What are tapeworms?
Tapeworm infections are not that common in the United States. It can be hard to know when you have a tapeworm infection, but it is generally easy to treat with medications.
Besides medications, you can also get rid of tapeworms using natural home remedies.
Tapeworms are flat intestinal worms that enter the human body via foods contaminated with their eggs or worms. Once a tapeworm gets into your body, it attaches itself to the inner intestinal wall and feeds on the food you eat. Sometimes the tapeworms shed pieces of themselves which then come out in poop, and this poop may also contain some tapeworm eggs. If the poop is disposed of in soil or drinking water, it can infect other people and animals.
What causes tapeworm infections?
Tapeworm infections are caused by coming into contact with, or ingesting, tapeworm or their eggs. Tapeworm infections (Taeniasis) can be caused by either of three types of tapeworms:
- Pork tapeworm (Taenia solium)
- Beef tapeworm (Taenia saginata)
- Asian tapeworm (Taenia asiatica)
Humans get infected with the beef tapeworm after eating infected undercooked beef meat. Eating infected undercooked pig liver causes infection with the Asian tapeworm, but these do not have a severe impact on humans. You may get infected with pork tapeworm after eating raw or undercooked pork meat. This tapeworm infection may cause some serious symptoms.
If you ingest pork tapeworm eggs, they may develop into their larval stage while in your organs (human cysticercosis). These larvae develop in organs like the eyes, skin, muscles, and the central nervous system. When the tapeworm cysts infect the brain, the infection is called neurocysticercosis (NCC). This condition may lead to blindness, severe headache, convulsion, and seizures.
You may get a tapeworm infection if you:
- Eat raw or undercooked meats (pork, beef, or fish) that are infected with tapeworm
- Come into contact with feces that have tapeworm eggs
You can transfer tapeworm eggs onto surfaces or food if you don’t wash your hands properly after using the toilet. Surfaces like doorknobs and handles are common places that can spread tapeworm eggs.
Symptoms of tapeworm infestation
As mentioned earlier, most people with tapeworm infections don’t notice it. This is because most tapeworm infections don’t show symptoms.
You may experience:
If a child ingests tapeworm eggs, they may develop a tapeworm infection called cysticercosis. This occurs when the tapeworm eggs develop cysts in the child’s internal organs. If they grow in the brain, the child may have symptoms like seizures and behavioral changes. A severe case of cysticercosis may even lead to death.
Natural remedies for tapeworms
Garlic has antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties that can help get rid of parasitic worms and microbes in the body. Raw garlic contains sulfur (with amino acids) which keeps parasites from thriving. To get rid of tapeworms, eat three cloves of garlic (raw) every day on an empty stomach for a week. Another way is to boil two cloves in half a cup of milk and drink it on an empty stomach for a week.
Papaya has some anthelmintic properties when unripe. This is because of the latex it produces, which contains a lot of papain enzymes. This enzyme is responsible for killing intestinal worms. Besides the unripe papaya, its seeds also effectively expel intestinal worms.
Mix three or four tablespoons of hot water with one tablespoon of raw papaya juice and honey to kill tapeworms. Take it on an empty stomach, and two hours later, drink a glass of warm milk mixed with castor oil. Do this for two or three days, and you’ll be tapeworm free. Use half of this dosage if the treatment is for a child.
Neem has anti-parasitic properties that make it effective against every type of intestinal worm. It’s a natural method of getting rid of parasites while also getting rid of toxins from the body.
To get rid of intestinal worms (including tapeworms), mix a teaspoon of dried neem leaf powder with warm water or milk and drink twice a day for one week.
Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial solution for intestinal worms. In addition to killing intestinal worms, it can also be effective against nausea, gassiness, bloating, and abdominal pain. Getting these symptoms can be an indication that you have intestinal worms.
To kill any tapeworms, make some juice from turmeric (raw) and mix one teaspoon with a pinch of salt and drink it every morning for one week. Always drink it before eating anything. Another option is to use turmeric powder. Mix half a teaspoon of the powder into half a cup of water and add a pinch of salt. Then drink this on an empty stomach for five days.
Cloves effectively get rid of intestinal worms and parasitic eggs with their antiseptic, anti-parasitic, and bactericidal properties. These properties also make it good at preventing new infestations from occurring.
To get rid of intestinal worms:
- Mix one cup of hot water with a teaspoon of freshly ground clove powder and cover.
- Let it sleep for about 10 to 20 minutes.
- Drink it thrice a day for one week.
Other natural remedies for parasitic worms include:
- Curled mint
- Black walnuts
- Oregon grape
How to prevent tapeworm infections:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet or touching soil and before eating or handling food.
- If you are in a place without proper toilets and a sewerage system, only drink boiled or bottled water.
- Make sure to deworm your pets regularly.
- Properly dispose of pet poop.
- Always wash raw fruits and vegetables before consumption.
- Take care not to let children play around with pet poop.
- Avoid eating raw fruit and vegetables in high-risk areas.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats.
- Avoid walking barefoot in high-risk places.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Academy of Pediatrics: "Tapeworms."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Parasites - Taeniasis."
Gapeli: "Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Intestinal Worms In No Time."
KidsHealth: "What Is a Tapeworm Infection?"
Mount Sinai: "Intestinal parasites."
NHS: "Worms in humans."
World Health Organization: "Taeniasis/cysticercosis."
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