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Ayurvedic Parasitic Protocols

In India, where parasites are endemic, it is believed that people with weaker digestions are more prone to parasitic infections. Intestinal parasites thrive on undigested food. Eventually, the host suffers from tissue weakness and degeneration. Not surprisingly, Ayurveda uses hot spices both to stimulate digestion and destroy parasites. Use of dairy products during parasite cleases is generally discouraged except in some circumstances where curd is mixed with powdered herbs.

Hot spices are irritating to the membranes of parasites and thus make good parasiticides, but these are usually combined with carminatives to relieve gas and bitter herbs to reduce toxicity since some parasites release toxins into the host.

Spices will, of course, stimulate peristalsis. They can also potentially aggravate the tendency towards diarrhea, but diarrhea is one way the body uses to rid itself of parasites. Black pepper and asafoetida (an intense smelling spice that somewhat resembles garlic though it comes from resin rather than a bulb) are often used to increase what Ayurveda terms digestive fire. Cayenne, though not native to India, is also used. Then, as with the Chinese, Ayurveda employs bitter herbs, but not so much to stimulate the flow of bile as to detoxify the body of poisons. Parasites dump ammonia gas into the body. This disturbs many physiological processes as well as pH.


Good Ayurvedic preparations address several issues simultaneously: the need to destroy the parasites, intestinal peristalsis and flora, and blood and liver detoxification.

The cornerstone of all treatments is vidanga, Embelia ribes, considered especially effective against tape worms. Some sources indicate that vidanga is also effective with pinworms and round worms.

Vidanga, being pungent, raises pitta, or fire. As is understood by those conversant with energetic medicine, an herb that raises fire will be decongesting, so vidanga reduces kapha. Because it is also carminative, it also reduces vata. It is usually combined with ginger and applied to the skin for treatment of ring worm and taken internally for other kinds of parasitic infections. Most consider that it is safe to use for at least three months, but anything that raises fire will eventually reduce fertility so when no longer needed, this herb should be discontinued by those wishing to have children. Fertility returns to normal when suspending use of the herb.

Banyan Botanicals makes a formula based on vidanga that contains the highly bitter neem leaf, the stinky asafoetida, hot black pepper and pippali, carminative spices, and the three fruits found in the famous triphala formula that is used to rejuvenate the colon. It also contains kutaja bark, Ayurveda's chief anti-dysentery herb that is also used to detoxify the gastrointestinal tract.


Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2002, 2011

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*The material provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The author is not a medical doctor. The statements made represent the author's personal opinions and are not intended to replace the services of health care professionals. The content and products discussed have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this page and the products available on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.