You will find the 13 best foods that kill parasites in humans naturally in this article.
What is a parasite?
A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism, causing it harm.
It feeds at the expense of its host, thus depriving it of many key nutrients necessary for its proper functioning.
Moreover, an internal parasite (endoparasite) can also harm its host by releasing toxins, such as metabolic wastes, into its body.
What are common human parasites?
Human parasites include protozoa and worms1.
Parasitic worms (helminths) comprise different groups, such as2
- Roundworms (nematodes)
- e.g., Ascaris, pinworms, and hookworms
- Tapeworms (cestodes)
- e.g., Taenia and Echinococcus
- Flatworms (trematodes)
- e.g., Liver flukes and blood flukes
Protozoa are one-celled animals found worldwide. All higher animals are infected with one or more species of protozoa3.
The most significant parasitic protozoa that infect humans globally are4:
Where do human parasites live?
Internal parasites can colonize different parts of the human body, such as
- The digestive system
- Connective tissue
- The circulatory or lymphatic system
- Hollow organs (lungs or urogenital organs)
What are the symptoms of intestinal parasites?
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea, vomiting
- Bloating, gastrointestinal obstruction
- Weight loss
- Blood loss, anemia
What are the causes of intestinal parasites?
The main causes of intestinal parasitic infection in humans are:
- Eating contaminated food, such as undercooked meat or fish (sushi), raw vegetables or fruits
- Drinking contaminated water
- Touching contaminated soil, water, or feces
- Transmission in the womb through the umbilical cord
13 Best foods that kill parasites in humans
Here are the 13 best foods that kill gut and skin parasites in humans naturally:
1. Flaxseed oil
Flaxseed oil is a yellowish oil obtained by pressing seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum).
Studies have shown that flaxseed oil kills different parasites, including:
Sauerkraut is a fermented food made by slicing raw cabbage, layering it with salt, and leaving it to ferment in an airtight container.
Once deprived of oxygen, probiotic lactic acid bacteria present on cabbage leaves intensively multiply. This process is known as lactic acid fermentation.
During this process, the probiotic bacteria convert sugar into lactic acid.
Unpasteurized sauerkraut kills parasites
The digestive system produces digestive enzymes, such as hydrochloric acid and pepsin, that break down food and kill intestinal viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Lactic acid resulting from fermentation increases the acidity in your stomach, enhancing food digestion and parasite destruction13.
3. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seed is the edible seed of a cultivar of orange winter squash.
It has a white husk and is green in color after shelling.
Pumpkin seeds kill parasites
They kill the following parasites:
- Ascaridia galli21,22
- Ascaris suum23
- Fasciola gigantica24
- Haemonchus contortus25,26
- Hymenolepsis nana27
- Schistosoma mansoni28
The anti-parasitic component in pumpkin seeds has been identiﬁed as cucurbitine19.
4. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is the red-colored berry-fruit of a Capsicum annuum plant.
It is a moderately hot chili pepper used as a spice in cooking.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound responsible for their spicy and hot taste30.
Does spicy food kill parasites?
Chili pepper plants produce capsaicin as a defense mechanism against predators, parasites, and microbes.
Capsaicin kills the protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease31,
- Trypanosoma cruzi
The concentration of capsaicin required to eliminate this parasite is 57 times lower than benznidazole, the drug commonly used for treating Chagas disease31.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a perennial flowering plant that grows from a bulb.
The bulb has a strong smell and comprises thin sheathing leaves that protect cloves.
Since ancient times, humans have used garlic cloves as a food flavoring and traditional medicine32.
Garlic kills parasites
Garlic is one of the best foods that kill parasites. It eliminates the following parasites:
- Cryptosporidium enteritis35
- Echinostoma caproni36
- Entamoeba histolytica33
- Fasciola gigantica37
- Giardia lamblia and intestinalis33
- Haemonchus contortus larvae38,26
- Hymenolepsis nana33
- Leishmania tarentolae32, major and mexicana33
- Plasmodium berghei and yoelii33
- Schistosoma mansoni33
- Trypanosoma brucei32, congolese and vivax33
- Trichomonas vaginalis33
The fig is the edible fruit of a small tree (Ficus carica) in the Moraceae family.
It is native to the Mediterranean and western Asia.
Figs kill parasites
Fig fruits have anti-parasitic properties.
They contain, namely, ficin, a proteolytic enzyme that digests the cuticle and destroys the body of Ascarids39.
