Fighting Parasites

by Dr. Leo Galland

Fighting Parasites

Testing for Parasites


Laboratories that specialize in tropical medicine or parasitology are more likely to find organisms in stool specimens than are general or hospital laboratories.


Protozoan infection is usually diagnosed by stool examination, however, comparison of stool microscopy with duodenal aspiration has consistently shown that stool may fail to contain identifiable parasites even at the height of acute giardiasis. (1,2) (How You Can Get Parasites Anywhere: Parasites and the Gastrointestinal Tract)


Collecting multiple specimens over several days may increase the sensitivity to 85-90%. (3)


Some authors have suggested empirical treatment for intestinal parasites in high-risk groups, such as immigrants to the United States from Asia, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. (4)


A similar case might be made for treating chronically ill patients at high risk for parasitic infection because of residence, travel, sexual practices or the context in which illness occurred.


Fighting Parasites


By necessity, humans have been fighting back against parasites since history began. Is it any wonder that many traditional herbs and spices have been found to have potent antibacterial or antimicrobial effects?


Numerous naturally occurring substances have anti-protozoan activity.


The most extensively studied is Artemisia annua (sweet Annie or qinghao), a plant that yields the lactone artemisinin (qinghaosu) which is the basis for a class of anti-malarial compounds widely used in Asia and Africa. (5)


Artemisinin is thought to owe its anti-protozoan effects to its content of endoperoxides and to kill parasites through oxidation. Its activity, as examined in the treatment of malaria in monkeys, is enhanced by co-administration of cod liver oil, a fish oil rich in omega 3’s and diminished by co-administration of vitamin E. (Discover How Medications and Vitamins Interact with the Pill Advised online application)


In addition to its antibiotic activity, artemisinin stimulates macrophages, an important component of the immune response to protozoan infestation. (6) Warning Artemisinin may induce abortion if given during pregnancy.


The alkaloid berberine can be extracted from the roots of several herbs, notably Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape), Hydrastis Canadensis (goldenseal) root, and Coptis chinensis (goldthread).


Berberine has protostatic and protocial activity against E. histolytica, G. lamblia and B. hominis. (7-9) (Learn More About Goldenseal: Goldenseal – Know What Herbs Do What)


Allium sativum (garlic) and Juglans nigra (black walnut) have a long history of use as antimicrobials.


Allicin, a component of garlic, inhibits growth of E. histolytica in culture (10) and may be responsible for the antimicrobial activity of garlic. (11) (Get More Info on Garlic: Garlic – Know What Herbs Do What)


And Discover Other Herbs in the Pill Advised Herb Guide


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Now we’d like to hear from you…


What do you think about the parasite issue?

Do you experience stomach trouble?

Have you taken anything that helps?


Please let us know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

Wishing You Best Health! The Pill Advised Team


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1) Rosenthal, P. and Liebman, W. M. (1980) “Comparative study of stool examinations, duodenal aspiration, and pediatric Entero-Test for giardiasis in children.” Journal of Pediatrics, 96, 278-279.


2) Kamath, K. R. and Murugasu, R. (1974) “A comparative study of four methods for detecting Giardia lamblia in children with diarrheal disease and malabsorption.” Gastroenterology, 66, 16-21.


3) Gillon, J. (1984) “Giardiasis: Review of epidemiology, pathogenetic mechanisms and host responses.” Quarterly Journal of Medicine, 53, 29-39.


4) Muenning P, Pallin D, Sell RL et al (1999). “The cost effectiveness of strategies for the treatment of intestinal parasites in immigrants.” New England Journal of Medicine, 340, 773-779.


5) Hien TT, White NJ. (1993) “Qinghaosu.” Lancet. 341, 603-608.


6) Tang W, Eisenbrand G. (1992) “Chinese Drugs of Plant Origin.” Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 159-174.


7) Kaneda Y, Tori N, Tanaka T, Aikawa M. (1991) “In vitro effects of berberine sulfate on the growth and structure of Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia and Trichomonas vaginalis.” Annals of tropical Medicine and Parasitology. 85, 417-425.


8 ) Subbaiah TV, Amin AH. (1967) “Effect of berberine sulfate on Entamoeba histolytica.” 215:527-528.


9) Yang LQ, Singh M, Yap EH, et al (1996). “In vitro response of Blastocystic hominis against traditional Chinese medicine.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 55, 35-42.


10) Mirelman D, Monheit D, Varon S (1987). “Inhibition of growth of Entaoeba histolytica by allicin, the active principle in garlic extract (allium sativum).” Journal of Infectious Diseases. 156, 243-244.


11) Wright CW, Phillipson JD, (1987). “Natural products and the development of selective antiprotozoan drugs.” Phytotherapy Research. 4, 1127-139.


