Detox Learning Center

7 Powerful Parasite-Killing Herbs

  • If you have lingering symptoms from parasite infection, it may be time to enlist a new blend of herbs.   
  • Mimosa pudica seed is a fantastic herb for removing parasites in the digestive tract, but if you want to attack them systemically, seven herbs could help you conquer them.
  • Sage contains numerous phytochemicals, including tannins and flavonoids, that kill parasites.
  • Tansy extract attacks parasites and is particularly effective against a fluke called Schistosoma mansoni.
  • Scientific testing reveals thyme is effective against several different types of parasites. 
  • Epazote has been used traditionally as a dewormer and is beneficial in combating parasitic worms and protozoans.
  • Black walnut hulls contain an anti-parasitic phytochemical compound called juglone that can help eliminate some parasites.
  • Holy basil, a potent parasite fighter, is called the “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurvedic medicine.
  • Clove is especially rich in phytochemicals called phenolics, including eugenol, contributing to the herb's health benefits.
  • Combining these herbs in liquid tincture form is an excellent way to take advantage of their many health benefits.

It would be nice if a single herbal remedy could kill all the various parasites that could infect you. But, the tiny pests are pretty cunning. Each type has specific ways to fight back against your efforts to evict them.

Just as specific drugs target specific pathogens, targeted herbs tackle particular parasites. Herbs are Mother Nature's natural remedy. They help you avoid the collateral damage that can come with prescription medicines. 

Maybe you’ve already used an herbal formula to kill parasites. Mimosa pudica seed is one incredibly effective herb to help purge them from your digestive tract. However, if you have lingering symptoms from parasites that have established themselves in places deep in your body, it may be time to enlist a new blend of herbs.   

Sometimes to outwit your opponent, you have to switch up your game. Attacking parasites from several angles with different herbs could help you outplay them.

Along with a different blend of herbs, it may also help to use them in an alternate form. A liquid extract or tincture is a versatile alternative to capsules. 

Here’s an in-depth look at a potent combination of seven herbs that kill parasites while pointing out the advantages of a liquid extract formulation. These seven herbs can equip you well for your next parasite cleanse.

1. Sage


Salvia officinalis or sage has gray-green leaves. The herb is native to the Middle East and Mediterranean region. 

Sage is tasty when added to roasted vegetables or soup. But, it can also support your health.

Sage contains numerous phytochemicals, including tannins and flavonoids. It’s been used in folk medicine for diarrhea and upset stomach, among other ailments. (1, 2)

Now, animal research confirms that sage may help combat diarrhea. It may fend off bacteria and fungi like Candida albicans that can cause chronic diarrhea. (2, 3, 4)

Sage could also help supercharge your parasite cleanse.

Anti-parasitic actions of sage

In an animal study, sage extract significantly reduced the number of eggs of three intestinal parasites in only five days. These included two types of pinworms and one type of tapeworm. These and other parasitic worms are called helminths. (1)

Lab studies also suggest sage extracts may combat protozoan parasites. Those are microscopic, one-celled critters. Sage may be effective against the following protozoans: (5, 6)

  • Leishmania: This parasite often causes skin sores. It can also infest your bone marrow, liver, and spleen. This can lead to swelling of these internal organs.
  • Plasmodium: This protozoan causes malaria, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It can cause fever and flu-like symptoms.
  • Trypanosoma cruzi: Infection with this parasite leads to Chagas’ disease. This may trigger eyelid swelling. Over the long term, it can also cause heart problems and enlargement of your esophagus and colon.

Liver benefits of sage

Sage may also help indirectly against parasites by supporting your liver. Remember, your liver filters blood coming from your gut. So, its exposed to many pathogens and toxins.

Common parasites — including schistosoma flukes and plasmodium protozoans — can damage your liver. You need a well-functioning liver to deal with any toxins released during a parasite cleanse. Plus, without a healthy liver, your overall well-being is at risk. (7)

When rodents were given sage tea instead of water for two weeks, their liver antioxidant activity increased by 10–24%. Sage helped protect the membranes of liver cells from oxidative damage. (8)  

Sage may do double duty. It may help you get rid of parasites directly. Plus, it supports your liver. That may help ease your symptoms of parasite die-off. 

Sage could be the botanical hero that comes to your livers rescue.

