6. Ginger – this rhizome herb is a cousin of turmeric and just as good for you. More than a condiment for sushi, ginger is a superspice that aids digestion, detoxifies, improves circulation, regulates blood sugar, is anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antimucosal, antioxidant, anticancer, and antiparasitic.
A 2013 study published in the journal Parasitology International found that ginger directly kills parasites and their eggs and heals the liver and intestines from parasitic damage. (19) Ginger can be used raw or dried. Click here for a recipe for a parasite-destroying tea.
7. Papaya – perhaps the most efficacious food for clearing the body of parasites is papaya fruit and its seeds. A 2007 study found that papaya seeds were 71.4-100% effective in ridding stool of parasites after a seven-day treatment. (20) Further, when mixed with honey, the seeds are not only more palatable (they tend to be somewhat bitter) but you get the added benefits of honey, including its antiparasitic properties. (21)
Two ways to take papaya to combat parasites:
- Peel the skin and soak the fruit in raw organic apple cider vinegar for twenty-four hours. Eat one cup of the fruit and two ounces of the brine for four days.
- Remove the seeds from an average-sized papaya and grind them to a paste (a coffee grinder, food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle will work to grind the seeds). Place the ground seeds in a blender. Add one tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil, one cup of organic coconut milk, and the rest of the papaya (skinned). Blend until smooth. Drink a fresh smoothie each morning for at least 7 consecutive days.
8. Pumpkin Seeds (Raw) – cucurbitacin is a plant steroid found in pumpkin, gourd, melon, cucumber, and other squash seeds. It is in itself bitter and slightly toxic but those may be the properties that parasites find destructive. Like other bitter plant substances, cucurbitacin is an antitumor, antiparasitic emetic (induces vomiting). That may not sound very appetizing but over time, pumpkins have been domesticated to breed out the bitterness and hence reduce human toxicity, making them not only safe but health-promoting. (22)
A Chinese study for which pumpkin seeds were mixed with areca nuts found them extremely effective for tapeworm expulsion. (23) Other studies have had similar results in killing parasites and their eggs in humans and other animals. (24, 25, 26)
Furthermore, pumpkin seeds provide significant nutrition including protein, magnesium, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. You can eat them (raw) by the handful or on and in anything else you eat. Click here for easy and delicious pumpkin seed recipes.
9. Turmeric – this is another versatile superspice that provides a multitude of health benefits. (27, 28) In fact, this rhizome should more fittingly be on the top of the list of anti-parasitic herbs. From a 2013 Brazilian study:
“Curcumin [the active compound in turmeric, its golden pigment], a phenolic compound deriving from the plant Curcuma longa, has been shown to have anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antiparasitic effects. Recently, our group has demonstrated that curcumin causes the separation of S. mansoni adult worm pairs, eggs infertility, decreased oviposition and parasite viability, leading to death.” (29)
For parasite destruction (or any other health treatment), turmeric should be slightly prepared—its bioavailability in humans is limited so a little care must be applied. Gently warmed and taken with a teaspoon (or more) of virgin coconut oil and black pepper increases the human body’s ability to absorb curcumin. Click here for a recipe for turmeric paste that you can make and store in the refrigerator to use as you need it.
If you are fighting parasites, keep in mind that they are most likely targeting your digestive system. Paying special attention to gut health during the period of infestation is therefore exceedingly important. Increase your probiotic intake; foods include yogurt and kefir (plain and organic), sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and other fermented and pro-/pre-biotic foods. Drink plenty of clear fluids and get ample rest.
Paul Sherman is an evolutionary biologist and professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University. Here’s how he describes the relationship among humans, parasites, and herbs:
“The proximate reason for spice use obviously is to enhance food palatability. But why do spices taste good? Traits that are beneficial are transmitted both culturally and genetically, and that includes taste receptors in our mouths and our taste for certain flavors. People who enjoyed food with antibacterial spices probably were healthier, especially in hot climates. They lived longer and left more offspring. And they taught their offspring and others: ‘This is how to cook a mastodon.’ We believe the ultimate reason for using spices is to kill food-borne bacteria and fungi. I believe that recipes are a record of the history of the coevolutionary race between us and our parasites. The microbes are competing with us for the same food. Everything we do with food—drying, cooking, smoking, salting or adding spices—is an attempt to keep from being poisoned by our microscopic competitors. They’re constantly mutating and evolving to stay ahead of us. One way we reduce food-borne illnesses is to add another spice to the recipe. Of course that makes the food taste different, and the people who learn to like the new taste are healthier for it.” (30)