night for a set number of days followed by a break with conjunctive practices to encourage elimination of these pathogenic elements. This needs to be done in combination with other hygeine practices for success.
Of course the right probiotic is essential and very few that are readily available commercially cut the mustard and in fact can complicate the issue so be very careful about what you choose, preferably seek the guidance of a properly trained practitioner for guidance. Serious imbalance can be readily addressed with the right treatment but pharmaceutical alternatives do not address the underlying imbalance and can cause more long term harm than good. Just because the worms or bugs are seemingly gone does not mean the situation has been remedied and the immune system supported enough for it to be sorted once and for all. The body needs some serious rebuilding and future health depends on it.
Keeping the body clear of parasites and supporting the removal process can be enhanced with some key foods and the right nutrition approach that maximises healing foods and limits the problematic foods (anything that converts to sugar and factory foods) that can prevent or complicate healing.
The foods that I like to encourage that are of particular anti-parasitic value are garlic (this valuable anti-parasitic can be added to most meals and can also be used as a suppository to improve bowel health and get rid of nocturnal critters causing itching), coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds. Hazelnuts have long been considered highly medicinal as well as the most wholesome and nourishing of all the shell fruit and along with pumpkin seeds can be part of a child’s diet nearly on a daily basis. This great pesto is one of my favourite ways to get kids to take a number of these supportive foods and it can be used in so many ways. Try adding it to dips or even served with eggs of any kind.
Pumpkin Seed or Hazelnut Pesto:
- 2 cups unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds or hazelnuts that have been soaked overnight (dehydrating is not necessary for this dish)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh coriander (a fantastic elimination support)
Combine seeds/nuts in a food processor until coarse then add remaining ingredients. Pulse until mixture forms a coarse paste then season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Join the upcoming “Managing Your Child’s Health Naturally” workshop to learn more about reclaiming control for your children’s health and indeed future.