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A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Worms

All types of worms parasitize on animals need a host or hosts to live in and to complete their reproductive life history; including the multiplication of population. These parasitic worms of humans vary greatly in sizes and can range in size from the minute quarter inch pinworm to the ten-yard long fully grown tapeworm; whether big or small they all depend on man to survive. Because of their curiosity, children touch everything and are generally not hygienic, hence these parasitic worms tend to infect children; worms are a common affliction of childhood. The majority of people are infected with worms from eating contaminated food and from touching dirty toys and not from improper hygienic behavior. On the whole children forget or ignore simple steps like washing hands before a meal and increase their chances of contracting some disease or another.

The human intestinal tract is the usual habitat of most parasitic worms that infect humans. While many species often migrate within the human host, some species of worms stay put in the intestinal spaces and draw nourishment from the host. It usually takes several months to detect the presence of worms in a child as most symptoms suggesting the presence of worms in the body are not always obvious at first. Some typical symptoms indicative of the presence of worms in the human body despite the excellent appetite of the person differ according to age groups, children often show poor physical growth as a result of parasitic worm infections and in adults the symptoms tend to be weight loss that occurs consistently even with a very strong appetite. Different conditions such as intestinal colics, persistent diarrhea and even appendicitis are suggestive of infection by parasitic worms. Because of the fact that symptoms free periods are not necessarily indicative of complete elimination of worms, all stool samples must be checked regularly for infection, once the treatment for ridding the body of the parasite has begun.

In the climatic environment that covers most of North America, the parasites found most commonly infecting the intestinal tract of humans are the tiny pinworms; these worms are probably suited to a temperate environment. These worms are the cause for persistent anal itching that occurs at nighttime when a person is in bed; these worms also commonly infect children of all age groups. The anal itching is because of the fact that the worms often crawl out through the anus to deposit their eggs in the region around the anus of the person. These eggs in turn are spread about by the person through activities such as scratching, the hands can than transport the eggs on to the bedclothes or the sheets and if a child is given to behavior like thumb sucking, the worms reenter the body and the cycle is repeated all over again. The worms are usually detected by placing cellophane tape on the anal area and leaving it overnight. This diagnostic test helps in identifying the worms and confirms their presence by actual physical capture of the eggs. The tape can be examined the next day to confirm the presence of worms in the body as a lot of eggs are picked up by the tape; a microscope is normally used to confirm the presence of eggs.

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Some species of worms are rarely found in North America but are major health issues in other countries around the world; especially in countries with a tropical climate. Among these, the huge variety of tapeworm species are the largest of all human intestinal parasites, often reaching incredible lengths. Tapeworms normally have an intermediate host and are thus designated by the intermediate host's name, man is usually the final host, pork tapeworm is therefore a species that uses pigs as an intermediate host and spreads on to humans; pork tapeworms are largely absent in north America, however other species of tapeworms such as the fish tapeworms infest some freshwater fish and beef tapeworms also exist in sufficient populations to infest humans. The easiest way to detect infection is through the observation of the flat, white body segments of the tapeworm in the feces, but symptomatic diagnosis is often difficult because the initial symptoms produced by the parasite are rather mild. Symptomatic diagnosis become possible as other physical symptoms appear, these include discomfort in the abdominal and the anal regions, the weight loss in an individual even in someone with a strong appetite and in whom there is an intensification of hunger. A symptomatic diagnosis for fish tapeworm infestation is that vitamin B12 anemia occurs in the patient.

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While nearly not as common in distribution and reach as compared to the pinworm, the roundworm or ascaris, also known as the giant roundworm, is another parasitic worm commonly found occurring in North America, and the southern part of the United States in particular; this worm has a cosmopolitan distribution and has a world wide reach. The parasite has an involved reproductive and life history within the human body, a complex migrating pattern starts with the eggs being ingested along with contaminated food. After hatching from eggs that enter the intestines along with contaminated food, young ascaris migrate using the blood stream into the lungs, traveling in the blood and lymph vessels. These migrations of the young worms can bring on symptoms resembling a chest cold, along with the development of coughing, wheezing and fever in the person. The worms keep on migrating and end up in the bronchial tubes to be swallowed and thus gain entry into the digestive system. Here they grow and attain full size, which is up to ten inches long, some of the symptoms can be unpleasant and cramping pains along with colics and conditions like diarrhea; the worms are actively feeding at this time and bring a lot of discomfort to the host. Stool samples are usually required to diagnosis the presence of roundworms in the intestines.

If somebody in a family is infested with pinworms, treatment is usually required for the entire family even if the symptoms of infestation may not be evident in many of the members, the parasites are so readily communicated from person to person that often the best treatment option is to treat everybody to prevent chance infestations and thus to preclude recurring infestations from the parasites. The pinworms are transported via the fingernails to clothing and other household items like bed sheets, toys and towels and also from close physical contact with members of the family; children are the usual agents in the active transmission of the parasites. Cleanliness is important for the household and the immediate living environment to decrease the chances of infestations, thus rooms must be washed daily and laundry must be cleaned regularly, items like the beddings, towels and clothing, must all be disinfected by using a hot dryer or the heat from an iron after they have been washed. The practice of personal hygiene for all family members is of course absolutely a priority.

