The thought of being infected by worms can be a little creepy, but you’d be surprised how common intestinal worm infections are in the United States. And pinworm is the most common cause of these infections. Children below the age of 18, people who care for infected children, and institutionalized people are most likely to get infected. And in these groups of people, rates of infection can be as high as 50%.1
The offenders here are thin, small, white worms that can live in your rectum or colon. If you’re infected by this parasite, the female worms can come out of the intestine through the anus and deposit eggs on the skin nearby while you sleep. This can cause symptoms like itching around the anal region, trouble sleeping, and restlessness. However, these symptoms can be mild. In some cases, people who are infected may not even experience any symptoms. Pinworms spread by being transferred from the anus to the mouth. This can
Home Remedies For Pinworms
It’s important to note that pinworms can be highly contagious. So people who live with or are involved in caring for the infected person should also be treated at the same time to keep the infection from passing back and forth. Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines are available to treat this infection. If you are also looking for natural remedies available at home or based on herbs, here’s what you’ll find useful. As always, do check with your doctor before using these herbal remedies.2
Wormwood, as suggested by the name, has been traditionally used to treat intestinal worms. Thujone, a toxic chemical present in it, is thought to be responsible for its anthelmintic activity.3
How to use: You can make a tea by steeping half to one teaspoon of this herb in a cup of boiling water for around 10 to 15 minutes. Some experts suggest taking around 3 cups of wormwood tea a day. Do keep in mind though that thujone, the chemical responsible for the worm expelling properties of wormwood, is toxic in large quantities so this remedy should not be used for a period longer than 4 weeks. It is also not recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. And do check in with your doctor before using it for children.4
The root of the stemona plant has long been used in traditional medicine to treat a pinworm infestation. The complex alkaloids present in these roots are thought to be responsible for its beneficial effects.
How to use: Stemona can be used as an enema to treat pinworms. It can also be used as a suppository in children. Try inserting two suppositories a night, a couple of
You may already know that garlic has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects. But did you know that this spice can kill intestinal parasites too? Garlic can be used to treat not just pinworm but roundworm and hookworm too. The organosulfur compound allicin which is produced when garlic is crushed or diced works against these worms.6
How to use: Mince up two raw cloves of garlic finely and swallow it daily with water. This remedy is safe to use for children.7
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have been traditionally used to deal with intestinal parasites. There is some preliminary research that suggests that curcurbitin, a compound present in these seeds, have antiparasitic properties.8
How to use: Try consuming 12 ounces of pumpkin seeds after fasting for 12 hours. It’s thought to be helpful to follow this up with warms drinks after an hour. 9
Carrots are a common traditional remedy for pinworms. According to herbalists, the vitamin A and beta carotene present in carrots may provide resistance against the larvae. And though there doesn’t seem to be any scientific evidence to back up the power of carrots to clean your intestines, they’re safe to use whether you’re a toddler or an adult.10
How to use: You can drink carrot juice or eat grated carrots.
6. Papaya Seeds
Papaya seeds have antihelminthic properties. One study found that when children were given a blended solution of air dried papaya seeds and honey, various intestinal parasites were cleared through their stool. It is worth noting that chemicals such as benzyl isothiocyanate and papain present
How to use: You can snack on papaya seeds. Try them with a little honey to sweeten the deal.
Preventing Infection And Reinfection
Since pinworms are highly contagious, it is important to adopt certain hygiene measures to prevent its spread and stop reinfection after treatment.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Keeping your hands clean is the most effective way of preventing a pinworm infection. This means washing your hands properly with warm water and soap after going to the toilet, changing nappies, and before touching food. Also remember to keep your nails short and clean. And do take the time to teach children how to wash their hands properly. Here’s how you do it:
- Wet your hands with running water, apply soap, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry.
- It’s important to lather between your fingers, under the nails, and on the backs of your hands.
- You also
Shower And Change
Showering in the morning and changing your underwear every day helps remove a large number of pinworm eggs. It’s better to avoid soaking in a bath as bath water may get contaminated.
Clean Clothing And Bedding
Frequently changing items like towels, night clothes, and bedding which can be contaminated by pinworms or eggs can help prevent reinfection. Launder these items in hot water to kill parasites.13
|↑1||Parasites – Enterobiasis (also known as Pinworm Infection). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑2, ↑13||Pinworm Infection FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑3||Bone, Kerry. “Spring cleaning? What about intestinal parasites?(Phytotherapy Review & Commentary).” Townsend
|↑4||Wormwood. University of Michigan.|
|↑5||BONE, KERRY, and MICHELLE MORGAN. “Herbal Treatment for Intestinal Parasites.”|
|↑6||Garlic. University of Michigan.|
|↑7||Rubin, Jordan. The Great Physician’s Rx for Heartburn and Acid Reflux. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2007.|
|↑8||Pumpkin Seed. Winchester
|↑9||Hershoff, Asa. Herbal Remedies: A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies. Penguin, 2001.|
|↑10||Tait, Yvonne. Your Health, Your Vitality, Your Choice: An Interlude with an Esoteric Herbalist. Balboa Press, 2016.|
|↑11||Okeniyi, John AO, Tinuade A. Ogunlesi, Oyeku A. Oyelami, and Lateef A. Adeyemi. “Effectiveness of dried Carica papaya seeds against human intestinal parasitosis: a pilot study.” Journal of medicinal food 10, no. 1 (2007): 194-196.|
|↑12||When & How to Wash Your Hands. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|