So let’s start by saying that I’m not an expert in parasite cleansing and I’m not a doctor and I don’t pretend to play one on TV. But I do currently have parasites and I’m in the process of doing a parasite cleanse right now… AFTER spending the last few years doing a decent amount of research on the absolute best route. Also, I should add: You probably have parasites too. We all do. It’s part of being a human on this diverse planet. So if you never thought about or looking to parasite cleansing, well, this year might be a good time to start.

I opened up a question forum on instagram the other day so you guys could ask me all the questions. Most of you guys wanted to know WHY I was doing a parasite cleanse and HOW I was doing it. So we’re mostly going to talk about that. But there a lot of other personal questions that I can give you guys answers for that might be useful. Of course, at the end of the day, the best thing you can do for yourself is research for yourself! I never go into anything for myself without some major research first! Need a medical procedure? Research it. Doctor offering you a steroid or other type of shot? Research it. Going to start taking a new medication or even a supplement? Research it. IT’S YOUR BODY! K? Good talk.

In general, parasite cleansing is relatively safe, but like any detox, there can be side effects and it’s best to get into the process prepared. It’s good to know what you can expect, and the best methods to make the process work as easily as it can for you and your body. Because like anything and everything in life, our bodies are our own and react to things differently. So you gotta figure out what’s best FOR YOU! So let’s chat about it!

How do you know you have parasites?

Well, basically everyone has parasites. That’s how I know. If you eat meat or fish, have walked barefoot, have traveled, if you’ve ever had food poisoning, or eat raw food (salad, fruit, whatever), then chances are you too can be guaranteed to have parasites in your gut.

But more than that, I know because I got really ill from the water in Nepal (non-stop vomiting, cramping, and a three-day fever) and I have had colon inflammation/stricture issues since then. So for me, a parasite cleanse was LONG overdue. I’m not 100% sure about what type of parasites I have, but if I had to guess, it’s probably giardia that’s causing me the bulk of these issues since our trip.

I also did blood analysis testing last year and I was able to see first hand the parasites swimming around in my bloodstream. Yes, parasites not only live in your gut– but can live in all parts of your body– your bloodstream, your liver, your head, and more. Technically even headlice is a parasite. You could even consider fungus a parasite too– meaning your dandruff is partly parasite. But we don’t need to go there. Let’s talk about the parasites that are specifically swimming in your body, ya?


*The video above was the first blood analysis test I did a year ago. I recently did another one and I’m happy to report that the fibrin in my blood is clearing out. But the giardia was not. There weren’t too many more parasites the second time, but definitely more noticeable giardia bugs in there. Womp. I’ll talk more about clearing out my blood in my longer detox post later 🙂  You can read my first big detox post HERE. Also I want to mention that blood analysis can be good for understanding a lot of problems in your body, but if you’re looking specifically for parasites, then blood analysis testing isn’t a great indicator because most parasites will live primarily in your digestive tract, not your blood. 

What were your symptoms? What are some common parasite symptoms?

While everyone has parasites, many people are symptom-free. We can all live happily and healthily with a few parasites in our bodies. This is obviously great news. I definitely have/have had parasite symptoms. Before Nepal, I’d get random colon flare-ups with trigger foods (gluten mostly), but after getting sick in Nepal, these flare-ups became unbearably painful. Anytime my stomach would flare, my colon would get so swollen that it would push against my ribs in the most painful way. There would be so much pressure from my colon that I would have these unbearable aches down my left leg, especially when lying down. I felt this colon pressure within a few days of getting sick in Nepal and it has continued on and off since. So there was obviously an issue for me there.

Now, those are pretty extreme symptoms. Not everyone’s symptoms will be that bad. Marlowe and Alex have also both suffered from parasites with much lesser symptoms.

Some common symptoms of parasites  are:
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • digestive complaints
  • weight loss
  • teeth grinding
  • rashes
  • itching rectum (especially at night)
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • anemia
  • heartburn
  • lethargy
  • agitation
  • allergies
  • weakened immune system
  • and so much more!

