Updated: Oct 21
Parasitic infections impact approximately 3.5 billion people worldwide. Of course, if you have a parasitic infection that does require treatment, pharmaceuticals like ivermectin are not your only option. Other options include various antiparasitic herbs.
If you read my blog, Should You Worry About Parasites, you know different parasites affect the human body differently, but not all parasites are bad. Parasitic infection impacts approximately 3.5 billion people worldwide (1). Of course, if you happen to have a parasitic infection that does require treatment, the go-to pharmaceutical would likely be Ivermectin. On the fence about the safety of Ivermectin, check out my blog, The Truth About Ivermectin.
As someone who has had a parasitic infection that required treatment as a teenager, I recommend taking the gentler approach -- antiparasitic herbs.
An antiparasitic property is when a substance can kill, repel, or remove parasites (2). A form of antiparasitic is anthelmintic, meaning a substance that can destroy parasitic worms, like ivermectin (3). When most people think of antiparasitic herbs, what comes to mind are wormwood and black walnut. Although these two herbs are amazing antiparasitics, they’re a bit harsh for children, so I wanted to share five herbs everyone can use.
Thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and wound-healing properties, calendula has been used internally and topically for centuries to heal wounds, burns, and rashes. Some of these properties are why calendula is also a great antiparasitic. In an older study, calendula inhibited the development of L3 Heligmosomoides polygyrus larvae (3). A more recent study also found calendula affects the characteristics of Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri L3 proteins (4).
To learn more, check out my blog, Benefits of Calendula.
Cloves are probably most popular for their ability to soothe mouth pain, but it’s so much more than that. Clove has both insecticidal and anthelmintic properties. Due to clove’s antibacterial, antifungal, and insecticidal properties, it's often used as a pesticide and fungicide in drugs and cosmetics (5).
Of course, you’re not here for the insecticidal properties but for the anthelmintic properties. In studies, clove flower oil demonstrated anthelmintic activity (6). For example, in animal studies, clove decreased the number of excreted nematode eggs per gram of feces by an average of 40.6% in naturally infected ewes in farm conditions (7).
To learn more, check out my blog, Benefits of Cloves.
Although coconut oil is not an herb, I felt this needed to be discussed since it’s easily accessible in almost any supermarket. In studies, the overall coconut plant inhibited the growth of parasites responsible for the most deadly form of human malaria, P. falciparum, to at least half that of the controls (8). These benefits likely stem from their medium-chain, saturated fatty acids (MCSFAs) content, which possesses both antimicrobial and antiparasitic properties (9).
Garlic is probably one of the most commonly used cooking spices and happens to be antiparasitic. One study found garlic to kill the copepod parasite L. kroyeri obtained from European sea bass (10). Other studies confirm that the sulfur-containing compounds in garlic effectively kill parasites like Trypanosoma brucei trypanothione reductase and Leishmania tarentolae (11).
Pumpkin seeds are often roasted and enjoyed as a snack, but they also have health benefits like destroying parasitic worms. Several human and animal studies have demonstrated pumpkin seeds possess anthelmintic properties (12,13,14). One study concluded that naturally occurring compounds in plants, like pumpkin seeds, constitute an alternative to synthetic anthelmintics (15). In the previous ewe clove study, pumpkin seed was also tested and performed better, with a 52.9% average decrease of excreted nematode eggs per gram of feces (7).
To learn more, check out my blog, Benefits of Pumpkin Seed.
When I don't have time to incorporate antiparasitic herbs, I really enjoy Earthley's Gut Health Oil, which is an herbal tincture created to help detox the gut for improved health. This product can help with candida, parasites, and other stomach issues like bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and more. It’s also a prebiotic, which encourages the growth of good bacteria in your gut to support better wellness.
⚠️ Warning: The Holistic Hipppie is not a functional medicine practitioner. The FDA has not evaluated these statements. This content is not medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or replace medical guidance. The Holistic Hipppie assumes no liability for the application of the information discussed.