Hookworms, Roundworms, Tapeworms, Threadworms.
Worms and other intestinal parasites which infest human beings are found in all countries of the world. However, they are more common in tropical and subtropical areas and are widely prevalent during the rainy season. Children are more often infested with intestinal worms than adults.
Causes and Symptoms
The usual symptoms of intestinal worms are diarrhoea, foul breath, dark circles under the eyes, constant desire for food, restlessness at night with bad dreams, anaemia, and headaches. Round-worms may give rise to inflammation of the intestine and lungs, nausea, vomiting, loss of weight, fever, nervousness, and irritability. Threadworms may cause intense itching in the area around the rectum. They may also cause periodic bouts of diarrhoea alternating with constipation, loss of weight, cough, and fever. Hookworms may give rise to anaemia and nutritional disorders.
The eggs of these parasites are introduced into the human system through the medium of food or water. Roundworms are caused by eating contaminated food. Threadworms may enter the body from dirty fingers and food. Hookworms enter the human body through bare foot walking on infected earth. Tapeworms are transmitted to the body through undercooked flesh foods or foods contaminated by dogs.
The real cause of intestinal worms, however, is faulty living. The eggs of these worms, taken into the human body through food and water, can breed in the intestines only if they find there a suitable medium for their propagation. This medium is an intest;nal tract clogged with morbid matter.
Coconut: Among the numerous home remedies found beneficial in the treatment of intestinal worms, the use of coconut is most effective. It is an ancient remedy for expelling all kinds of intestinal worms. A tablespoon of freshly ground coconut should be taken at breakfast, followed by 30 to 60 ml of castor oil mixed with 250 to 375 ml of lukewarm milk after three hours. This process may be repeated till the cure is complete.
Garlic: Garlic has been used from ancient times by the Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Babylonians for expelling intestinal worms. It is still used by modern medical practitioners for the same purpose. Both fresh garlic and its oil are effective. An ancient method of its administration was to place a couple of cloves of fresh garlic in each shoe. As the person walked, the cloves got crushed, and the worm-killing garlic oil was absorbed by the skin and carried by the blood into the intestines easily, as it possessed a powerful penetrative force. This ancient method is worth a trial by those who do not like the taste of garlic and cannot eat it. Those who can eat raw garlic, however, should chew three cloves of garlic every morning.
Carrot: Carrots are valuable in the elimination of threadworms among children as they are offensive to all parasites. A small cup of grated carroi taken every morning, with no other food added to the meal, can clear these worms quickly.
Papaya: The digestive enzyme papain in the milky juice of the unripe papaya is a powerful agent for destroying roundworms. A tablespoon of the fresh juice of an unripe papaya, and an equal quantity of honey should be mixed with three to four tablespoons of hot water and taken as a dose by an adult. This should be followed two hours later by a dose of 30 to (>0 ml of castor oil mixed in 250-375 ml of lukewarm milk. This treatment should be repeated for two days if necessary For children between seven to ten years of age, half the above doses should be given. For children under three years, a tablespoon is sufficient.
Papaya seeds are also useful for this purpose. They are rich in a substance called caricin which is a very effective medicine for expelling roundworms. The seeds should be powdered and taken in doses of one teaspoon with one cup of milk or water daily in the moming on an empty stomach. The alkaloid carpaine found in papaya leaves also has the power to destroy or expel intestinal worms. An infusion can be made by pouring 250 ml of boiling water over 15 gm of dry leaves. This can be taken with honey.
Pomegranate: The bark, both of the root and the stems of the pomegranate tree, is well known for its anthelmintic properties of destroying parasitic worms. The bark of the root is, however, preferred as it contains a greater quantity of the alkaloid punicine than the bark of the stem. This alkaloid is highly toxic to tapeworms. A cold decoction of the bark, preferably fresh bark, should be given in quantities of 90 to 180 ml three times, at intervals of one hour, to an adult. A purgative should be given after the last dose. The dose for children is 30 to 60 ml. The decoction is also used for expelling tapeworms.
Pumpkin: The seeds of ripe pumpkin are useful in intestinal worms, especially tapeworms. One tablespoon of the seeds should be peeled and crushed, and then infused in 250 ml of boiling water and drunk. This will kill the parasites and help in expelling the tapeworms. It will be necessary to fast for a day and empty the intestines by taking the juice of boiled dry prunes. The next day, three or four tumblers of the pumpkin seed infusion should be taken.
Wormwood: The herb wormwood is an ancient cure for expelling intestinal worms. It was extensively used by the Greeks and Romans for this purpose. The flowering tops have been and are, to this day, largely used in the Tibbi (Unani) system of medicine in India as a drug to kill intestinal worms. They are usually powdered and given in eight to sixteen gram doses daily for roundworms and tapeworms.
The oil distilled from this plant also possesses the property to kill worms. It should be mixed with olive oil, the latter being eight times the weight of the former. This mixture can be given in doses of 50 to 100 ml for this purpose. An infusion of the herb can also be prepared by mixing 2 ml of wormwood oil in 120 ml of water, and be given as an enema for killing worms in the rectum.
Belleric Myroblan: The herb belleric myroblan, mixed with the seeds of the herb butea (palas) on a 50:50 basis is an excellent anthelmintic. It should be given in doses of one teaspoon thrice a day. It helps remove all intestinal parasites. The seeds of butea can also be administered alone with beneficial results in expelling intestinal worms. One teaspoon of seeds may be given either in the form of powder or paste with one teaspoon of honey, thrice daily. They are specially beneficial in the treatment of roundworms and tapeworms.
Vasaka: The leaves, bark, root-bark, fruit, and the flowers of vasaka tree also help in removing intestinal parasites. A decoction of the root and bark can be prepared by boiling 30 gm of the root and bark in 5(X) ml of water, till it is reduced by one-third. This decoction may be given in doses of 30 ml twice or thrice daily for two or three days. The juice of the fresh leaves can also be used in doses of a teaspoon thrice a day for three days.
Calamus: Another valuable remedy for expelling intestinal worms is the herb calamus. The bitter element in this herb, acorin, is an anthelmintic.
The treatment for intestinal worms should begin with diet. The patient should be kept on an exclusive fresh-fruit diet for four or five days. Thereafter, he may adopt a well-balanced light diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, milk, and wholemeal bread. The diet should exclude fatty foods such as butter, cream, and oil, and all flesh foods.
In some cases, the all-fruit diet may have to be repeated at intervals and in obstinate cases, the patient should resort to a short fast of raw fruit and vegetable juices.
During the all-fruit or fasting period, the bowel should be cleansed daily with a warm-water enema.