Understanding Parasites: Western Medicines Role in Severe Parasitic Infection

October 23, 2023 6 mins to read

Parasites are everywhere! The reality is everyone is at risk of a parasitic infection. Whether it’s due to travel, changes in food sources, or merely heightened awareness, it’s essential to understand parasites, their impact on our health, and the necessity for appropriate care. Although parasites are less common in developed countries, due to things like better food handling laws and water treatment, they are still a fact of life and certain foods such as pork and sushi can put you more at risk of infection. In this article I go over parasites, and as someone who is as anti-big pharma as you can get….why western medicines anti-parasitic meds like Ivermectin, have their place when it comes to severe parasitic infection e.g. where parasites can enter brain tissue or affect the nervous system.

What is a Parasite?

A parasite is an organism that survives (and thrives) by leeching its nourishment from another (host) organism, often causing harm in the process. Most people that thing about parasites, picture up large, wriggling worms but they can range in size from single-celled protozoa to the larger parasites like tapeworms that most of us are familiar with.

Different Types of Parasites

  1. Protozoa: These microscopic, single-celled organisms can cause diseases such as malaria (from the Plasmodium species) and giardiasis (due to Giardia lamblia).
  2. Helminths (Worms): Unlike the single-celled protozoa, helminths are multicellular worms. They include:
    • Nematodes (Roundworms): Like Ascaris lumbricoides and pinworms.
    • Cestodes (Tapeworms): Such as Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm).
    • Trematodes (Flukes): The Schistosoma species, which cause schistosomiasis, fall under this category.
  3. Ectoparasites: Living externally on their hosts, examples are lice, fleas, and ticks.

Infection Route

How parasites are transmitted differs, but may occur through contaminated: food, water, insect bites, blood transfusions, or direct contact with an infected person or animal. For example pork is more likely than some other meats to contain parasites, and should always be cooked thoroughly. Sushi is also a bad idea all around, unless the fish is cooked or deep fried.

Parasites and the Brain

Certain parasitic infections, particularly those affecting the central nervous system (CNS), warrant immediate medical attention. Here are examples of some of the more severe parasitic infections:

  • Neurocysticercosis: This is the most common parasitic infection of the central nervous system (CNS) worldwide, caused by the larval stage of the tapeworm Taenia solium.
  • Toxoplasmosis (often from household cats): Resulting from the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, it’s especially hazardous for expectant mothers and those with weakened immune systems.
  • African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness): This debilitating condition is due to the Trypanosoma parasite, transmitted by the tsetse fly.


When it comes to most internal parasites, I firmly believe that natural/alternative medicine can deal with most types of low level parasites/parasitic infections. This is especially true if you do a bi-annual (twice yearly) parasite cleanse, which the Amish also do (kids to adults), with common ingredients including things like: wormwood, black walnut hull and cloves (to name a few). And obviously external parasites require a different approach.

But when it comes to severe parasitic infection, it becomes a medical emergency, and western medicine does have it’s place. Your life is on the line, so worrying about going natural is the least of your problems…Western medicines treatment for parasitic infections involves antiparasitic medications. Depending on the specific parasite and the patient’s health, medication type and treatment duration can vary. Some standard treatments include:

  • For neurocysticercosis: Albendazole and Praziquantel.
  • For toxoplasmosis: Pyrimethamine and Sulfadiazine.
  • For African trypanosomiasis: Suramin and Melarsoprol.

Moreover, depending on the severity, additional supportive care might be warranted. This is also a great opportunity to use natural herbs and supplements to enhance or aid western medicines anti-parasite medications or just to strengthen the body.

Before & After Parasite Treatment

Alternative medicine is best used (as I previously mentioned) as part of a preventative/pro-active measure – a twice a year parasite cleanse – that helps deal with most internal parasites, before they can develop into a problem. This is especially true if you have comorbidities or health conditions that weaken your immune system or for example kids where their immune system is still developing, which is why the Amish even have their kids do a bi-annual (or annual) parasite cleanse. Obviously see a professional before administering any parasite cleanse to your kids, to ensure safety and proper dosing.

A Word on ‘Detox’ Methods

Again western medicine Vs. alternative medicine have different approaches and opinions on how to handle parasites. I personally have known and follow communities of people who have used natural/holistic parasite detox protocols (supplements and diets), to successfully rid their body of parasites such as tapeworms. Western medicine would disagree, despite all the evidence, that natural remedies should be used for parasite infections. And usually exclusively recommends anti-parasitic medications. And while some medications like Ivermectin are among the safest medications in the world (with a lengthy track record of safety), others can have significant side effects.

But again, when you have a severe parasite infection, such as where the brain or nervous system is affected and your life potentially on the line… the benefits of using western medicine to eliminate the parasite outweighs the cons, and may be necessary. Obviously you should consult a professional like me in addition to your doctor, before dong a parasite cleanse, especially if you have pre-existing medication conditions, are on medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.


It’s easy to simplify the concept of parasites down to just “worms” or associate them with specific regions or lifestyles. However, parasites are diverse, complex, and can be found virtually everywhere. Understanding them, knowing how to prevent them through things like proper cooking, avoiding sushi, and for some parasites doing a yearly parasite cleanse can be effective to keep you healthy, and if infection progresses to something serious, seeking appropriate treatment using western medicine – all essential steps towards ensuring our health and well-being. And as a disclaimer, If you ever suspect a parasitic infection, always consult with a healthcare expert.

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