How to Treat Intestinal Parasites — Other treatments — Step To Health

How to Treat Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites can cause discomfort, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and itching. Can natural alternatives be used to help combat these parasites?

There are many different names for intestinal parasites. Known as amoebas, tapeworms, parasites, or worms, they’re a common problem of the gastro-intestinal tract. Would you like to know more about intestinal parasites? If so, keep reading!

Facts about intestinal parasites

The parasites that invade the intestines are grouped in colonies and survive at our expense. They compete for nutrients and food and can cause many problems.

Intestinal parasites can be microscopic or several inches long. The most notable parasites include protozoa or amoebas (which are transmitted through contaminated water), Cryptosporidium (common in people with a weakened immune system, as shown by a study conducted by the University of Mahasarakham), Giardia lamblia (transmitted through food, water, or fecal matter).

The types of worms which can be seen without a microscope include: Ancylostoma (which feed on blood), whipworm (according to this investigation by the University Hospital of Honduras, they affect the intestinal walls, causing anemia), giant roundworm (which can measure up to 30 meters in length and inhabit the small intestine), pinworms (which mainly target children) and tapeworms (caused by consuming contaminated meat, improperly cooked pork, or – according to a study by the Peruvian Cayetano Heredia University – other contaminated foods such as eggs).

What are the causes of intestinal parasites?

This problem can have a number of different causes:

  • A weakened immune system.
  • Poor food hygiene when preparing food.
  • Raw or contaminated food.
  • Not washing your hands before eating.
  • Eating a diet lacking in nutrients.
  • Walking barefoot in infected areas.

What types of symptoms are associated with intestinal parasites?

The following symptoms could by signs of a problem in the digestive system, as stated by The Hospital for Sick Children:

  • Anemia.
  • General paleness.
  • Headaches.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Fatigue.
  • Weight loss.
  • Severe cough.
  • Fever.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Vomiting.
  • Itching around the buttocks or anus.
  • Irritable or violent temper.

How to prevent intestinal parasites?

The following suggestions could help you to avoid intestinal parasites:

Have good personal hygiene

Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom, coming inside, touching money, before cooking, or after changing a diaper, among others. Without realizing it, we often infect ourselves with pathogens. According to this study by the National Institute of Pediatrics, good hygiene is fundamental for our health.

Eat a healthy diet

This way your immune system will be strong and you’ll avoid contracting parasites in any of the ways mentioned above. People often recommend eating more vitamin C and A, due to their ability to strengthen the immune system, as shown in this study by the Spanish Centers of Investigation in Nutrition and Health.

Boil water

If you’re not sure how safe your water is – if you’re travelling abroad, for example – it’s a good idea to boil it. If you can’t, drink bottled water and pay close attention to its color and taste.

Wash your food

Especially the items that you eat raw, like fruit and vegetables. Make sure your meat is thoroughly cooked before you eat it.

Natural remedies that may help treat intestinal parasites

If you suspect you might have intestinal parasites, it’s essential that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. As they reproduce rapidly, it’s important to treat them as soon as possible to expel them from your body and to keep them from increasing in size and number. You could follow a detox diet to expel them, but it must be carefully monitored by a specialist.

In these situations, people often advise drinking two liters of water with a few drops of lemon juice every day, and preparing parsley infusions (which should also be taken with two liters of water). However, there is no scientific evidence to support the supposed healing power of this remedy.

Any kind of diet should be prescribed by your GP. Otherwise, it could pose a risk to your health.

Home remedies that may help treat intestinal parasites

None of the following popular home remedies for treating intestinal parasites have been corroborated by any type of scientific study. We do not recommend trying them without first consulting with your doctor.

Recipe 1


  • ½ teaspoon thyme. According to a study carried out by the University of La Serena in Chile, it is believed it can be used as an antiparasitic treatment.
  • Half a cup of water.
  • ½ teaspoon gentian root.
  • ½ teaspoon bitter chamomile.


