There are three main classes of parasites that can cause disease in humans: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Ectoparasites include any blood-sucking arthropods such as mosquitoes and organisms such as ticks, fleas, lice, and mites. This post will not cover ectoparasites specifically. Instead, it will focus primarily on protozoa and helminths.
There about 300 species of helminth worms and over 70 species of protozoa that cause disease in humans – THAT WE KNOW OF. However, more are found as time goes by. Furthermore, many of these parasites are considered “neglected” in developed countries and are largely forgotten about. However, this does not mean that people in developed countries are not impacted. This is especially true when we consider how interconnected the world has become in recent years. Furthermore, it is becoming more suspected that chronic diseases may be associated with parasitic infections.
This page is a work in progress but it provides a decent list of parasite treatment options. Links will be provided if I feel as though the research will be difficult to find or is necessary. I will bolden at least one option in each heading. These will be the ones that I believe hold the most promise in each class. However, please understand that this is a personal opinion – not a recommendation.
Be advised that this is neither a comprehensive list nor a complete list. Instead, these are just ideas to consider and information for you to research further. This page will be updated as time allows and as information is found.
Remember that this is a list of possible anti-parasitic solutions as it is recognized that a solution for one problem may not be a solution for another. There is no universal cure. Please remember that the identification of your parasite is crucial to finding the appropriate treatment. Furthermore, treating without identifying the parasite can be dangerous. Contact your healthcare provider to see if any of these are possible solutions for you. Be advised that many of the “remedies” listed will be dose/weight dependent and while listed as a potential treatment for one thing, it may or may not be used as a treatment for something else. Each listing will not provide its full scope of use or its limitations.
This should go without saying… but don’t ever take something if you have a known allergy to it.
Before taking any drug or remedy, educate yourself on any potential side effects and talk to your doctor.
NOTE: Anthelminthic drugs may have varying degrees of effectiveness against different helminths. Additionally, Anthelminthic drugs are usually not antiprotozoal drugs.
- Albendazole – Currently a front-line choice for worms (helminths). A triple dose of albendazole (3×400 mg over 3 consecutive days) works well but may need to be taken for 5–7 days in some cases with a repeat course 2 to 3 weeks later. (Or per your doctor’s orders)
- Mebendazole is not a drug I am going to endorse here because of its low cure rates. However, it is sometimes prescribed. If you choose to take this, DO NOT (under any circumstance) combine this with metronidazole (Flagyl). Doing so runs the risk of causing Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis.
- Nitazoxanide (Alinia, Nitaxide) is a broad-spectrum antiparasitic used to treat various helminthic and protozoal infections.
- Piperazine (also Piperazine hydrate and piperazine) kills adult roundworms.
- Diethylcarbamazine – a derivative of piperazine, is used to treat some types of filariasis – Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, tropical pulmonary eosinophilia, and loiasis.
- Niclosamide – effective against tapeworms
- Ivermectin – effective against most common intestinal worms (except tapeworms)
- Thiabendazole – effective against roundworms, hookworms
- Triclabendazole – effective against liver flukes
- Octadepsipeptides (eg: Emodepside) – effective against a variety of gastrointestinal helminths
Antibiotic / Antiprotozoal Drugs
- Albendazole – has activity against some protozoan infections and can work synergistically with metronidazole. Also good for most microsporidial species, including Encephalitozoon infections.
- Atovaquone – treats Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and may treat Toxoplasmosis
- Bactrim – is a combination of trimethoprim and sulphamethoxazole, is an antibiotic used to treat Pneumocystis pneumonia, or PCP, a type of lung infection caused by the protozoan parasite Pneumocystis carinii. Bactrim also has some activity against malaria, which is also caused by a parasite.
- Chloroquine – usually an antimalarial
- Doxycycline – effective against Mansonella perstans. This is achieved by killing the bacteria (called wolbachia) inside of the parasite.
- Ivermectin – has been shown to be effective against common protozoal infections such as giardiasis and cryptsporidiosis and may show promise for others. 1, 2
- Mefloquine – usually an antimalarial
- Metronidazole (Flagyl) – originally developed for its use as an antitrichomonal agent, this drug has since gained broad use as an antiamebic, antiprotozoal and antibacterial agent. DO NOT (under any circumstance) combine this with mebendazole. Doing so runs the risk of causing Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis.
