Parasitic protozoa have evolved complex, highly specialized life cycles enabling them to enter and live in their hosts, which include vertebrates, invertebrates, and even plants. A protozoan has a single cell which, unlike a bacterium, includes a distinct nucleus enclosed by a membrane and containing DNA.
Intestinal worms and other parasites are all too easy to contract. Many people have the misconception that one must go traveling in a third world country to encounter these organisms, but there are plentiful sources of worms in our own region, especially in the food supply.
Pinworms are the most common infectious worm in the USA, with an estimated 40 million cases a year. Humans are the only carriers of this parasite, which tend to spread in close living quarters and are common among children between 5 and 10 years old. These parasites do not generally pose a serious health risk but rather are a nuisance. The chief symptom is an itchy rectal-anal area, especially at night when the worms crawl out of the intestine to deposit their eggs.
Intestinal tapeworm infections are caused by ingesting tapeworm larvae, which then develop into adult tapeworms inside the host’s intestines. Contamination with tapeworm can occur through eating undercooked food (fish, beef, or pork) or from coming into contact with infected animal’s feces through other channels such as soil on vegetables. Symptoms of tapeworm infection can include abdominal pains, nausea, appetite loss, and weight loss (from deriving insufficient nutrition from food). Other more serious symptoms can include blockages, cystic lumps causing organ malfunction, fevers, seizures, or other neurological effects.
Hookworm infection from a round worm is rare in Canada but infection is common in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Infection can occur from coming into contact with soil or feces that contains their eggs or larvae. Symptoms can include a rash (if the worms penetrate the skin), coughing (if the worms invade the lungs), and, ultimately, iron deficiency anemia when there is a bad infection in the host’s intestines.
Some general symptoms of intestinal worms include:
• Allergies, many allergies in humans are caused by worm infections. Tissue becomes inflamed when white blood cells are increased that may result in skin rashes, food allergies or sensitivities.
• Anemia, worms in large numbers leach nutrients from the body.
• Constipation, some worms can obstruct certain organs like the colon, liver and bile ducts.
• Diarrhea, can be nature’s way of removing toxins.
• Fatigue, includes tiredness, flu-like symptoms apathy, depression and lack of concentration.
• Gas and stomach bloating.
• Immune dysfunction, worms in humans can depress immunity.
• Nervousness, parasitic waste products can irritate the nervous system.
Homeopathic remedies can be helpful in the treatment of parasitic infections. Some of these remedies include:
Cina – produces a perfect picture of the wormy child. The child is cross, irritable and sleep is restless with crying out. He or she picks or bores at the nose with the finger, there can be canine hunger. Cina and the remedy Cicuta are often indicated in convulsions from worms. Good for roundworms.
Caladium – can be useful when worms travel over the perineum and get into the vagina in little girls.
Teucrium – when there is much irritation caused in the rectum. Good for pinworms.
Spigelia – for worms when the naval area is the most painful part and stool consist of mucus and worms.
Sabadilla – treats worm symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and pain in the abdomen. Good for tapeworms.
Stannum – is known to stupefy worms so that they are easily dislodged by purgatives. Abdominal pain is relieved by pressure to the abdomen.
From a homeopathic perspective, if there is a susceptibility to parasite infection (someone who is prone to re-infection), it is indicative of a disordered condition in the body that needs constitutional treatment to address the susceptibility. There is no use merely expelling the parasites while the body remains favorable for the development and support of the parasites.
Selecting the best constitutional remedy takes into account the individual symptoms of the person including physical, emotional and mental symptoms. In some cases the homeopathic remedy Sulphur followed by the remedy Calcarea Carbonica can eradicate the predisposition to parasitic infection.