  • Boil the water with the herbs for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 more minutes.
  • Drink on an empty stomach. Repeat for 10 consecutive days (for children) or 20 days (in the case of adults).

Recipe 2


  • 1 handful of peppermint or mint. According to an investigation published in the Cuban Journal of Military Medicine, mint is an antiparasitic.
  • 1 liter of water.
  • 2 garlic cloves. This ingredient has antimicrobial properties, as stated in a review carried out by the University of Medical Science of Las Tunas, Cuba.
  • ¼ cup milk.


  • Boil the peppermint in the water and strain.
  • Mix with the garlic cloves and milk.
  • Let cool and drink immediately. This should be consumed before breakfast.

Recipe 3


  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds. According to a study by the West Bayamo Polyclinic in Cuba, pumpkin seeds are an antiparasitic.
  • ½ cup warm water (125 ml).
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  • Mix both ingredients and drink on an empty stomach.

Recipe 4


  • ¼ cup milk (62 ml)
  • 4 squash seeds. According to a study published in the Peruvian Journal of Gastroenterology, squash seeds can also act as an antiparasitic.


  • Grind the seeds and mix with the warm milk.
  • Drink before breakfast for one week.

Recipe 5


  • 2 cups (500 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces of dried wormwood. This can also act as an antiparasitic, according to the study by the University of La Serena mentioned earlier in this article.


  • Place the ingredients in a dark glass sealed container and soak for 10 days.
  • Once ready, take two teaspoons on an empty stomach every day.

These simple infusions are popular home remedies for treating intestinal parasites. However, it’s important to remember that consulting with your doctor is always the first step to treating any medical condition, and can help to prevent more serious complications.

Typical Goat External Parasites and How To Treat Them

Kenzi’s homesteading journey began with a flock of Buff Orpington in 2003. Her next venture was LaMancha goats, an area she dived so deep that she is known as the goat expert among her neighbors and friends. Along with goats, Kenzi and her family also enjoy raising ducks, sheep, cows, and herb and veggie gardens on their homestead.

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Many homesteaders know that goats bust the myth that they are pesty critters causing annoyance and trouble. However, while goats are endearing, loving, social creatures they can bring pests – pests both to you and them.

Ticks, lice, mites, and flies: each menace has the potential to wreak havoc on our goats’ health. Thankfully, goats are naturally clean animals, making them less susceptible to these external parasites than cattle and sheep.

Still, recognizing external parasites, knowing how to prevent them, and what to do if your goat does become infested, is an important part of goat husbandry. Let’s look at common goat external parasites and what we can do about them.

What Are Goat External Parasites?

Parasites are organisms that feed off another organism (called a host) without providing any benefit to the host. Goats can have both external and internal parasites. Regardless of their location, these pathogens steal blood, nutrients, and vitality from their host causing scores of ailments from anemia to neurological trauma, even death.

Common external parasites vary across the country, but the most common include:

General Prevention and Treatment

It’s true that each of the above parasites must have a customized system of attack in order for treatment to be effective. However, prevention is quickly becoming more important as regulations in the last few years have made it very difficult to find external parasite chemical treatments for goats. Due to these circumstances, I would do the following.


If your goat is infested with an external parasite, check in with your vet for a proper diagnose and treatment.

If your vet is not knowledgeable about goats or you’re confident in your ability to diagnose the goat, go to Jeffers Pet Supply online. Click the drop-down box for goat and type in the parasite you want to treat.

Routine Prevention

If your goats are healthy or have a minor case of external parasites, then build-up their health with fresh forage, clean water, quality hay, and natural minerals like kelp and sulfur.

If I notice one of my goats have lice, ticks, mites, etc., I separate them and treat them with an all-natural product that works with their own immune system and allows me to continue giving their milk or meat to my family.

With that background, let’s look at the two best across-the-board prevention methods.