- Nifuratel – usually an antimalarial
- Proguanil with atovaquone (see above) – usually an antimalarial
- Pyrimethamine – Used together with sulfadiazine, it is the treatment of choice for toxoplasmosis.
- Sulfadiazine – Used together with pyrimethamine, it is the treatment of choice for toxoplasmosis.
Antidepressants / Antipsychotics
Sertraline, Paroxetine, and Chlorpromazine – can be re-purposed as an anthelmintic. These can all kill Caenorhabditis elegans at multiple life stages. These drugs also decrease motility of adult Trichuris muris whipworms, prevent hatching and development of Ancylostoma caninum hookworms and kill Schistosoma mansoni flatworms. LEARN MORE
Supplements & Herbs
Note #1 – on Colloidal Silver. I have been asked repeatedly about Colloidal silver for these purposes. While I am a believer in colloidal silver for certain applications, colloidal silver has been shown to provide zero resolution in regard to most (if any) internal parasites.
Note #2 – on herbal remedies. I am not going to detail out what each herb can or cannot do. Some herbs can work for more than one thing. I’m merely listing what they are generally known for as far as parasites go.
- Alpinia galangal – alcoholic extracts have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Andrographis – alcoholic extracts have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Arecoline – traditional anthelminthic.
- Artemisinin – Antiprotozoal agent. This is a derivative of sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua – shown below) and some studies show that it can treat highly drug-resistant strains of malaria and has even been known to treat schistosomiasis. Effective dosage vary but studies suggest that oral dosages of 500-1000 mg (10-20 mg/kg) on the first day, followed by 500 mg daily for 4 days is ideal – ideally with a fatty meal. More Info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
- Asteraceae (Daisy Family) – specifically, plants such as Bidens pilosa, Blumea lacera, Caesulia axillaris, Centipeda minima and Sphaeranthus indicus have demonstrated abilities in regard to their antiparasitic properties. Additionally, Mikania micrantha, and Aristeguietia glutinosa Lam. have shown in vivo anti-T. cruzi action. More Info: 1, 2
- Berberine HCL – Antiprotozoal and anthelmintic agent. Clinical uses of berberine include bacterial diarrhea, intestinal parasite infections, and ocular trachoma infections. It has also been used as an antimalarial. Usually taken as 1g three times a day. More Info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
- Bitter cumin (Centratherum anthelminticum) – tradition anthelminthic.
- Isomyristicin and Bergapten from the Bhutanese medicinal plants, Corydalis crispa, and Pleurospermum amabile. In studies, these worked where praziquantel did not.
- Beta-Sitosterol (as beta-sitosterol-D-glucoside) has demonstrated some anthelminthic effects – specifically against the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
- Black cumin (nigella sativa) – has been used as an anthelminthic since ancient times but this is likely going to be dose and parasite dependent. Some report good things and others do not.
- Black Walnut Hulls (Juglans nigra) – has been reported to exhibit antiparasitic effects. Scientific data in support of these claims are scanty however, according to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, black walnut is effective against ringworm, tapeworm, pin or threadworm, and other parasites of the intestine. The mechanism is believed to be a combination of “juglone” (it’s active compound) and oxygenation of the blood.
- Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) – may be effective against some intestinal parasites.
- Chaparral (Larrea Tridentata) – also called Creosote, Greasewood, and Gobernadora – NDGA (Nordihydroguaiaretic acid), the main metabolite of chaparral, has been shown to exhibit potent anti-parasitic activity against Giardia lamblia and the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. Chaparral is the only naturally abundant source of NDGA known so far. I have not been able to find a refined source of NDGA yet but the herb itself can be found online. If you try Chaparral, know that it is a liver toxin at high doses. More Info: 1, 2, 3
- Cinnamomum verum – also known “true cinnamon” – alcoholic extracts of the bark may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Citrus decumana – alcoholic extracts may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Elecampane – (Inula helenium, also known as alant, aster helenium, aster officinalis, aunée, aunée Officinale, elfdock, elfwort, enule campagne, grande aunée, helenio, helenium grandiflorum, horse-elder, horseheal, horse-heal, Indian elecampane, inule aulnée, inule aunée, inule hélénie, Œil-de-cheval, scabwort, velvet dock, wild sunflower and yellow starwort.) According to WebMD, this herb can be used to kill intestinal worms, including hookworms and whipworms.