Marlowe and Alex both came back from our last Guatemala trip with some digestive complaints. Both were pretty bloated and a bit gassy. They both had a serious loss of appetite too. And Marlowe, someone who NEVER gets sick, started catching a lot of small colds. It was frustrating for sure to have our kid, a kid who never gets sick, start catching things everywhere. She also began to get random rashes that would come, then disappear shortly a few hours later.

So both Alex and Marlowe did a parasite cleanse. Alex started feeling amazing and had so much more energy after a few weeks. And Marlowe’s appetite came back and she hasn’t gotten a cold or a rash since. I’ll talk more about what cleanses they used below. We’re all using different methods.

So again, symptoms vary. Neither one of them got really sick in Guatemala (no vomiting, no diarrhea, nothing), but both came home with minor complaints and inconvenient, but not-serious health issues. I got REALLY sick in Nepal and came back with some really offbeat and extreme complaints. Aka, I should have stopped procrastinating and cleansed A LONG time ago! There are different degrees of parasites, obviously.

How do you know if you need to parasite cleanse?

For us, we knew we needed to cleanse because we started developing symptoms after recent travel trips to developing countries. And while we are usually somewhat careful to drink clean water and wash our food when traveling and wash most of our produce we buy abroad, we also aren’t extremists when it comes to bacteria. There are good bacteria in the world that we need! Without bacteria, we’d all be dead. A diverse microbiome of healthy bacteria is what keeps your immune system strong and your mood thriving. Over-washing isn’t the answer. So from time to time, we might get more parasite exposure than we’re hoping for. Honestly, given our lifestyle and travel location choices, we should (and probably will from here on out) all do annual parasite cleansing.

Depending on where your parents or grandparents grew up, they probably did annual parasite cleansing. I know both my mother and stepmother did regular parasite cleansing (Colombia and the Dominican Republic). Honestly, I’m not sure why we’re not raised with regular parasite cleansing anymore. I think perhaps we just live in denial with our current processed food system. For real, if you’re eating raw food or any sort of animal products, you’re dealing with worms, parasites, and more. And while some can be killed in cooking, much of it cant.

I can’t tell you that you NEED to do a cleanse. That’s totally up to you. But there’s a good chance most people would benefit from one. But you gotta trust your gut (really though). But like I said, most of us are exposed to parasites daily. If you don’t have an extremely alkaline diet or ridiculously strong microbiome, or if you’ve got heavy metals in your system (vaccines, mercury fillings, whatever), chances are you need to kill some buggers.

Why bother to detox if we all have them and we can get them from everything?

Well, since so many of us have parasites already and are living just fine, many of us may not necessarily NEED to cleanse. Cleansing is optional… as all choices in life are optional. Going to the gym is optional, drinking clean water is optional, getting fresh air and sunshine is optional, eating unprocessed food is optional. Ya know? If you’re totally symptom-free and feel great, well, that’s amazing! (Seriously though). For me, I knew some level of parasite cleansing would be part of my detox and healing protocol. On most days my gut is fine. But sometimes it flairs. I’m hoping to parasite cleanse to lesson the flares and the symptoms of flares.

No amount of detox and cleansing is going to get rid of all my (or your) parasites. It’s just not possible. While it would be amazing to have a 100% clean and pure body, that’s just not attainable since we’ll all be exposed to parasites and toxins every single day anyway. We don’t live in a bubble, you know? (Thank god!)  But my goal isn’t to remove them all completely. My goal is to lessen my load so that I can feel better than I did yesterday. And I think this goal is highly achievable, even with a light parasite detox.

How do you do a parasite cleanse?

Well! There are A LOT of natural herbs and foods that kill parasites! Even eating raw pumpkin seeds can help to kill parasites. Papaya is another great one! Eating the fruit, juicing the leaves, or grinding up the seeds to consume will help kill off buggers! Read more all about papaya HERE.  Again there are a lot of methods and you can go super heavy or super light. I’m cautiously sticking somewhere in the middle.  I could go a bit heavier on the cleanse, but I’m not wanting to deal with a super heavy detox right now.

