What Is a Parasite Cleanse?

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What Is a Parasite Cleanse?
What Is a Parasite Cleanse? (Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

According to the World Health Organization, 3.5 billion people suffer from some type of parasitic infection. Not all of these people live in developing countries. Although the healthy human body is capable of fighting off many parasites, a person with a compromised immunity may not be able to rid himself of parasitic infections. Once a parasite takes up residence in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, it will stay there, living off nutrients unless removed through a parasite cleanse. While there are many prescription medications for treating a variety of parasites, advocates of holistic and natural medicine recommend a parasite cleanse to remove parasites from the GI tract.

Significance

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Physicians, there are any number of ways that a person can get parasites. The most common way is through uncooked food, contaminated water and contact with pets. However, unsanitary living conditions increase the chance that a parasite will take up residence in the GI tract of a patient.

Symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, once parasites consume nutrients in your GI tract, they release harmful toxins. These toxins may create additional health problems including the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), abdominal pain, fever and chills. More serious cases can lead to death, as in the case of malaria. Some cases, such as mild trichinosis caused by roundworms, can have no symptoms and go undetected.

Treatment

Because there are many different types of parasites, parasitic cleanses contain many "natural" ingredients with claims that they target as many different parasites as possible. There are two methods to administer a parasite cleanse. The home remedy method requires extensive searching for all the ingredients and mixing it yourself. However, the less time-consuming but usually more expensive kit method--that is, purchasing a preassembled kit from a holistic or natural healing source--is also available.

Precautions

Most parasitic cleanses contain at least these three items: black walnut hulls (harvested green), cloves and wormwood. These are in powdered form and are ingested. Be careful never to take more than the recommended doses of each substance. Also drink plenty of water.

Warning

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no scientific evidence to support or refute the beneficial claims that proponents of cleansing make. However, there are some serious health concerns that are centered on cleansing, including an increased risk of dehydration. Another serious concern is that laxatives used in colon cleansing that contain sodium phosphate can cause a rise in electrolytes. This can can prove dangerous to patients with kidney or heart disease.

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