1. Rotational Grazing

Rotational grazing is both the best and the least mentioned prevention method. It disrupts the lifecycle of parasites and is what they do in the wild as they continually move around while searching for grazing.

In addition, goats on rotational grazing are much healthier without chemicals, pour-on or insecticides.

2. Balanced Numbers-to-space Ratio

There is nothing wrong with big numbers if the herd is given a large area to roam. On the other hand, 5 goats crammed in a small dirt pen are prime targets for nose bot flies and lice, as much as a herd of 100. No one – not even goats – can maintain healthy stress levels when crowded together for more than a few hours at a time.

Stay ahead of the parasite game by moving your goats and keeping them as happy and stress-free as possible.

Now let’s learn how to identify and treat each parasite.

Common Goat External Parasites

1. How To Identify Lice

Probably the most common external parasite is lice. Though visible to the human eye, you’ll need a magnifying glass or microscope to identify the type of lice. Excessive hair loss, rubbing, scratching, or mangy, clumps of hair are the common symptoms of lice.

Lice are true Trojan horses; they find their way into a herd by hitchhiking on new arrivals. Quarantine all new goats or sheep for two months followed with a thorough examination before initiating them into the herd.

2. How To Treat Lice

– Shave The Hair

Yes, just like with people, any treatment will be much more effective if your goat’s coat doesn’t shield the lice. A sturdy pair of dog clippers should do the job.

– Sulfur

Sulfer is both a natural preventative and treatment for lice. In her book Natural Goat Care, Pat Colby states that a goat fed adequate amounts of sulfur will not have lice. If lice is currently a problem, shave the goat and sprinkle her with sulfur every two to three days until the lice are gone.

– Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth or DE cuts soft-body organisms like lice. Be careful not to inhale it and rub it in thoroughly and generously. Repeat every two-three days until the lice are gone.


1. How To Identify Ticks

Here in the Midwest, ticks are a health threat to anything that is warm and pumps blood. Ticks carry several diseases that are serious to both goats and humans.

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For those fortunate souls not familiar with ticks, these are somewhat oval pests smaller than a pencil eraser and in various shades of brown or grey.

Ticks climb onto the host when they need a blood meal to molt through their growth phases. On goats, ticks especially like to infest the underside of the legs, udder, ears, and horns or horn buds.

2. How To Treat Ticks

– Remove

To remove ticks, fill a jar or container with 70% rubbing alcohol and grab a pair of tweezers. Carefully remove the ticks and place them in the rubbing alcohol. Treat any infected bites with lavender essential oil.

– Herbs and Minerals

Feed your goats sulfur, garlic, and copper sulfate to discourage ticks from sucking the blood (these products taste disgusting to ticks). You can also shave them to the skin and spay them with vinegar spray, diluted as two-part water and one-part vinegar.

– Chickens and Guineas

Backyard poultry, especially Guinea Fowl, are the best tick prevention I’ve ever known. I can tell exactly where they have been by the almost total absence of ticks. Plus it’s an all-natural prevention method.


1. How To Identify Mites

Also known as mange, mites are tiny goat external parasites that feed on the skin or burrow into the skin. As they eat, a toxin is released that causes severe itching and a dull, matted coat. Ear mites are the most common mite species in goats, causing oozing, drainage from the ear canal.

2. How To Treat Mites

– Shave The Coat

As mentioned above for lice, shave the coat down to the skin so you can treat them better.

– Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil kills ear mites. Measure a tablespoon and inject into the infected ear with a syringe (with the needle removed).

– Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil in a spray bottle or applied directly to the affected area with a cotton ball works well.

Nasal Botflies

1. How To Identify Nasal Botflies

Nasal botflies have a disturbing lifecycle. Adult flies lay their larvae in the nostrils which in turn climb into the nasal passages.

Symptoms don’t show until this larvae almost reach the adult stage. Nasal drainage, excessive head shaking, and signs of distress such as teeth grating and loss of appetite are possible symptoms of bot fly infestation. If fully developed adult bot flies are in the nasal passage the goat will shake its head and snort into the ground.

