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 seasons.
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 headache.
Roundworms may give rise to inflammation of the intestine and lungs, nausea, vomiting, loss of weight, fever, nervousness and irritability. Pinworms and thread worms may bring on intense itching in the area around the rectum.
Threadworms may cause periodic bouts of diarrhoea alternating with constipation, loss of weight, cough and fever. Hookworms may give rise to anaemia and nutritional disorders. The presence of giardia may result in pain in the calves and weakness in the legs.
The eggs of these parasites are introduced into the human system through the medium of food or water, especially undercooked meat. Roundworms may result from dirty fingers and food.
Hookworms enter the human body through the skin from infected water. The tapeworms are transmitted into the body through undercooked flesh foods or foods contaminated by dogs.
The real cause of intestinal worms, however, is wrong feeding. 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 intestinal tract clogged with morbid matter and systemic refuse due to wrong feeding habits.
The treatment for intestinal worms should begin with diet. The patient should be kept on an exclusive diet of fresh fruits for five to seven 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, refined foods and all flesh foods. This dietary should be continued till the parasites are completely eliminated.
In some cases, depending on the progress being made, the all-fruit diet may have to be repeated at regular intervals. In obstinate cases the patient should resort to short fasts on raw fruit and vegetable juices. This fast has to be of a fairly long duration in case of tapeworms. It would be advisable to carry on this fast treatment under the supervision of a naturopath, or better still, in a nature cure hospital. During the all-fruit diet or fasting period, the bowels should be cleansed daily with the warm water enema.
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 the freshly ground coconut should be taken at breakfast followed by a dose of castor oil after three hours. The process may be repeated till the cure is complete.
Garlic has been used for expelling intestinal worms from ancient times by the Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Hindus and Babylonians. It is also used by modern biological practitioners for this purpose. Both fresh garlic and its oil are effective. An ancient method of its medication was to place a couple of cloves of fresh garlic in its shoe. As the person walks, it is crushed and the worm-killing garlic oil is absorbed by the skin and carried by blood into the intestines as it possesses the powerful penetrative force. This method is worth a trial by those who do not like the taste of garlic and cannot eat it.
The carrot (gajar) is valuable in the elimination of threadworms from children as it is offensive to all parasites. A small cup of grated carrot taken every morning, with no other food added to the meal, can clear these worms quickly.
The digestive enzyme papain in the milk juice of the unripe papaya (papita) is a powerful anthelmintic for destroying roundworms. A tablespoon of fresh juice and 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 60 ml. of castor oil mixed in 250 – 375 ml. of lukewarm milk. This treatment should be repeated for two days, if necessary. For children of 7 to 10 years, 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 alkaloid Carpaine found in the leaves has also the power to destroy or expel intestinal worms. They are given with honey.
The bark, both of the root and the stems of pomegranate (anar) tree, is well known for its anthelmintic properties of destroying parasitic worms. The root-bark is, however, preferred as it contains greater quantity of the alkaloid punicine than the stem-bark. This alkaloid is highly toxic to tapeworms. Ninety to 180 ml. of the cold decoction of bark, preferably fresh bark, should be given 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 used for expelling tapeworms.
The seeds of the ripe pumpkin (kumra) are useful in intestinal worms, especially tapeworms. An infusion, prepared from the seeds after they are peeled and crushed, will kill parasites and help in expelling the tapeworm. 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 this pumpkin seed infusion should be taken