Parasites are tough, but certain herbs are tougher.
With the help of top parasite-killing herbs like triphala and vidanga, you can finally get rid of the health-robbing critters.
Moreover, by combining herbs, you can take advantage of their different modes of action. For example, one may interfere with parasites’ energy production, while another may attack the critters’ nervous system.
The herbs also typically come with various side benefits, such as supporting your immune system, improving bile flow, and aiding healthy elimination.
Read on to learn more about what it takes to get rid of parasites and how 5 top herbs help kill them naturally.
Can a Parasitic Infection Go Away on Its Own?
Some parasitic infections might go away without medical treatment. This is assuming that you have good health and that your immune system immediately steps in. Your genetics may also play a role in your ability to battle parasites. (1, 2)
Still, parasite infections that resolve on their own are the exception and not the rule. What’s more, a chronic infection may have vague symptoms like joint pain, which you may not even link to parasites. Meanwhile, they could be multiplying inside you. (3, 4)
Once they find a host, microscopic protozoan parasites, such as Giardia, can increase exponentially in number. Parasitic worms (helminths) also reproduce, albeit not as quickly. So, it takes some effort to get rid of most parasites as they grow in number. (5)
Drugs are commonly used to treat parasitic infections. These interfere with the critters’ functioning in some way. For example, they may impede the parasites’ energy metabolism or the function of their membranes. This leads to their inactivation and ultimately death.
Unfortunately, anti-parasitic drugs have some drawbacks, including: (6)
Drug resistance: Parasites fight to survive and may figure out how to prevent the drug from working. For example, they may turn the drug into an inactive form or keep it from binding to its target in the pathogen. The risk of this increases the more the drug is used.
High cost and availability: Anti-parasitic drugs can be very expensive, sometimes costing hundreds or thousands of dollars per course of treatment. Insurance coverage varies. And, depending on where you live, some medications may be difficult to get.
Side effects: Examples of common side effects of anti-parasitic drugs include digestive upset, headaches, and skin rashes. Some may also cause liver damage, deficiency of folate (a B vitamin), and birth defects.
The good news is, many herbs can fight parasites in similar ways as drugs but are typically gentler on your system. (7)
What Herbs Kill Parasites?
Are you ready to tackle the critters at the root of your health issues and do a parasite cleanse? Many herbs kill parasites naturally, and they often have several other health benefits.
Five top parasite-killing herbs you should have in your arsenal are vidanga, neem, triphala, clove, and holarrhena. Choose an herbal blend that contains all of these.
For added benefit, choose a blend that also contains extracts of fulvic acid, a carbon-based binder. It can help protect the herbs from your stomach acid so they can get where they need to go to kill parasites. It could also help minimize side effects from parasite killing.
Here’s a closer look at these powerful herbs, including their actions against parasites and other health benefits.
Embelia ribes is the scientific name for this little shrub that commonly grows in India. Vidanga is also known as “false black pepper” since its fruits look similar to black peppercorns.
Vidanga is a go-to herb in Ayurvedic medicine, including for treating parasites. It also has a wide range of other potential health benefits. In fact, it's used in more than 75 different Ayurvedic remedies. (8)
Anti-parasitic actions of vidanga
Vidanga’s fruits contain powerful phytochemicals, including tannins. These help prevent helminths from generating energy. The phytochemicals may also bind to proteins on the protective outer covering of helminths. These actions lead to the parasites’ death. (9)
Research suggests vidanga is effective against tapeworms. This parasite absorbs its nutrients and expels wastes through its outer covering or tegument. So, disrupting that contributes to its demise. (9)
Additionally, in a lab study, a vidanga fruit extract was up to 85% effective against the helminth Haemonchus contortus in the larval stage. This was similar in effectiveness to a common anti-parasitic drug. (10)
Moreover, the larval stage is an ideal time to kill the critters since they’re too immature to reproduce. All is fair in parasite killing, right? Get the upper hand when you can.
