by Dr. Leo Galland
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.
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
Important: Help Fight Parasites by Forwarding this article to your friends, and sharing on Facebook!
Get Schooled on Your Stomach at Pilladvised.com:
- Exercise Helps Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Stomach Acid and the Future of Health Care
- Recover from Thanksgiving Excess
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
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.