Children are also the biggest potential and actual transmitters of the ascaris roundworm. Poor sanitation in an area increases the risk of infestation with the worms, since this worm exists or prefers mostly warm climates and is originally from a tropical environment. Undercooked meat and raw fish are other potential and actual pathways for the other species of worms and especially so in the case of all species of tapeworms. Raw fish can only be considered safe when it has been processed properly, for example fish frozen for a period of forty-eight hours at 14°F (-10°C) is considered safe and free from parasites. Household pets can be another potential source of parasitic worms. Regular visits to the vet should include checks for worms and other parasites and the pets must be health in general, as a healthy pet is more likely to shake off disease and infestations.

Because there is a possibility of infection from the large variety of parasitic worms, special care must be taken to preclude parasitic infestation especially when a person is traveling through sub tropical and tropical countries; these climates have the majority of infective parasitic worm species anywhere in the world. Undercooked meat and fish, an impure environment or very unhygienic conditions, with special reference to toilet facilities and the contaminated soil and vegetables are the primary sources for parasites. The skin can be penetrated by hookworms, threadworms and other parasites, therefore walking barefoot in contaminated grass or soil and swimming in contaminated fresh water or salt water lakes and ponds can also increase the likelihood of contracting an intestinal parasite. In areas where these parasitic populations are high, one should avoid close and intimate physical touches especially with persons that might be infected with these parasites as the chances of infestation increases on contact.

Supplements and herbs

All of the following supplements and herbs can be used in the elimination of intestinal parasites from the body. A large variety of internal parasites including worms can be eliminated through the use of the natural extract from the seed of the grapefruit. The extract can be used as a prophylactic and preventative supplements; at the same time it can also be used as a therapeutic supplement in the treatment of a long term parasitic infestation-all persons tolerate the supplement quite well. A tablet form as well as a liquid form is available. To aid in ensuring a full recovery from parasitic infestations, the internal store of friendly bacteria must be replenished through the use of supplements of acidophilus, this restores the balance of healthy bacteria in the intestines. A good supply of biological substances such as bromelain (found in pineapple), sufficient levels of the stomach acids and adequate levels of pancreatic protein enzymes aid the body in repelling parasites.

The advantage of herbal therapies compared to prescription de-worming medications is that they come without side effects and can be utilized in the long term, they are also generally milder than the other types of medications; and the great thing is that most of them are just as efficient at eliminating worms. A yearly parasite and cleansing program is a must for anyone serious about ridding themselves of the internal presence of all stages of a worms' lifespan. In this regard a combination formula made of wormwood, black walnut husk and cloves can be used with great effect; check your local health food store for these herbs. Every stage of life that a parasite might possibly posses in the human body can be effectively cleared away by the use of this herbal mixture.

The juices of herbs such as the wormwood-so named for its ability to rid the body of worms, the wormseed, the pinkroot, and the dandelion can be combined or used alone to effectively remove all worms from the body. Prepare the drink or herbal tea using a single cup of boiling water and mix this with a quarter tsp. of the herbal juice and drink one glass of this every morning before you have eaten anything, prepare the same herbal concoction throughout the day and keep drinking a single tsp. about once every few hours or so. The toxic waste accumulated due to parasitic worm activity in the intestines can be eliminated through the use of repeated doses of the purgative along with a single tbsp. of castor oil or salt water if castor oil is unavailable. Traditional use has been made of the common garlic to treat parasitic infections of all kinds for ages. If the patient hates the odor of raw garlic he or she can be prescribed garlic in a capsule form, three of these capsules can be taken thrice each day to rid the body of parasites. Worms can also be purged from the intestines by the use of two capsules containing extracts of black walnut and burdock root. Worms can also be eliminated from the body through the use of yarrow and yellow dock as herbal purgatives. The tincture form of these herbs can be used two times a day, in doses of about thirty drops of the tincture each. Itching and other physical symptoms can be relieved by the use of aloe vera and tea tree oil. In case of infestation with pinworms, apply these gels or oil directly on the irritated region around the anus and on the anus itself. Tapeworms can also be eliminated from the body through the use of the male fern herb as an herbal remedy. Use a cup of water to boil and steep a tsp. of fern roots for thirty minutes. Strain the liquid after cooling and sip one to two cups of this herbal tea during your day to bring relief from worms. Tapeworms have also been completely eliminated from the stomach through the use of Areca-betel nut. The herbal juice made form this herb can be taken at doses of a tbsp. every day during the treatment period.

Aromatherapy

Commonly used essential oils for worms:

Additional things you may do

The treatment of pinworms is easily achievable through the use of the juices of the common kitchen herbs like the garlic and onion; these common herbs are especially effective in ridding the body of worms. Use these herbal juices as an enema utilizing about a single tsp. of the herbal juice diluted in half a qt. of water on a daily basis and during a treatment session lasting a whole week. A few cloves of fresh garlic placed in the shoes of children who do not like the taste or smell of garlic can still aid in preventing worms from infesting a child. The crushed garlic in the shoe will release the herbal oils from the garlic and this is assimilated by the skin to be eventually carried into the blood stream finally finding its way into the intestine. At all events, parasites are best avoided by those who take good care of themselves and maintain proper hygiene at all times. If you pet dogs or cats and if you touch some infected person knowingly, you should make sure that you wash your hands well each time. Other helpful habits can be keeping fingernails short and the maintenance of general cleanliness around the house.

Usual dosage

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus, three capsules or one tea spoon a day.
  • Grapefruit seed extract, three capsules thrice a day.
  • Digestive enzymes, two capsules with food.

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