2. Tansy

Tanacetum vulgare or common tansy has fern-like leaves and yellow flowers. It is popular in folk medicine. The herb has been used to lower inflammation, relieve migraines, ease nerve pain, and treat parasitic infections. (9)

Science is proving traditional medicinal uses of the herb. For example, lab studies suggest that tansy essential oil lowers inflammation. (10)

Lab studies also confirm the benefits of tansy extract against parasites. It may be particularly effective against Schistosoma mansoni. That's a type of fluke. A fluke is a worm that has a flattened, leaf-shaped body.

You can become infected with S. mansoni by contact with contaminated freshwater — even swimming in it. The parasite is most common in tropical and subtropical countries. It can cause anemia and diarrhea. It can also damage your liver and intestines over the long term. (11, 12)

S. mansoni may survive for decades inside your blood vessels. Like camouflaged hunters, the tiny worms can hide from your immune system. To kick these critters out, you have to outsmart them. Tansy may help do just that. (13)

In a lab study, tansy extract significantly reduced the worms’ ability to move. And when tested in a high dose, the extract killed 100% of the adult worms within 24 hours.

Tansy extract also decreased the number of worm eggs and hampered their development. (9)

Tansy could be a real asset for natural parasite cleansing.

On a side note, essential oil from tansy flowers contains chemical compounds that may help to repel ticks. Ticks are vectors, meaning they can transmit parasites and bacteria. So, repelling them helps safeguard you from infection with these pathogens. (14)

3. Thyme


Thyme — Thymus vulgaris — could be a powerful asset in your arsenal against pathogens. That includes certain parasites, bacteria, and fungi.

This popular culinary herb contains several potent phytochemical plant compounds. Eugenol and thymol are two that help fend off uninvited guests.

If youve previously thought of thyme as only a food seasoning, youll likely be impressed by the herb’s anti-pathogenic actions.

Anti-parasitic actions of thyme

Thyme has been tested against several different types of parasites. These include certain helminths and protozoan parasites.

Studies suggest thyme may help combat:

  • Anisakis: You can pick up this parasitic roundworm by eating raw or undercooked seafood. In a lab study, thyme essential oil killed all Anisakis larvae (immature worms) within 14 hours. It did this by damaging the worms’ outer covering and intestines. (15, 16)
  • Entamoeba histolytica: This protozoan is carried in feces, so you may get it from eating food touched by contaminated hands. It infects your gut and can also spread to other organs, including your liver. Lab research found thyme extract and essential oil were effective against this parasite. (17, 18)
  • Leishmania: These protozoan parasites are transmitted by infected sand flies and can cause skin sores. In a mouse study, thyme extract produced a 43% reduction in skin sores caused by leishmania. (19, 20)
  • Toxoplasmosis gondii: You may get this protozoan parasite from numerous routes, including infected cats. It can invade your brain and eyes. In mice with a chronic infection of T. gondii, thyme extract reduced parasitic cysts in the brain by 24%. (21, 22)
  • Trichinella spiralis: Eating undercooked pork could lead to a trichinella infection. It can cause digestive upset and migrate into your muscles. In an animal study, thyme killed 79% of adult T. spiralis worms and 71% of larvae. (23, 24)

Based on this research, thyme could be a potent weapon in your natural parasite cleanse. But that’s not all it could do for you. It may help fight other pathogens, too.

Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal actions of thyme

Thyme also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. If you’re going to give parasites the boot, you might as well knock out other unwanted pathogens in the process. (24)

Lab studies suggest thyme may help prevent the growth of potentially problematic bacteria. These include harmful strains of: (2526)

  • Escherichia coli
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Bacillus cereus
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Clostridium perfringens

You can pick up harmful strains of these bacteria by consuming contaminated foods and beverages. This is particularly true if theyre undercooked or improperly handled. For example, C. perfringens is one of the top five causes of food poisoning in the United States. (27)

Lab studies suggest thyme inhibits the growth of Clostridium perfringens. In one study, essential oil from thyme leaves was more effective against the bacteria than five other essential oils tested. (26)

Additionally, lab studies suggest thyme oil may reduce the replication of harmful strains of staph, listeria, and E. coli. Even when thyme is only present in low amounts, it may reduce the growth of these pathogenic bacteria. (28)

Thyme may help fight candida as well. This yeast is a normal part of your microbiome. Its overgrowth can cause inflammation in your digestive tract. Candida overgrowth is also linked to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. (29)

Lab studies suggest thyme may reduce enzymes that candida needs for its metabolism and the colonization of its host. Thyme may also decrease the yeast’s ability to form a biofilm. Biofilm is a tool that this invasive yeast uses to hide from your immune system. (30, 31, 32)

In short, thyme is a hard-hitting herb for harmful parasites, bacteria, and fungi. It may inhibit their normal functioning, replication, and growth.