Other potential benefits of vidanga
Studies suggest vidanga may have several health benefits beyond its anti-parasitic activity. Some of these potential benefits include:
Digestive support: Vidanga may help reduce gas production in your gut and stimulate your bowels to move. This is a bonus because you want to expel dying parasites from your gut as quickly as possible. (11)
Antifungal: Lab research suggests an extract of vidanga fruit may help combat fungal infections. This includes the mold Aspergillus niger, which can infect people, and the common yeast Candida albicans, which often overgrows if your gut is unhealthy. (8, 12)
Thyroid health: A sluggish thyroid can cause hair loss and constipation, which hinders your parasite cleansing efforts. When 15 people with hypothyroidism took a vidanga supplement, all of them had mild to moderate improvement in thyroid function. (13)
Acetylcholine protection: Parasites can interfere with your neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, which supports your memory and mood. Research suggests vidanga root extract may help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. This may help ward off the negative emotional effects parasites can have. (14, 15)
Tissue healing: The inflammation and toxins that parasites generate can damage your tissues. Vidanga has healing properties. In an animal study, a vidanga leaf extract applied topically helped heal wounds as well as a standard medicinal ointment. It also supported collagen production. (16)
Also known as Azadirachta indica, this fast-growing tree is nicknamed “the village pharmacy” since every part of it has potential health benefits. That includes the fruits, leaves, seeds, oil, bark, and roots of neem. (17)
Neem’s nickname is fitting. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years. Moreover, modern-day science shows it’s packed with more than 300 different phytochemicals. Some of these help combat parasites. (17, 18, 19)
Anti-parasitic actions of neem
Both lab and animal studies have shown that neem has anti-parasitic actions against helminths, including ones that invade the digestive tract. (20, 21)
A phytochemical in neem called azadirachtin is toxic to the nervous system of parasites. It also promotes their excretion in your stools. (22, 23)
Additionally, neem is traditionally used in some African countries for the prevention and treatment of malaria. That’s a parasitic infection transmitted by mosquitoes. This antimalarial benefit has been shown in animal studies as well. (24, 25, 26)
Other potential benefits of neem
May prevent biofilm formation: Bacteria, parasites, Candida, and other pathogens can hide from your immune system and antibiotics by forming a protective biofilm. Lab research suggests neem may help disrupt the formation and structure of biofilm. (27)
Has anti-inflammatory actions: Parasites create damaging inflammation in your gut and elsewhere in your body. Your mast cells and other immune cells release histamine and other inflammatory chemicals when they sense a threat. Animal research suggests neem seed oil may significantly reduce the release of inflammatory chemicals. (28, 29, 30)
May increase bile flow and aid detox: Parasites spew toxins. Your liver processes toxins from your blood then releases them into bile. An animal study found that a neem leaf extract nearly doubled bile flow. That supports toxin elimination and liver health. (18)
Has antioxidant and anticancer properties: Laboratory and animal studies show that neem has powerful antioxidant properties, helps prevent DNA damage, and may help reduce cancer risk. (31)
In the Sanskrit language, triphala means “three fruits.” This ancient Ayurvedic remedy is a combination of dried fruits from three herbs, which are generally used in equal proportions:
Amalaki or Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)
Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellerica)
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
Together, they are a powerhouse combination. In Ayurvedic medicine, triphala is a go-to remedy for supporting digestive health, among many other aspects of wellness. (32)
Anti-parasitic actions of triphala
Parasites often enter your body through your digestive system, which starts with your mouth. Once they get in, they can damage the lining of your digestive tract as they make your body their new home. In return, you may get digestive problems. (33, 34)
Triphala could help defend you against parasites in several ways. Studies suggest it may:
Protect against protozoan parasites: Triphala contains flavonoid and alkaloid types of phytochemicals, which help kill protozoans. Those are microscopic, single-celled parasites. (35)
Guard against parasitic helminths: Each component of triphala helps protect against helminths. However, the combination of its three ingredients is more effective against parasitic worms than each herb alone. (36)
Support regular bowel movements: An essential part of fixing a parasite problem is regular elimination. In one study, 160 people took 2.5 grams of triphala twice daily or a placebo for one month. Triphala helped improve the amount, frequency, and consistency of bowel movements compared to the placebo. (37)
Promote a healthy microbiome: Triphala may help your good gut bacteria flourish. Some good gut bugs produce an anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acid called butyrate, which promotes a healthy gut lining. A healthy microbiome may also help guard against parasites. (38, 39, 40)
Other potential benefits of triphala
Triphala may support your health in many other ways. Studies suggest it may help:
Provide antioxidant protection: Polyphenols and other phytochemicals in triphala have antioxidant actions. These may support the health of your gut lining and protect against stomach ulcers, as well as shield your kidneys from toxins. (41, 42, 43)
Support your immune system: Triphala is an adaptogen, meaning it may help your body adapt to various stressors. It’s also an immunomodulator. That means that it may help stimulate or suppress your immune system, depending on your body's needs. (44)
Protect your joints: Triphala’s ability to increase your antioxidant levels may help protect your joints. Additionally, the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium hominis has been linked to joint pain. So, triphala may help ease joint pain in more than one way. (4, 45)
Prevent cancer: Lab studies suggest that triphala may help protect you from cancer, including colon cancer. This protection may be due in part to the many phytochemicals it contains. (46)
Regulate blood sugar: Triphala may inhibit starch digestion and absorption. That could result in better blood sugar control. When people took 5 grams of triphala daily, it significantly lowered their fasting and post-meal blood sugars in a 45-day study. (32)
Clove, from the Syzygium aromaticum plant, may need no introduction. You likely have some in your spice cabinet. Clove comes from the buds of the plant.