3 thoughts on “Fighting Parasites

  1. CJ

    3 years ago I was having severe (in my opinion) digestive issues where I experienced constant “leaky gut”, IBS-D issues. I went to my regular doctor, and was prescribed, FLAGYL . The doctor’s pill of choice where they believe it cures every digestive issue. (It doesn’t). It relieved the issues for about a month, then came back and worse. The doc prescribed Flagyl again, it didn’t work at all. He prescribed a few other meds such as dicyclomine in various mg. Didn’t work, I wasn’t able to leave the house at all due to constant stomach issues. I finally went to a GI doc who did alot of stool and blood tests. The only thing that showed up was the parasite, B. Hominis. The doc felt like this parasite wasn’t the problem. Also, there aren’t any drugs in the US that get rid of B. Hominis. I found the cure from a clinic in Australia, got the doc to write a prescription and got the meds, took them, and it cured me of the B.Hominis. It was then a waiting game of my system repairing itself, which it got better, but I felt stuck at only 50% better, the GI doc then tried a bunch of other drugs, none of which worked, until finally he prescribed the med, Nortriptyline, 50mg per day pill. THIS WORKED! I’m still taking it, and will need to for a full year, but it started to work the next day! I can and have left the house, was able to go to a movie, went on a ROAD TRIP to San Antonio. I am still not able to digest dairy products properly, and also have problems with bananas and beef, but that’s about all. Obviously I am just giving the jist of my 3 year struggle, there were alot more obstacles and countless doctor appointments, tests, meds, colonoscopy, etc. There are no specific drugs for IBS-D so you have to rely on side effects from other meds, which is why I was prescribed the anti anxiety drug, Nortriptyline for my IBS-D (diarrhea) problem. I’m much better now, say 90%.

    Key Points:
    Flagyl – important to take this drug first to rid of common parasites
    Blastocystis Hominis CURE (yes, cure):
    – Secnidazole 400 mg (30 Capsules) 3 times a day – Furazolidone 100 mg (30 Capsules) 3 times a day – Nitazoxanide 500 mg (20 Capsules) 2 times a day

    This medication is not available in the US, it is available in Australia where I had purchased it (through mail from a clinic)

    Nortriptyline – fixes/evens out the IBS-D issues

    The above worked for me, it may not work for you, I’m not a doctor, only a former victim of parasites I believe I picked up from food and or water in Aruba while on vacation.

  2. Andre R. Berry

    I am a musician and travel outside the United States frequently. I got very ill in Indonesia after eating some salad. I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it home, but I did. 3 years later, I still felt horrible, and suspected I had intestinal parasites. My stomach actually jumped and moved and at night made constant gurgling noises whether I had eaten or not. To make a long story short, after 11 doctor visits to 7 different doctors, I had no answers and was told I was fine. My internal distubances have since moved into chest pain, abdominal jumping, extreme fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, headaches, neckaches and shortness of breath, but other than that, they are right, I am just fine!(yeah right!) I recently was directed to Dr. Thomas Bloink of Los Gatos California. He directed me to get some tests done with a reputable lab he recommended that deals with parasites etc. because as I have come to understand, our medical system has absolutely no training and no clue as to how to diagnose or deal with parasites. it wss found that my suspicions were absolutely correct! I was found to have an exotic male parasite and Dr. Bloink immediately recommended several different herbal remedies, Oregon Grape root being one and PRL Artemisinin being another, along with several other things. I have begun to feel slightly better, but am by no means out of the woods. I understand it is going to take time and commitment and that is fine with me. I will keep you posted as to how these herbs work, because if they do work, I want others that suffer what I am going thru to know and if they don’t, I don’t want them to waste their time. Check back…

  3. Janice Flowers

    I can relate a lot with the first commenter with IBS-D symptoms. I have had my share of digestive problems over at least 8 years. I have seen many doctors and had a endoscopy done. I was told that I had some inflammation in my stomach and prescribed antacids. They have only ever made me feel worse. I was later prescribed an antibiotic that was supposed to stay in my digestive system and not be absorbed by the rest of my body. This $30/pill antibiotic helped a lot while I was taking it but I was back to where I was before a few weeks later. I had been learning about the benefits of oxygen in a biology class so I started to read a lot about it. I found something called MagO7 that is supposed to kill bad bacteria in the system and feed the good. I was really hesitant to try it because I had tried so many things and spent so much money but it had really good online reviews that seemed legitimate. I know this may sound like I am trying to get people to buy it but it has been the only thing that has helped me after all these years. I don’t know that I will ever feel cured. I have been taking that stuff for a year and I only feel well when I am taking it, and I’m careful about what I eat. I feel much better and I feel like I can travel with friends and just go out to parties and not worry about stomach pains. The other thing is that I still have to be careful of what I eat. I can’t really do spicy foods, dairy, or fermented foods but it is nice to feel almost normal again.

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