4. Epazote 

Epazote is known scientifically as either Chenopodium ambrosioides or Dysphania ambrosioides. It’s an herb native to southern Mexico, Central America, and South America. Epazote is also called wormseed and Mexican tea, as its used to make tea.

Besides its use in tea, epazote is eaten as a leafy vegetable and food seasoning. It’s a common bean flavoring. It is also thought to reduce the gassiness of beans.  

Herbalists value epazote for its health benefits. The herb has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain-relieving properties. It also helps spark your immune system to fight infections and may inhibit tumor growth. (33)

The herb’s anti-infection properties include actions against some parasites, bacteria, and fungi.

Anti-parasitic actions of epazote

In traditional medicine, Mexican tea made with epazote is used as a dewormer. Studies confirm the herb’s benefits against parasitic worms and protozoans.

Some of the parasites that epazote may help combat include:

  • Schistosoma mansoni: In a lab study, epazote essential oil killed all S. mansoni worms within 72 hours. And in a rodent study, epazote oil killed 54% of S. mansoni within nine weeks. Further treatment reduced worm eggs in the rodents’ liver by 77%. (34)
  • Toxocara canis: This parasitic roundworm can be transferred to humans from dogs. A lab study found that epazote extract was effective against this parasite's larvae. And in an animal study, the herb reduced parasite-induced inflammation. (35, 36)
  • Leishmania: Epazote contains powerful phytochemicals that may interfere with the mitochondrial function of leishmania protozoans. These phytochemicals are fat-soluble and readily-absorbed by parasites. In a lab test, the phytochemicals reached the protozoan's mitochondria within minutes. (37)
  • Other protozoans: Animal and lab research suggest epazote may help combat several other protozoan parasites. These include Entamoeba histolytica, Plasmodium falciparum (which causes malaria), and Trypanosoma cruzi. (33, 38, 39)

Continued research could likely confirm other anti-parasitic benefits of epazote.

Antibacterial and antifungal actions of epazote

Epazote may also help fight some bacterial and fungal infections. The herb may be beneficial in cases where bacteria have become drug-resistant. Staphylococcus aureus is a prime example of such bacteria.

When scientists tested essential oil from epazote leaves against staph, it didn’t directly kill the bacteria. But epazote interfered with the bacteria’s ability to get rid of the antibiotic intended to kill it. So, ultimately, the drug was able to do its job. (40)

On its own, epazote extract may help you fight bacterial infections by activating your macrophages. Those are specialized immune cells that can detect, engulf, and destroy bacteria. Plus, the herb may reduce the inflammation that happens in conjunction with infections. (33)

Epazote could also be a powerful tool against fungi, including yeast. In an animal study, epazote oil resolved a vaginal candida infection in only twelve days. (41

In addition, a lab study suggests epazote may help break up biofilm on some surfaces. Your immune system is better able to kill candida if it isn’t hiding in biofilm. (42)  

5. Black Walnut Hulls

Black Walnut Hulls

Black walnuts grow on the Juglans nigra tree. These walnuts have a shell surrounded by a thick green hull. The hull eventually darkens to black. Herbalists value these hulls for their health-promoting properties.

