Natural Remedies for Parasite Infections

Parasites: Our Uninvited Guests (Part 3)
Natural Remedies for Parasite Infections
Garlic is naturally anti-parasitic, and anise oil is used to expel parasites. (Ploipiroon/Shutterstock)
Ashley Turner

This series explores parasites, including what they are, how we get them, and how to get rid of them.

For someone who has recently learned that they have a parasite infection, the immediate next thought is, “How do I get rid of this as quickly as possible?” As you’d likely expect, antiparasitic drugs are typically prescribed in conventional medicine.

However, these drugs can have negative long-term side effects and are rarely the first recommended treatment in holistic medicine.

It's possible to treat parasites with a combination of diet and nutrition protocols in addition to antiparasitic herbs. The goal of this approach is to make the body uninhabitable for parasites by starving them and supporting the immune system's ability to clear them out.

One thing to note before we begin: There's no one-size-fits-all method for ridding the body of a parasitic infection, regardless of whether you're using a conventional or integrative approach. Different parasites require different treatments, so it's important to work with a knowledgeable practitioner who can help to give an accurate diagnosis and set the appropriate treatment protocol that's best for your body.

Dietary Considerations

It's important to remember that you feed parasites: your food is their food. Therefore, it's imperative to starve the parasites of their preferred food sources. Parasites are particularly drawn to dairy, sugars in every form, and processed foods, so you will want to avoid any of those foods in your diet. Let’s dive into this a bit more.
Vegetables: As a general rule, only consume cooked vegetables while parasite cleansing. It’s best to consume them either baked, roasted, steamed, or sauteed. Avoid boiling because the nutritional value is significantly depleted.

Avoid corn, sweet peas, and potatoes, as their sugar content is higher. You will want to consume cooked vegetables that have a low glycemic index, such as bell peppers, cabbage, asparagus, onions, tomatoes, artichokes, broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and cucumber.

Fruits: Fruits should be eaten in moderation given their sugar content. Small amounts of fruit sugars may lure parasites into the digestive tract, where antiparasitic herbs will be most effective. Avoid canned or cooked fruits.

Recommended fruits include citrus (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits), apples, pears, avocados, cherries, prunes, plums, strawberries, and peaches.

Meat: Prioritize high-quality meats, including grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, veal, and lamb. Additionally, pasture-raised eggs are an excellent nutrient-dense protein source.
Grains: Grains should be avoided or consumed in very limited quantities while cleansing parasites, as they contain starches.
Sugars: Very limited amounts of raw honey, pure monk fruit, and stevia can be consumed. In general, you want to avoid adding all processed sugars.
Drinks: Water is extremely important, so drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water. Water is an easy way to flush your system of toxins, expediting the process of getting rid of parasites. Adding apple cider vinegar to hot water, or just consuming 2 tablespoons of it daily, is recommended as well.
Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes: Supplementing with high-quality probiotics and digestive enzymes can often support gut health and make the gut less inhabitable to parasites.
Foods such as raw garlic, pumpkin seeds, papaya seeds, and beets have traditionally been consumed with one another to kill parasites. It’s also important to consume high amounts of fiber, which can help to get rid of worms.
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Herbal Antiparasitics

Many antiparasitic herbs can be extremely beneficial to consume as part of your parasite protocol.
  • Black Walnuts: Black walnuts contain juglone and tannins that work to eliminate microbes from the large intestine. They can also work as a laxative, expelling parasites from the body.
  • Cloves: Cloves are naturally antiseptic and anti-parasitic. They help to kill parasitic eggs and worms in the intestines. They can also be consumed as a “maintenance” treatment to help prevent future parasitic infections.
  • Raw Garlic: Raw garlic is used to help deal with intestinal worm parasites. It features sulfur-containing amino acids that are naturally anti-parasitic.
  • Mimosa Pudica Seed: When you consume mimosa pudica, the seeds become a gelatinous-like gel that can stick to parasites and other toxins, making them available to be removed from the body.
  • Wormwood: Wormwood is a perennial plant related to the daisy family and can be consumed either fresh or dried. It's used to eliminate all types of worms including roundworms, tapeworms, and pinworms.
  • Papaya Seeds: Papaya seeds can be helpful in killing off worms and ridding your system of the toxins that they produce.
  • Barberry: Barberry is an herb and berry that contains berberine, a compound shown to kill tapeworms.
  • Goldenseal: Goldenseal also contains berberine and has been shown to kill parasites including Giardia and tapeworms.
  • Oregon Grape: This beautiful little plant with yellow blossoms and grape-like berries contains berberine, like barberry and goldenseal. It has strong anti-parasitic qualities, making it another effective tool for treating parasitic infections.
  • Anise: Anise oil has been used historically in small doses to expel intestinal parasites. It's a milder treatment than other anti-parasitic herbs.


Homeopathy is another useful way to treat parasitic infections. As always, it's imperative to work with a trained and knowledgeable clinician or homeopath. When you meet with one, he or she will consider a wide variety of factors including your physical constitution, your lifestyle, and the symptoms that you're exhibiting.
Some common homeopathic remedies for parasites include:
  • Cina: Traditionally used for threadworm, roundworm, or ascarid infections, cina can also help to relieve an upset stomach or anal itching from these parasites.
  • Cuprum Oxidatum Nigrum: This homeopathic medicine helps relieve intestinal discomfort and digestive issues from worms, as well as bloating or itching.
  • Indigo: Indigo is often used to treat children who are suffering from roundworms in the stomach. These worms can cause extreme pain and indigo can help to relieve symptoms.
  • Teucrium: This herb is most often used to remove worms in both children and adults.
  • Podophyllum: This plant has been used for centuries to treat gut discomfort, painful cramps, or diarrhea. It's used to expel worms from the digestive tract.
  • Spigelia: Spigelia is most useful for pinworms or other worms when you have symptoms including itching, tickling, or crawling.
  • Sabadilla: This plant helps to alleviate the itching and crawling sensation during worm infections and helps to rid the body of tapeworms, ascarids, and pinworms.

Parasites Can Help Treat Autoimmune Disease

While we have discussed some of the negative aspects of parasitic infections, it's important to note that research indicates some potential benefits to parasites. Introducing helminths, a class of worms that includes hookworms and whipworms, has shown promising results in the treatment of autoimmune conditions including Crohn’s disease. Interestingly, Crohn's is a relatively rare condition in underdeveloped countries where helminths are a common occurrence in the population.
Increasing research is necessary to continue exploring this potential correlation, but it's an exciting possibility. Parasites are seen as something entirely negative, and while that's very much the case for many individuals, it's worth considering that they can be helpful for people with some specific autoimmune conditions.


If you have received a parasite diagnosis, don't be disheartened—there are tangible, clear action steps that you can take to begin healing from your infection. While healing won't happen overnight, be encouraged by the fact that every dietary change that you make to eliminate the foods that the parasites are thriving off is making a difference in killing off the infection.

NEXT: How to manage the side effects of parasite elimination.

Dr. Ashley Turner is a traditionally trained naturopath and board-certified doctor of holistic health for Restorative Wellness Center. As an expert in functional medicine, Dr. Ashley is the author of the gut-healing guide “Restorative Kitchen” and “Restorative Traditions,” a cookbook comprised of non-inflammatory holiday recipes.
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