Figs show activity against the following parasites:
Ginger is the rhizome of Zingiber officinale, a flowering plant in the Zingiberaceae family41.
Since ancient times, it has been used as a spice to flavor food and as a traditional remedy41.
The health benefits of ginger are mainly attributed to its phenolic compounds gingerols and shogaols42.
Ginger kills parasites
Ginger eliminates the following parasites:
- Angiostrongylus cantonensins43
- Anisakis simplex43
- Ascaris lumbricoides44
- Echinococcus granulosus43
- Fasciola giganta45
- Fasciola hepatica46,47
- Giardia lamblia48
- Hymenolepsis nana43
- Schistosoma mansoni49
- Toxocara canis43
- Toxoplasma gondii43
- Trichostrongylus axei50
- Trypanosoma brucei43 and cruzi51
A study showed that ginger’s anti-parasitic activity against Fasciola giganta was more effective than triclabendazole, the drug commonly used45.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of an evergreen aromatic tree (Cinnamomum).
Cinnamon for parasites
Studies have shown that cinnamon kills the following parasites:
Cinnamon also gets rid of parasitic eggs.
Cloves are the dried flower buds of clove (Syzygium aromaticum), an evergreen tree native to Indonesia55.
This food kills the following parasites:
- Entamoeba histolytics58
- Giardia lamblia59 and intestinalis58
- Haemonchus contortus25,38
- Plasmodium falciparum60
- Trypanosoma cruzi51
Cloves contain eugenol
The main bioactive compound of cloves is eugenol, a phenol55.
Besides, studies have shown that eugenol eliminates parasites, including:
- Fasciola gigantica60
- Giardia lamblia60
- Haemonchus contortus60
- Schistosoma mansoni60
- Leishmania donovani61
Cloves are well known for eradicating parasitic eggs25.
Turmeric is a flowering plant (Curcuma longa) in the Zingiberaceae family62.
Its rhizome is widely used to flavor food, especially in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine62.
Furthermore, turmeric has a very long history of medicinal use in India62.
Its main biologically active compound is curcumin 62.
Turmeric for parasites
Turmeric, or curcumin, kills the following parasites:
- Cryptosporidium parvum65,66,67
- Entamoeba histolytica68,69
- Fasciola gigantica70
- Giardia lamblia71,72
- Plasmodium falciparum75,76
- Schistosoma mansoni77,78
- Toxoplasma gondii79
- Trichomonas vaginalis80
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of salted and fermented vegetables and seasonings83.
Its main ingredients are cruciferous vegetables, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper powder83.
These functional foods make kimchi very beneficial to human health.
Kimchi for parasites
Homemade kimchi is also one of the best foods that kills parasites.
Just like sauerkraut, it contains probiotic lactic acid bacteria with anti-parasitic properties.
Moreover, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper also have anti-parasitic effects, as explained in the previous sections.
Berries are small, rounded, fleshy fruits that are often edible. They are generally brightly colored and have many seeds.
Berries include raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries84.
Berries kill parasites
A study reported that berries eliminated the human intestinal parasite
- Giardia duodenalis85
Some of them were as effective as the currently used drug, metronidazole85.
Berries are rich in polyphenols with anti-parasitic activity, such as gallic acid85.
Pomegranate is the fruit of a shrub (Punica granatum), a member of the Lythraceae family.
Pomegranate has anti-parasitic effects
Pomegranate is one of the best foods that kill parasites.
Its peel, namely, eliminates the following parasites:
- Ascaris suum86
- Cryptosporidium parvum87
- Eimeria papillata88
- Giardia duodenalis and lamblia85,89,90
- Plasmodium falciparum91
- Schistosoma mansoni92
Side effects of foods that kill parasites
Foods that kill parasites can cause side effects known as “die-off symptoms” or a “Herxheimer detox reaction”.
However, these symptoms disappear over time.
Here is how to prevent a Herxheimer detox reaction or how to reduce die-off symptoms, if you are already experiencing them.
Summary: 13 Best foods that kill parasites in humans
Humans catch parasites by consuming contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or touching contaminated matter.
There are, however, multiple natural foods that kill intestinal and other types of parasites.
As such, by modifying your diet, it is possible to get rid of them and the symptoms they induce.
The 13 best foods that kill gut and skin parasites in humans naturally are:
- Flaxseed oil
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cayenne pepper