2. How To Treat Nasal Botflies

Botflies are the one external parasite I would not use herbal treatment on. Natural remedies take too long and some suggest that common dewormers such as Ivomec do work. Consult a vet as the treatment would be different from deworming for internal goat parasites.

There are natural preventatives that help keep flies away. Among supporting good stock health, hang up fly strips in your goats’ housing and encourage natural fly predators such as bats and wasps.


1. How to Identify Fleas

Yes, goats get fleas too just like one of your dogs or cats. Similar to our pet companions, fleas are tiny, flat, black or brown parasites well-known for their jumping abilities.

Also, a female flea can lay up to 25 eggs a day, so timely treatment is of the essence.

2. How to Treat Fleas

Shave the coat

Fleas travel right next to the skin. Shaving the coat allows you to apply treatment right in the fleas’ path.

Natural Insecticide

Diatomaceous Earth Insecticide claims to be a natural insecticide for fleas. It only kills the adults, so it must be reapplied until all the eggs have reached the adult stage and are gone.

Clean The Barn

Fleas love to hide. All cloth goods, hay, and straw must be disposed of and crevices and crannies swept and cleaned to rid your goat’s living area of fleas and their eggs.


We’ve seen how these nasties are pests to our goat friends, but they are to us as well. Not only do external parasites cause stress, but many of them are also transmittable to humans. Yuck!

What’re more, external parasites lower our goats’ immune system until they simply can’t defend themselves any longer. Best case scenario the goats are miserable and their milk, meat, and fiber production fall. Worst case scenario…well, we don’t want to talk about the worst case.

External parasites are a concern but good health will almost eliminate all of them. All efforts spent to maintain excellent herd health will be your best ally against a multitude of parasites.

What’s Eating You? Pictures of Parasites


Furniture, wallpaper, mattresses, and clutter provide nesting spots for these small, flat insects. They like to live near people or pets, and they come out while you’re asleep to feed on your blood. Bedbugs don’t cause disease, but you might have an allergic reaction to their bite. If you scratch too much, the bitten area could get infected. Use antiseptic creams or lotions, or take an antihistamine, to ease the itch.

These insects live on your blood. There are three types: head, body, and pubic. Only body lice spread diseases. Since they crawl, you can get lice through close contact with someone. They lay eggs on you, and the itching starts when they hatch. You can treat them with over-the-counter and prescription medications and shampoos.


A mite that digs into your body and lays eggs causes this condition. You get it from skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Symptoms include itching at night, a pimply rash, sores, and crusty patches. You can treat it with a prescription medicine that kills the mites called scabicide.

Pork Tapeworms

You can’t get these bugs from eating pork, unless it’s raw or undercooked. Both people and pigs carry them, but they’re spread when you swallow the eggs from tainted food and water. You can also get them if you come in contact with the feces of someone who has them. They infect the intestines and brain, which can lead to a disease that causes headaches and seizures, called cysticercosis. Some people get better without treatment. Others need medication or surgery.

Brain-Eating Amoeba

People in the U.S. don’t have to worry as much about this parasite as people in Southeast Asia do. The bug, also known as N. fowleri, lives in warm freshwater, and it enters the body through the nose. It causes a condition that destroys brain tissue called primary amebic meningoencephalitis. Symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting, confusion, stiff neck, seizures, and loss of balance. Only experimental treatments are available now, so the survival rate is low.

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Most of these bugs infect your intestines. But the one that causes trichinosis also affects your muscles.

Common roundworm diseases and their symptoms include:

• Ascariasis — belly pain
• Hookworm — blood loss
• Pinworm — anal itching
• Trichinosis — pain, fever, face swelling, pink eye, rash
• Whipworm — mucus, water and blood in stool, rectal prolapse (when part or all of the rectum slides out of place)

Your doctor may prescribe drugs to treat these infections.