- Fomitopsis betulina – traditional medicine used for whipworm (Trichuris trichiura).
- Graviola (Annona muricata) – also known as Soursop – Many studies on the antiparasitic activity of the extracts of A.muricata have been conducted. Ethanolic extracts were found to be effective against leishmania and others. While definitely not the strongest of the ones I have researched, it comes with several added benefits such as its potential to fight certain cancers. More Info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
- Gotu Kola (centella asiatica/thankuni/centella/asiatic pennywort ) – is used to treat a variety of infections. It has been reported to treat bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections such as urinary tract infection (UTI), shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis. It supposedly works due to its high levels of sitosterol and tannin content. Fresh juice of thankuni showed high antiprotozoal activity (75%) at 20% concentration in in-vivo conditions. Alcoholic extracts demonstrate both adulticidal and larvicidal activity. NOTE: Gotu kola can interact with sedative medications, including clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), and zolpidem (Ambien). To be safe, ask your doctor before taking gotu kola. More Info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
- Hop Extract (Humulus lupulus) – it is believed that there are several components (such as xanthohumol) that lend well to its antiprotozoal capability. This is especially true against parasites such as malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) and similar species. More Info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
- Hydnocarpus wightiana – alcoholic extracts may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Ipecac (syrup) – known to kill several types of parasite, particularly amoebae, but also pinworms and tapeworms though the occurrence of side effects is rather high.
- Kaempferia galangal – alcoholic extracts of rhizomes may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Lavender – extracts and essence demonstrate activity against Trichomonas vaginalis (according to the Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences) as well as anti-Giardia lamblia and anti-leishmania activity (probably more). More Info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
- Lemon Balm – Antiprotozoal agent
- Lippia nodiflora – alcoholic extracts may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Morinda citrifolia – alcoholic extracts of the leaf may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – is good for roundworms, pinworms, and tapeworms.
- Myrtle – extracts, and essence are effective against Trichomonas vaginalis (according to the Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences).
- Neem (Azadirachta indica) – a simple decoction of Neem leaves can kill all parasites present in the intestines and in some cases, may be better than standard chemotherapy with albendazole or mebendazole.
- Olive leaf extract (Olea europaea) – may be good against flatworms, hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms.
- Oregano Oil #1 (Origanum vulgare) – for malaria, Coccidium of Eimeria tenella, Coccidium of Eimeria sp – likely effective against protozoan parasites, roundworm larvae, and might be effective against tapeworms. One study demonstrated that over half of the adults in the study with intestinal parasites that were treated with 600 mg of oregano oil daily for six weeks experienced total eradication of their parasites. An in vitro study found wild oregano oil (specifically) to be more effective than Tinidazole in some cases. More Info: 1, 2
- Oregano Oil #2 (Origanum compactum) – for Plasmodium falciparum and Schistosoma haematobium. Additional Info
- Pollia serzogonian – alcoholic extracts of rhizomes may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Pomegranate Extract (Punica granatum L.) – punicine is the chemical responsible for its strong anthelminthic effect (and some protozoa) and this is used as traditional remedies to treat roundworms, pinworms, and tapeworms. Ethanolic stem bark extract of pomegranate exhibited antischistosomal activities both in vitro and in vivo. For protozoa, this action likely has something to do with the fact that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are toxic to protozoa. Additionally, pomegranate peel extract has also proved valuable in the prevention and treatment of Giardia lamblia infections. On this one though, you’ll likely want seed or bark extract. More Info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
- Propolis – Potential antiprotozoal agent
- Pumpkin Seeds / Oil (Cucurbita)- Pumpkin seeds contain an antiparasitic compound called curcurbitacin and they were used traditionally as a remedy for tapeworms, roundworms and specifically, schistosomiasis. Likely dose/weight-dependent and the dosage is usually high – upwards of 80 gm thrice daily for one month for adults (which will likely cause some gastro side effects). While likely not a cure by itself, consuming significant amounts of either seed or oil, and over several months, will likely have a significant impact on many types of parasites. My reading suggests combination therapies will reduce dosage and time. More Info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
- Quebracho extract has been shown to effectively reduce worm burdens in sheep.