For most, a month of daily detoxing can kill off a good bit. Marlowe and Alex both did a month. I plan to go a bit longer, but I also am doing a lighter cleanse, slowly, step by step, adding in each new herb.

Also: When you do a parasite cleanse matters. We’re all cyclical beings, circling around the rhythm of the moon. With that in mind, it’s said that the best time to start a cleanse is in relation to a parasite’s life cycle. When’s that? Ideally, you’ll start your cleanse about four days before the full moon. And end it about four days after the next full moon.

Foods + herbs that kill parasites:

Please note: each herb + protocol varies, for instance, it’s not recommended to take oil of oregano for longer than two weeks. It can be highly damaging to the liver. Please research each herb before considering. Also, it should be pretty obvious, but if you have a tree nut allergy you need to avoid black walnut.

These are individual herbs and plants that treat parasites. Most would recommend taking some wort of wormwood, black walnut, and clove combination to start. But if you’re not interested in figuring out your own combination, then there are plenty of pre-fabricated cleanses you can take. I went with a ready-made cleanse for Marlowe– just because I felt safer with the dosing that way. For myself, I’m doing my own mix of herbs.

Some complete parasite cleanses herbal protocol kits:
  • Scram
  • You can find tinctures of both wormwood + black walnut. Though I’d suggest adding some clove tea to your day too.
  • OR these capsules are great if you can’t get through the bitter taste of herbs or are abstaining from alcohol. Black walnut doesn’t taste like much, but wormwood can be a bit intense.
  • This Parasmart cleanse kit is amazing. I’d probably go this route next time.
  • This is another great kit. I like it because it has what you need, but not too many ingredients either. I like to keep ingredients that I’ve never tried before to a minimum
Parasite cleanses for kids:

Again, you can make your own mixture based on weight. But I went ahead about bought this tincture for Marlowe. I liked that it had herbs I knew very well and that it was already dosed for her size. It has a weird peach taste, but she was able to get it down in a glass of whatever. You could also mix with a smoothie or juice. There is also this option for kids with fewer ingredients.

How do I choose the best parasite cleanse for me?

Well, for me, I liked the idea of buying tinctures separately so I could adjust the dosage of each as necessary. This also meant if side-effects were too strong with one tincture, then I could take less of it and more of the other one. But if you don’t feel comfortable playing with the dosages for yourself, then I suggest buying one of the ready-made kits I linked above. The most important thing is reading and understanding the ingredients so you can proceed safely.

What herbs/ protocol did you take to parasite cleanse?

Like I mentioned, I’m making mine as I go but a rough breakdown:

  • 2 weeks of wormwood (twice daily)
  • 1 week of black walnut (twice daily)
  • 2 weeks of wormwood AND black walnut (1 dose of wormwood and 2 doses of black walnut– I sleep better this way)
  • and I’m not there yet, but I plan on adding in goldenseal soon for another 2 weeks or so.
  • I also drink clove tea (when I remember).

Then I’ll take a break for at least a month and decide where to go from there 🙂 Again, this is a super light detox for me. I don’t want to overdo it while healing 🙂

Other herbs and supplements to take while cleansing:

Certain herbs and cleanses may affect your healthy gut bacteria while killing off the bad bacteria + parasites. So if you end up taking something with let’s say, oregano, olive leaf, garlic, or other broad-spectrum killing herbs, you may way to consider adding in a probiotic to your routine, at least while cleansing and maybe for a bit afterward. I still take a daily probiotic anyway, so I didn’t need to shift anything. But I did add a kid’s probiotic supplement into Marlowe’s diet while she took the cleanse and we added more miso soup + miso dressing to our life too.