This strong, aromatic spice was considered so valuable in the 13th and 14th centuries that countries went to war to control its production and distribution. Now, functional medicine practitioners are rediscovering clove as an anti-parasitic agent.
Anti-parasitic actions of clove
About 15–20% of the composition of clove is essential oil. Clove oil is effective against some nematodes, which are parasitic roundworms, and some protozoan parasites. (47)
A test-tube study found that clove oil killed up to 30% of nematode parasites while they were still in egg form. What better time to take out your enemy than before they can attack? Still, clove may be even more effective against hatched parasites, inactivating them. (47)
Lab research also suggests clove oil helps kill Giardia. That’s a common protozoan parasite that often spreads via contaminated water. (48)
Other potential benefits of clove
Parasites can be like a Trojan horse. They may bring other pathogens with them. Or, they may create an environment for ones lurking in the shadows to come into the light. If you’re fighting against parasites, you’ll want to take out these tag-along invaders, too.
Lab studies suggest clove works against some fungal infections, including Candida yeast and Aspergillus mold. It can break apart the cell membrane of these fungi, so they eventually die. (49)
Clove oil may also prevent Candida from forming germ tubes, which it uses to spread. Moreover, clove may inhibit biofilm formation. Like parasites and bacteria, fungi can hide in biofilm. (49, 50)
Animal research also suggests clove extract may help upregulate the body’s production of in-house antioxidants. These include glutathione and superoxide dismutase. They support gut health, among other benefits. (51)
Holarrhena antidysenterica, sometimes called kutaj or kurchi bark, comes from a shrub and is used in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s also used in special festivals in India. That seems appropriate since you may want to throw a party once you learn how much this herb could benefit your body.
Anti-parasitic actions of holarrhena
Lab research suggests that extracts of holarrhena may paralyze parasitic worms in as little as 4 minutes and kill them in as little as 10 minutes. The herb contains many phytochemicals, including tannins and alkaloids, which may be responsible for these effects.
The tannins may interfere with parasites’ ability to generate energy. The alkaloids may attack the worms’ nervous system and paralyze them. Blocking both their movement and energy production makes holarrhena a lethal weapon against parasites. (52)
Still, killing them is only half the battle. You need to expel them quickly to prevent them from overloading you with toxins after they die.
Holarrhena may help stimulate your bowels and promote regular bowel movements, helping you expel the dead critters. It also may help alleviate constipation and diarrhea, in general. (53)
Other research suggests holarrhena helps kill some protozoan parasites. When people took powdered holarrhena bark for 15 days, they were cured of infection with Entamoeba histolytica. That’s a big deal, as chronic infection with this nasty critter can sometimes last for years. (54)
Other potential benefits of holarrhena
Holarrhena has a long list of other potential health benefits. Here are a few:
May protect brain health: Holarrhena may inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine, a vital nerve messenger. For this reason, it’s being studied as a potential therapy in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions. (55)
Squelches free radicals: The many phytochemicals in holarrhena contribute to its potent antioxidant effects. Animal studies also suggest it may help increase levels of glutathione and superoxide dismutase — two antioxidants your body can make. (54)
May help heal hemorrhoids: Some gut issues can lead to straining to eliminate stools. This may result in hemorrhoids — swollen veins in your bottom. One study found that when people took holarrhena bark extract, it helped heal bleeding hemorrhoids. (54)
How’s that for a powerful lineup of parasite-fighting herbs? Also, remember that you can expedite your body’s elimination of dying parasites with the help of Mimosa pudica seed.
Fighting Stronger Together
Clearly, these herbs are great soldiers on their own in your war against parasites. But when taken together, they amplify each other’s effects. So, consider a combination of:
Moreover, combining these herbs with fulvic acid extracts gives them added protection to help them travel through your digestive tract. That enables them to get where they need to go to kill critters.
Isn’t it time you declared war on your parasites with this super combo of herbs?