- Sage (Salvia) – some Salvia species have been used in traditional medicine to treat diseases caused by protozoan parasites. Studies have confirmed their potential. Alcoholic extracts appear to be the best.
- Salvia hydrangea is a related species and may also be a powerful antiprotozoal.
- St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) – alcoholic extracts demonstrate antimalarial activity.
- Tagar Root (Valeriana wallichii root) – studies have shown this to be a prospective antileishmanial agent.
- Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) – also a part of the Asteraceae family (see above) – is highly toxic to internal parasites. As a tea, it has been prescribed by herbalists to expel worms and studies suggest that it is a solid weapon against adult Schistosoma mansoni worms. Tansy is also an effective insecticide and is highly toxic to arthropods. However, it should be used with caution and kept away from children. Ethanol extract have amoebicidal action against the trophozoites ( the activated, feeding stage in the life cycle of certain protozoa). More Info: 1, 2
- Tephrosia purpurea – alcoholic extracts may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Thymol – likely effective against hookworms. Keep away from children.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – extracts have some potential effect on some protozoa.
- Wood betony (Stachys officinalis) – as a tea may kill helminths.
- Wormseed (Dysphania ambrosioides) – traditional herbal remedy used in the tropics for expelling roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Powdered herb alone may not work.
- Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) – traditional anthelminthic. An animal study found that treating with the whole plant more adequately treated a resistant strain of malaria parasite than artemisinin, and it prevented the development of resistance which has recently started to become a problem. More Info: 1, 2
- Zingiber zerumbet – alcoholic extracts may have anthelmintic activity against the human roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides.
Antiparasitic Homeopathic Remedies
- Cuprum oxydatum nigrum
- Santoninum – Learn More
- Teucrium marum
- Mountain Arnica (Arnica montana) – has seen positive results in the topical treatment of cutaneous Leishmaniasis. It MIGHT show benefit in homeopathic remedies but this has not been confirmed.
Chinese Herbal Medicines
- Bing Lang (Semen arecae). Used against roundworms and flukes.
- Chuan Lian Gen Pi (Cortex meliae radicis). Used against roundworms.
- Da Huang (Radix et rhizoma rhei). Used in combination remedies to treat flukes.
- Guan Zhong (Rhizoma dryopteris crassirhizomae). Used in combination remedies to treat hookworms.
- Ku Lian Gen Pi (Cortex meliae radicis). Used to treat pinworms, and in combination remedies to treat hookworms.
- Lei Wan (Sclerotium omphaliae). Used specifically to treat hookworms.
- Qian Niu Zi (Semen pharbitidis). Used in combination remedies to treat flukes.
- Qu Hui Wan (Dispel Roundworms Pill). Used against roundworms.
- Shi Jun Zi (Fructus quisqualis). Used against pinworms.
- Tu Jing Jie (Herba chenopodii ambrosioidis). Used in combination remedies to treat hookworms.
- Wu Mei Wan (Mume Pill). A 10-herb classical formula used to treat intestinal parasite infections, including roundworms.
- Zi Su Ye (Folium perillae). Used in combination remedies to treat hookworms.
- Clove (Syzygium aromaticum/Eugenia caryophyllus) – Clove oil contains eugenol and is traditionally used as an antiparasitic.
- Vidanga (Embelia ribes) – taken in higher doses, this can be effective for quite a few parasites. In studies, alcoholic extracts of the seeds showed superior anthelmintic activity against roundworms (in vitro) when compared to levamisole and ivermectin. The seed oil was found to be more potent than piperazine citrate in some cases.
- Gymnema sylvestre (cowplant, cowplant, gurmari, gurmarbooti, gurmar, periploca of the woods, meshasringa, Bedki cha pala and miracle fruit)
- Long pepper (Piper longum)
If you find a mistake or know of something that should be added, please let us know.