Black walnut hulls contain an anti-parasitic plant compound called juglone. It may help combat some protozoans. (43, 44)

Juglone may be effective against acanthamoeba. This protozoan parasite lives in soil and water. It can cause severe eye infections. Contact lens wearers are prone to it. The parasite can also infect your lungs, brain, and spinal cord. (45)

People with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to acanthamoeba infection. Still, you can contract it even if you have a robust immune system. (46)

In a lab study, juglone put the brakes on acanthamoeba growth and triggered them to die. (47)

Another protozoan that juglone may combat is Toxoplasma gondii. Many people carry the parasite but don’t know it. If you have a weakened immune system, the infection can be especially problematic. (21)

T. gondii may even migrate to your brain. Interestingly, the infection is 2.7 times more common in people with schizophrenia. And it’s 2.4 times more common in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Still, its role (if any) in these conditions is unknown. (21, 48)

In a lab study, juglone interfered with T. gondii’s antioxidant defense systems against free radicals. This led to the death of the parasites but didn’t harm the host cells. (49)

So, black walnut hulls could be a valuable addition to your natural parasite cleanse due to its selective toxicity to harmful critters.

On a side note, don't give black walnut hulls to your cats. It could be toxic to them. (43)

6. Holy Basil

In scientific language, holy basil is known as either Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum tenuiflorum. It’s also commonly called tulsi.

Holy basil is not the one you would use in making your favorite spaghetti sauce — that’s Ocimum basilicum.

But, holy basil is commonly used in herbal tea and supplements due to its believed health properties. It’s considered an adaptogen. That means it may promote your overall well-being and resilience, including against stress. (50)

Additionally, in Ayurvedic medicine, holy basil is called the “Queen of Herbs.” That's because of its many potential benefits. For example, extracts of the herb are used in Ayurvedic remedies for stomach problems, inflammation, and malaria. (51)

Today's science confirms the anti-parasitic properties of holy basil. These include actions against both protozoans and helminths.

Anti-protozoan actions of holy basil

You already know plasmodium protozoan parasites can cause malaria. One species, Plasmodium falciparum, causes the most severe infections in people. It has become drug resistant, so scientists are turning to herbal treatments. (52)

Holy basil could help in this effort.

The P. falciparum parasite invades and multiplies in red blood cells. In a lab study, leaf and root extracts of holy basil were very effective against P. falciparum. The extracts weren’t harmful to human red blood cells, though. (53)

Holy basil may also help combat leishmania protozoans. As mentioned earlier, this critter can damage some of your organs, including your liver. (19)

In one study, mice infected with leishmania were given an extract of holy basil leaves. The herb reduced parasite levels in the animals’ liver by 43% after one day and 73% after 15 days of treatment. (54)

One way holy basil may combat leishmania is by boosting your immune defenses against the parasite. In other words, it could help arm you for the fight against pathogenic critters. (55)

Anti-helminthic actions of holy basil

Holy basil may also combat parasitic helminths in your digestive tract. That includes nematodes, which are roundworms.

In an animal study, scientists tested holy basil leaf extract in sheep infected with gut parasites. Specifically, they had four nematodes: haemonchus, trichostrongylus, oesophagostomum, and strongyloides.

Holy basil decreased the animals’ excretion of nematode eggs by 77% in two weeks. The herb also paralyzed parasite larvae and halted their development. In other words, holy basil decreased the worms' reproduction and shut down the activity of immature worms.

Interestingly, antioxidants in the sheep’s blood increased during the study. This extra defense may reduce oxidative stress and its subsequent damage during a parasite cleanse. (56)

Holy basil’s antioxidant properties and anti-parasitic actions against worms like strongyloides may be due to its many phytochemicals. These include flavonoids, tannins, and several others. They could be potent weapons in your natural parasite cleanse. (53, 56)

7. Clove Bud

Clove Bud

You may be most familiar with clove — Syzygium aromaticum — as a food flavoring. But, this spice is more than just pleasant tasting. Clove has been used as a natural food preservative and medicinal agent for hundreds of years. (57)

Many herbs and spices are known for their anti-microbial and antioxidant properties. But, clove really stands out. It’s especially rich in phytochemicals called phenolics, including eugenol. These contribute to clove’s health benefits. (57)

Heres a closer look at cloves protective actions against parasites and microbes.

