top of page
Parasite Cleanse Article in Preferred Health Magazine

By Lauren Keating

Under the full moon, an invasion of creepy, crawly critters makes their presence known—in your body. This isn’t a science fiction movie. It’s a very real and skin-crawling issue of intestinal parasites. 
   It may start with bloating and unexplained digestive problems. It may progress to severe fatigue, brain fog, 
weight loss, joint pain, and a rash or rectal itch. These are not the signs of a poor diet or stress, but rather symptoms of having parasites. 

Down The Wormhole: Digging Into Intestinal Parasites 
While everyone has good—and oftentimes bad—bacteria, it’s not “normal” to have parasites. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 25 percent of the world’s population has intestinal parasite infections. The CDC cites that more than 60 million people in the U.S. have parasites. 
   “People usually just think third world country, or bad water in Mexico, but parasites are very common in America,” Dr Alicia Armitstead, nutrition response testing practitioner at Healing Arts NYC said. 
    Causes of intestinal parasites include living with pets or consuming unwashed fruits and vegetables, raw meat, and sushi. 
   “The Japanese know - that is why sushi comes with ginger and wasabi,” Dr. Armitstead said. “That's to kill the parasites not because they like spice and they want to clean their palate with ginger.” 
    Kids often can get parasites due to poor hygiene such as not properly washing their hands or attending day care centers. Other risk factors include international travel to an area that has parasites or poor sanitation. Common intestinal parasites include Giardia, pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and liver flukes. 

Parasite Problems: Serious Illnesses
The problem is that parasite infections are often undiagnosed and testing for them is often inaccurate. But parasites should not go untreated. Some parasites are highly carcinogenic. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, experimental animal studies that examined the parasite-cancer relationship found that parasites can cause cancer and even stimulate cancer development. 
  Parasitic worms have also been linked to hypothyroidism. The parasites reduce the thyroid glands' hormone production. Another study found that Graves’ disease was linked to helminth parasites. 

Stranger Things: Treating Parasites 
Dr. Armitstead, who has been working in nutrition for 18 years, said the protocols her practice recommends are not just medicine but herbs like black walnuts and clove. Nothing is dangerous to take, but she said it is possible to take too high of a dose. This is why it’s important to consult a physician to follow a protocol under their direction and guidance. 
   “I feel like it's my job to make them feel better,” Dr. Armitstead said. Some people experience detox symptoms from a parasite cleanse. This is known as a Herxheimer reaction, or in layman's terms, a die-off reaction. This can include fever, chills, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, or rashes. 
   Those who experience these symptoms may not feel well because they are taking an incorrect dosage of supplements or may be taking the wrong supplements. 
   Dr. Armitstead said most people come to Healing Arts NYC because of severe bloating, pain with bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or both. If parasites are the cause, she then puts them on a personalized protocol. In general, this would start with a four-week cleanse and then reassess. The length of a cleanse depends on whether a person has had parasites for three months versus three years. It may take longer to kill them off, so she recommends staying with the cleanse for three months. 
   “Parasites are more active at night. So, the herbs should be taken at that time. Which I think a lot of people miss sometimes when they're doing their parasite cleanse.” 
   While some parasites are more active at nighttime, not all parasites lay eggs. For example, microscopic parasites like flukes and nematodes do not. And to further go down the wormhole, their reproductive cycles timed to the full moon, making them the most active then. 
   “Western medicine doesn't understand it,” said. Dr. Armitstead, “But they have more ER doctors staffed at the full moon, police activity is more active during a full moon. There are reasons why for sure. People's biochemistry is going crazy.” 
   The full moon is an ideal time to expel parasites because this is their active cycle. Studies report that serotonin impacts the behavior of the parasites, which increases during the full moon. It's then that we see an increase in mobility as they release toxins. 
   While some may experience itchiness or other symptoms during a full moon, symptoms may subside after—especially after starting a cleanse. Dr. Armitstead called it “tricky” to treat parasites because in the first three weeks of a cleanse, a person may start feeling better. But parasites may come back because either they didn’t expel them all or because eggs hatch. Cleanses need to be repeated to get rid of the eggs. 
    "Sometimes with the bigger parasites you need to go on it a cleanse and then you need to go off of it,” she said. She recommends taking the supplements five days on, and two days off. “Keep hitting it and then not hitting it because they're smart. They know that they're being hit, so then they'll throw a cocoon around themselves, and then they'll wait for you to stop attacking.” 

When treating parasites, it’s common to see the critters come out in bowel movements as the body kills them and breaks them down. This is a sign the cleanse is working. However, some people don’t see anything. But that doesn’t mean it’s not working. These can be microscopic parasites and some people may not have the stomach for searching through their waste. 
   With a parasite cleanse, it’s important to include binders in their protocol. “You have the herbs to kill, and then you need the binders to get the dead stuff out,” she said. 
   Activated charcoal is an example of an effective binder, though Dr. Armitstead has four different charcoals she gives to patients based on their specific needs. Without using a binder, mucus builds up in the gut and the toxins remain. 
  “Now, parasites come in, and they eat,” she said. “They eat our good bacteria, they eat our food, they eat heavy metal, they eat Candida. So then when you're killing it whatever toxins the parasites are holding, start spilling into the gut. It can get messy, but the toxins they're holding can be bound to the charcoal.” 