If you’ve ever been camping and you came down with diarrhea, gas, stomach cramps, bloating, and nausea, you’ve likely caught this bug. You get it through food or drinking water, or from contact with the feces of an infected person or animal. The illness can be treated with prescription drugs.

T. cruzi

This parasite causes Chagas disease, which can be life-threatening. People get infected  from contact with the bug’s feces. Symptoms show up quickly as fever, fatigue, aches, headache, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and swollen eyelids. Later, it can lead to heart and intestine problems. Doctors treat the disease and kill the parasite with medication.


This bug’s also called «crypto,» and it affects your intestines. It’s spread by contact with the stool of an infected person or animal. People tend to catch it from pool water, especially kids. The diarrhea it causes can last a long time, but it usually goes away on its own without treatment.

P. Falciparum

Some mosquitoes carry this parasite, which causes malaria. The disease kills more people than any other of its kind. It feels like the flu, and it causes body chills, fever, and sometimes nausea or vomiting. A doctor has to look at someone’s blood under a microscope to tell if they have it. Early treatment is best. Certain prescription drugs can cure most types.

T. Vaginalis

This parasite causes a sexually transmitted disease called trichomoniasis, the most common curable STD. Most infected people don’t have any symptoms, but some may notice itching, burning, or irritation of their penis or vagina. It’s treated with antibiotics.

D. Fragilis

Doctors aren’t sure how you get this parasite, which infects your large intestine. Some people have stomach pain and diarrhea, but others have no symptoms. It’s common in all parts of the world. Your doctor can prescribe medicine to help you get rid of it.


This bug makes its home in meat, water, and infected cat feces. It causes an illness called toxoplasmosis, which can feel like the flu. Pregnant women and people with weak immune systems can have serious symptoms, like cysts in the muscles, brain, and eyes. Usually it isn’t treated, but a doctor can prescribe medication for a severe infection.

Guinea Worm

This roundworm’s days of spreading disease are nearly done, thanks to health groups that teach people how to avoid getting infected. People catch the bug by drinking water from ponds infected with larvae. The worms mate and grow in the stomach, then burst out through a blister on the skin. Symptoms can include fever, swelling, and pain near the blister, but it usually takes a year after infection for warning signs to show up. There’s no treatment.

Good-Guy Parasites?

Parasites do a whole lot of bad, but some researchers are trying to find out if they might be used for good, too. Studies of “worm therapy,” in which you swallow parasite eggs to treat disease, show it helps relieve symptoms of colitis, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, and asthma. It’s still experimental in the U.S.

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Centers for Diseases Control: “Bed Bugs FAQ,” “Parasites – Lice,” “Definition of Ringworm,” “Fungal nail infections,” “Malaria — FAQs,” “About Parasites,” “Taeniasis,” “Parasites — Cysticercosis Treatment,” “Parasites — Cysticercosis,” “Parasites — Giardia,” “Parasites — Giardia FAQs,” “Trichomoniasis Fact Sheet,” “Cryptosporidium Infection — General Public,” “Dientamoeba fragilis FAQs,” “Parasites — Scabies,” “Scabies — FAQs,” “Naegleria fowleri — Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM),” “Parasites — Toxoplasmosis Biology,” ““Parasites — Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma infection),” “Parasites — American Trypanosomiasis (also known as Chagas Disease),” “Parasites — Dracunculiasis (also known as Guinea Worm Disease).”В

Studdiford, J., American Family Physician, 2012.В

Badiaga, S., Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 2012.В

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Tinea Infections (Ringworm).”В

California Department of Public Health: “Cysticercosis.”В

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “Parasitic Roundworm Disease,” “Ascariasis,” “Hookworm Disease,” “Pinworm Infection,” “Strongyloidiasis,” “Trichinosis,” “Whipworm Disease FAQs.”В

American Family Physician: “Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Giardiasis.”В

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on March 01, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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