We tell you which are the most common parasitic infections, what you can do to prevent them and the medicinal plants most used in their treatment

Intestinal parasites live inside us. They feed at our expense, taking advantage of part of the nutrients we eat. If our immune system is strong, the parasite load will be low, but if the quantity is sufficient, they will become pathogenic: they will cause diarrhea, bloating, itching, digestive discomfort, weight loss...

Parasitic diseases are becoming more and more relevant, related above all to contaminated or poorly cooked food. We travel more and more, making long trips outside our borders, also people with chronic or immunosuppressed diseases. Eating habits and migratory movements have a lot to do with one fact: 10% of infectious diarrheas in our country are caused by intestinal parasites.

The most common parasitic infections are caused by:

  • Giarina lamblia, a protozoan associated with the consumption of contaminated water or infected raw meat, as well as through contact with surfaces contaminated with animal or human feces. Causes giardiasis.
  • Enterobius vermicularis, responsible for the so-called oxyuriasis. It is the parasite that we popularly know as worms, very common in children, but that can infect also adults.
  • Taenia saginata y solium, a flatworm from beef and pork, that causes taeniasis.
  • Ascaris lumbricoides, a type of roundworm that causes ascariasis and is spread through soil infected by its eggs.

In conventional medicine, the treatment of these infections is based on the use of anthelmintic drugs with different mechanisms of action. However, the appearance of resistance to these drugs, their secondary effects, in some cases, and the need to maintain treatment for long periods of time, have led to research aimed at finding new molecules active against these parasites. In this sense, medicinal plants are a good source of active compounds such as terpenes, saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids or phenols, which can be a good option for the treatment of this type of infections.

THYME Thymus vulgaris L.

Popularly known as a stimulant of our defenses, also useful in respiratory disorders, this aromatic plant has antimicrobial activity. This is due to thymol and carvacrol, the two main components of the essential oil. Various studies have shown that it acts by preventing the hatching of eggs and the movement of larvae and worms.

GARLIC Allium sativum L.

In traditional Chinese medicine, garlic is used in alcoholic extracts to combat intestinal worms. Different studies have confirmed this function of garlic against the parasites that cause giardiasis, leishmaniasis or filariasis.

SPEARMINT Mentha spicata L.

Among the many properties of spearmint, well known for its use to combat indigestion and to treat respiratory disorders, is also anthelmintic. In many parts of the world it is traditionally used to help expel intestinal worms.

COMMON PURSLANE Portulaca oleracea L.

In the leaves of this plant, very abundant in nature and considered part of the underbrush, different chemical compounds with anthelmintic action have been identified. Different in vitro studies have compared its activity with that of certain drugs, confirming that it can paralyze and kill various types of worms.


It does not have a direct action on the motility or the survival of the parasites, but it will help to eliminate the worms. Magnesium carbonate works in our body as a mild laxative, drawing water into the intestine and increasing the volume of stool.

How can I prevent intestinal parasites?

By applying some basic measures, we can prevent intestinal parasite infections:

  • Wash your hands before and after eating and preparing food.
  • Do not consume unsafe water, non-potable or from springs.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well before consumption.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked meat and fish.
  • When traveling to developing countries, drink bottled water.
  • When there is a case in the family, extreme cleanliness of hands and household clothing.
  • Probiotics help maintain the balance of the gut microbiota.
Tags #tips #health #plants