Detoxing: Eliminate The Heavy Metal, The Critters Will Come Out  
Some people prefer doing heavy metal detox before a parasite cleanse because it’s believed the parasites hide behind these heavy metals. But Dr. Armitstead said to jump right into herb supplements to fight the parasites and then do a heavy metal detox during or after the cleansing cycle. 
   She said that it’s really hard to get rid of parasites completely without a heavy metal cleanse as well. “If I eat sushi tonight, in a healthy body, my body should just take care of any parasites. If I have heavy metal in me though, that allows the parasites to stay.” 
   Heavy metals are everywhere from the lead in car exhaust or the water supply from lead pipes in older homes. Metal fillings from the dentist, mercury in new light bulbs, canned food and soda, bags of chips with aluminum-coated packaging—even laundry detergent and deodorant. According to Armitstead, vaccines no longer have mercury but do include aluminum. 
   Our kitchen is full of aluminum from baking sheets to using aluminum foil when cooking. Instead, use parchment paper to avoid this. Stainless steel pots and pans also are safe to use. 
Try to buy glass bottles of drinks, but choose plastic over cans when glass isn’t an option for seltzers and sodas. 

   It’s important to get the Lymph nodes stimulated before a cleanse. Do a lymph massage with dry brushing and castor oil. Rebounding, exercise, red light therapy, castor oil packs, acupuncture, and colonics are all recommended to help expel parasites. 
   If one person in a household has a parasite infection, then chances are the entire family does too. Maybe everyone ate the same food, or the family dog caught worms. Sometimes a person goes on vacation and brings it home. It’s also possible to be a silent carrier with no symptoms. Everyone in the household should detox to prevent parasites from coming back. 

   Parasites aren’t spread through respiration like viruses or bacteria, but rather from using the same bathroom. Because cleanses include natural herbs, it’s generally safe for kids to take. However, follow the advice of a doctor. Dr. Armitstead doesn’t recommend young children under the age of 10 from a cleanse because of the potency of the herbs and their guts not being mature. Instead, she recommends going a more homeostatic route. 

Perfect Parasite Cleanse Products   
There are pharmaceutical drugs that will treat intestinal parasites. However, some prefer to go a more natural route and seek alternative therapy. 
   Recommendations for nutrition and supplements to get rid of parasites include raw garlic, pomegranate, beets, carrots, papaya seeds, turmeric, sage, honey, pumpkin seeds, peppermint tea, and milk thistle. Multivitamins, probiotics, kimchi, kiefer, kombucha, marshmallow herb, cranberry, and slippery elm are also great for pathway drainage support. Focus on increasing vitamin C and zinc. 
   It’s also important to follow a clean diet while on a cleanse, avoiding sugar since parasites love sugar. Those with light symptoms may just need to avoid fruits and desserts, whereas those with chronic symptoms may need to follow a strict diet. 
Herbs often used to treat parasites include garlic, barberry, anise, and wormwood.  
Parasites or not, it’s recommended to do cleanses and detoxes at least once a year. 
   It’s also important to focus on liver and colon health to make sure the body is naturally detoxifying. 

But can these parasites then swim around to a different organ once stirred up when starting a cleanse? 
Dr. Armitstead said taking the herbs will not cause them to move from organ to organ. However, if a person has a leaky gut, they can move through the intestinal wall and essentially move anywhere in the body. 
   This is a terrifying thought, but treatment can still be effective. It just might mean a longer cleanse of about nine months compared to the general three weeks to three months for intestinal parasite elimination. 
   Thinking of parasites can remind us of the movie The Thing with some invasive species using us as hosts. But try to think of it instead as Avatar, with a more earth connection approach. These worms and microscopic creatures exist. When treating our bodies with care and commonly detoxing from the harmful chemicals we are exposed to, we can all live healthier lives with balance–without parasites thriving inside us. 

Dr. Armitstead knew from a young age her mission in life: to give the joy of health to others.

This mission ultimately became one of the founding principles of Healing Arts Chiropractic and Nutrition Response Testing®. Before opening the practice in 2006, she earned her Bachelor’s of Science and Doctor of Chiropractic degrees from the University of Bridgeport and University of Bridgeport Chiropractic College. At this time she was certified in Applied Kinesiology.  She is one of only a handful of practitioners in New York City to be certified as a Master in Nutrition Response Testing.
To help patients achieve health in mind, body and Spirit she uses a technique called PSYCH-K to neurologically change patients' brain pathways when it comes to their belief systems to help them achieve a joyful and healthy life.

bottom of page