eibren(z6PA)August 8, 2012

With global warming, many will be encountering parasites that are new to them.

Additionally, there is a deer parasite which is endemic in the US which is apparently not yet acknowledged as being a threat to humans, but may well be. It is Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, well known to many in the agricultural veterinary field as the "meningeal worm", because at one stage of its life cycle an adult nematode can migrate to the brain and lay eggs there.

Deer are the natural host of Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, and it is claimed that it does not pose a risk to humans, but it is my suspicion that at least some of its stages may be able to infect humans, and willing to do so in the absence of its preferred hosts (deer and other ungulates, such as moose, goats, sheep, and alpacas). One internet source claims it has been successfully used to infect guinea pigs.

There is an internet phenomenon called "Morgellon's syndrome" which numerous individuals are claimed to have, which is usually passed off by the scientific community as being a psychological complaint. In that syndrome, people frequently claim to have fibers coming out of their skin.

I am aware of at least one instance in which a human was unwittingly exposed for several hours to a massive number of adult nematodes which had infested a jacket vest in a car in which raw, untreated alpaca fleece had been overwintered. That individual now has experienced many of the symptoms that alpacas and other hosts go through with a "meningeal worm" infestation--including filamentaceous nematodes coming out of their skin, apparently from "blackheads" that are hot pink in color.

Additionally, many are unknowingly exposed to hookworm and other parasites while gardening, especially if they live in an area where pets are allowed to roam freely and defecate where they wish.

Since gardeners seem to be at heightened risk from parasites, I feel it would be useful to have a thread devoted to the subject of herbal and other vermifuge treatments. A veterinarian recently informed me that she was aware of many instances of human sufferers of conditions labelled as "fibromyalgia", "psoriasis", etc. were finally identified as suffering from parasitic infections, treated for same, and at long last found relief from their ailments.

I feel that a thread like this is especially needed now, because it appears that the allopathic physicians in this country have been dropping the ball on parasite treatment, especially in the case of infections with such parasites as Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, which are frightening enough to affect land and recreational values, and threaten tax revenues from vacationers and land taxes. Additionally, even environmentalists might be found to be willing to conceal the risks of parasite infestation from vegetable patches and berry picking in low lying, swampy areas where the snails exist that can complete, for example, the life cycles of a parasite such as Parelaphostrongylus tenuis.

The only herbal vermifuge I am personally acquainted with is garlic, which seems to have some potential. Are there others that are safe, effective, and reliable? I am hoping this thread will provide a useful repository for any information those posting in this forum have on this subject.

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Garlic does show some antiparasite activity (as well as tasting great) so it'd be a natural to incorporate in your diet. The only caveat I'm aware of is that in large amounts it could demonstrate enough anti-blood clotting activity to be significant in certain people, probably those already on anti-clotting medications.

Wormwood will probably be touted here sooner or later, but in addition to problems with efficacy there is toxicity to consider:

"Wormwood is classified as an unsafe herb by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of the neurotoxic potential of thujone and its derivatives. The safety of wormwood is poorly documented despite its long history as a food additive. Convulsions, dermatitis, and renal failure have been documented."

Beyond what herbs to try, it's important to note that fear of parasites and the likelihood of actual parasite infestation are two entirely different things. Claims about "Morgellons" disease have been debunked, with the help of a long-awaited CDC study:

"The study, carried out in Northern California, found no environmental or infectious cause, nor evidence of real parasites. The fibers, which many Morgellons patients have insisted were of composed of a substance that was unidentifiable by any lab, were mostly just pieces of fabric and skin fragments from repeated scratching. (You can read the full study on the Public Library of Science.) In conclusion, the CDC writes on its "Unexplained Dermopathy" page,

This comprehensive study of an unexplained apparent dermopathy demonstrated no infectious cause and no evidence of an environmental link. There was no indication that it would be helpful to perform additional testing for infectious diseases as a potential cause. Future efforts should focus on helping patients reduce their symptoms through careful attention to treatment of co-existing medical, including psychiatric conditions, that might be contributing to their symptoms."

The symptoms are quite real - they're just not caused by parasites.

Parasites are scary-sounding (take a course in parasitology if you don't mind the ick factor, their life cycles are fascinating) but are way overrated (especially in the alt med community) as a source of disease in developed countries.

As for Parelaphostrongylus, there doesn't seem to be anything to fear unless you're a deer or free-ranging elk. :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 8:21AM
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Link to the article quoted above regarding Morgellons disease.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Thank you for your input, Eric.

I would like this thread to be a potential support for sufferers of true parasite infections, however, and not to focus on the psychological theories of nonsufferers.

Stress is supposed to make an individual more parasite prone, however, I read somewhere, so herbs relieving stress might also be useful.

Additionally, I wonder if the commonly used ingredients of many anti-itch preparations, such as cortisone, might also have an effect on parasite behavior or reproduction.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 3:08AM
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"I would like this thread to be a potential support for sufferers of true parasite infections, however, and not to focus on the psychological theories of nonsufferers."

It's a subject you brought up.

If you check out "parasite support" forums on alt med sites, there are posters who are not only convinced they have parasites, but seek out powerful medications to treat themselves, sometimes buying drugs at veterinary supply places that are intended for dogs and horses. They may pressure health practitioners in an attempt to get prescription drugs. Cortisone, which you mentioned, is relatively safe when used on the skin for short-term periods to relieve an itchy rash. Longer use can cause skin damage and other side effects, and chronic internal use even worse problems. Cortisone and similar steroids have a negative impact on the immune system, so they tend to encourage infection to spread and make matters worse.

Incorporating garlic into one's diet and seeking to minimize stress (largely through lifestyle changes) are both good ideas. Maintaining optimal nutrition partly through the use of herbs is also a good general practice.
Self-diagnosing parasite infection and expecting herbal drugs to take care of it - not so good.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Do you have any information to add regarding vermifuges, Eric?

You do seem to be quite well informed re. herbal matters.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 12:32AM
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If this thread shrinks any more, it may disappear entirely. ;)

I just got in a shipment of garlic bulbs for planting. This got me wondering if any particular variety is supposed to be better for antibacterial/antiparasitic activity. Turns out that "porcelain" types of garlic bulbs are claimed to be especially high in allicin, which is considered the active ingredient.

So if you're incorporating more garlic in your diet for this purpose, it might pay to seek out this type, rather than depending on the usual supermarket kind (which is probably less flavorful anyway).

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 8:21AM
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I finally resorted to garlic tablets; much less interfering of one's social life.

In the course of trying out a Wormwood/ Walnut tincture, I found that it facilitated the removal of several "age" spots on my face.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 1:38AM
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Anyone have updates for the topic of parasites and affects on humans?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2015 at 2:26PM
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The risk of acquiring a parasitic infection through everyday living (especially for gardeners) to a great extent involves pets (dogs and cats*) or stray animals that may use your yard as a litter box -

*i.e. a pathogen like toxoplasma.

Prevention is important (using good hygiene and taking proper care of your animals).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2015 at 5:31PM
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