Anti-parasite and anti-bacterial actions of clove

Studies suggest clove and its phytochemical eugenol may help combat specific parasites and harmful bacteria. These include:

  • Babesia: This microscopic parasite is a common Lyme coinfection and invades your red blood cells. In a study of infected mice, clove extract inhibited the growth of Babesia microti by 69%. (58, 59)
  • Blastocystis hominis: When this protozoan invades your intestines, it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and anal itching. In a test tube study, clove oil caused blastocystis to shrink significantly in size. (60, 61)
  • Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile: This bacterial infection often occurs during or after antibiotic therapy. It can be resistant to drug therapy and causes severe diarrhea. Preliminary lab research suggests clove oil is effective against the bacteria. (62, 63, 64) 
  • Giardia: This protozoan may be best-known for triggering diarrhea and stomach upset. In a lab study, clove essential oil and eugenol inhibited the growth of giardia. Clove may also keep the parasite from attaching to its host and could promote its death. (65, 66)
  • Leishmania: Lab studies suggest eugenol may combat these protozoan parasites by boosting the host’s immune system. Animal research suggests eugenol may also kill the parasite directly. (67, 68)
  • Schistosoma: This blood fluke is a significant source of helminth infections worldwide. In a two-month study of infected mice, eugenol reduced the number of schistosoma flukes by 19%. It also reduced the liver damage caused by the worms. (69)
  • Trypanosoma cruzi: You can contract this protozoan, found in the southern United States, via contact with an infected triatomine bug. In a lab study, clove essential oil inhibited the growth of T. cruzi and damaged its structure. (70, 71)

Anti-vector actions of clove

Another way to combat parasites like T. cruzi that spread via insect vectors is by killing the insects, including ticks, flies, and mosquitoes. Clove not only fights parasites, but it may also tackle the insects that carry them.

In a lab test, clove essential oil killed mosquito larvae. Moreover, the oil worked even better than isolated eugenol, an active component of the oil. (72)

Notably, clove oil is a complex mixture of plant compounds. So, it’s less likely that insects will develop resistance to it compared to human-made insecticides. (72, 73)

Clearly, clove has many potential benefits against parasites and harmful microbes, as well as the insects that transmit pathogens.

Added Benefits of a Tincture Formulation

A combination of sage, tansy, thyme, epazote, black walnut hulls, holy basil, and clove bud may be the parasite-fighting arsenal your body needs.

As you’ve read, each is a potent anti-parasitic agent on its own. But, combining the herbs may offer unique synergies. The complex mixtures of different plant compounds also may reduce the odds of parasites becoming resistant to them. (74)

Tincture formulations — which are liquid extracts — may offer further benefits. These include faster absorption and greater versatility. Read on for the details.

Absorption of tinctures

If you take herbs as a tincture, you may absorb them more quickly. This is because they can be absorbed directly from your mouth or gut without digestion.

A small amount of alcohol is used to help extract phytochemicals from the herbs in a tincture. This makes them very concentrated, so a little goes a long way. The alcohol also helps preserve the beneficial compounds. (75)

But, as with supplements in capsule form, not all herbal tinctures are created equally.

A tincture that contains stabilized molecular oxygen may help the herbal compounds reach your tissues and organs. This may support a deeper level of parasite cleansing.  

Moreover, adding humic acid extracts (carbon-based binders) to the tincture helps protect the herbs' integrity. Humic acid extracts also offer your cells nourishing support during your detox journey. (76)

Versatility of tinctures

A parasite-cleansing formula in tincture form also gives you greater versatility. This includes more flexibility in dosage and usage.

You can adjust your dose drop by drop. This can be especially helpful when taking a very potent anti-parasitic blend. You may need to start slow.

And, some people find tinctures easier to take since you don’t have to swallow a capsule.

Tinctures can also be used in different applications. You can use an herbal tincture as a sinus rinse. In contrast, capsules of dried herbs can only be taken internally.

Watch a short video that tells you more about this immune-supportive blend of herbs in tincture form for more information.

Tougher as a Team

If you need to take your parasite cleanse to the next level, consider a tincture of these seven potent herbs:

  • Sage
  • Tansy
  • Thyme
  • Epazote
  • Black walnut hulls
  • Holy basil
  • Clove bud

Studies suggest they may help combat parasites like blastocystis protozoans, strongyloides roundworms, and schistosoma flukes, among many others.

Combining the herbs with stabilized molecular oxygen and humic acid extracts help the active compounds reach your organ systems. This could help you outwit lingering parasites.

Moreover, taking these herbs in a blend of concentrated liquid extracts enables quick absorption. This may be the bold move the critters didn’t see coming.  

Are you ready to throw parasites a curveball? 
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