Probiotics to add in while cleansing:

Making sure your bowels are moving is one of the most important things when detoxing. Not just for parasite cleansing, but for all cleansing. So I’d highly suggest you work on getting your bowel movements regular before you start. You should be going to the bathroom a minimum of once a day. 1-3 times a day should be your goal (even without cleansing). When parasite cleansing you may notice you get more constipated or even suffer a bit of diarrhea. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself get constipated. You’ll feel AWFUL. Drink more water and consider adding an intestinal mover and maybe enzymes too.

Intestinal movers:
  • Intestinal mover
  • This one is an intestinal mover with a bit of parasite cleansing herbs in there. Might be a great place to start a light detox 🙂
  • Mimosa pudica is great for clearing out the intestinal tract it’s known as a “gut scruber”
  • Digestive enzymes are great to help break down food and improve digestion to move things through!
  • Liquid magnesium is also an amazing supplement to help move your bowels. And most people are actually deficient in it. It’s something I’d highly suggest looking into. I take it daily.
  • You could also consider doing magnesium salt foot soaks or baths 🙂 Relaxing and helpful 🙂

You can also see another post on gut-healing herbs and supplements HERE.

Do you have to change your diet when parasite cleansing?

Yes and no. Any parasite cleanse kit will tell you that you don’t have to. The reality is that the parasites will die either way if you’re taking the right herbs. But I think you should def. consider your diet when parasite cleansing. Eating the right foods will only help you detox quicker and easier with less die-off side effects. So no, you don’t have to. But if you want the process to go smoother, then consider cutting out processed foods, gluten, dairy, meats, or any high fat or high protein foods. Consuming toxins will only make detoxing more difficult. Always remember that your body is constantly trying to process all the junk in our lives. So being mindful of what you consume and how you live while doing any sort of detox is important. If you could juice through the process, well that would be the ultimate detox for sure! No matter what you do, make sure you’re drinking loads of water to flush the die-off toxins out!!

I’ve been aiming to eat mostly raw and juice as often as I can. But I break up the raw days with a cooked meal because switching to all raw or all fruit too fast could make your detox go quicker than you’d like. Slow and steady will help you detox without feeling like complete death from die-off symptoms.

See more of what I eat HERE.

Do you lose weight when you parasite cleanse?

The only weight loss that could come would be if you had decided to clean up your diet while in the parasite cleansing process. Otherwise, you’re not losing weight unless you magically expel a five-pound worm. Heh.

What are the side effects you’re experiencing? (Die-off symptoms). What side effects are typical when parasite cleansing?

So, all things considered, I think my die-off symptoms have been pretty light and definitely easy to handle! I’m pretty sure this is just due to my diet. If I ate how I did ten years ago, I imagine die-off symptoms would be exponentially more difficult! So yeah, the symptoms I’ve had, haven’t been bad. Though some have been weird! Not super surprising but weird.

My symptoms so far:

The first day I had extreme itching. Then the following two weeks I got on and off sharp headaches that would last thirty seconds to two minutes. Stomach bloating on and off for sure. I also had A LOT of insomnia and I would feel REALLY hot and sweat more. As well as frequent urination. I think the last few symptoms were more a side effect of the wormwood than the parasites dying though. The itching and headaches we’re definitely die off though! Since I added black walnut to my cleanse, I’ve had weird blood sugar drops. I notice it mostly in yoga class where my blood sugar feels like its dropping, but then by the end of class, I’m totally fine. So it’s not actually my blood sugar, just a weird feeling from the cleanse! Other than that I’ve been a bit nauseous when I take the herbs… but that’s it.

Oh! And the weirdest side effect I’ve noticed? A sunburn! It only lasts a few hours, but if I go out in the sun for an hour or two, then my skin gets red and hot! Now, I know that’s common for some people, but definitely not for me. The only true sunburn I’ve ever got is still the one on my butt. This one has been strange for sure. But not really strange at the same time? I’m a believer that sunburns are caused when your body can’t process the sun’s radiation due to the liver and toxin overload. So it’s not surprising for me that I would get a sunburn in the middle of my body trying to process die-off toxins. It’s just too overloaded to handle the sun right now. Theory yes, but one I strongly believe in.

I’ve also had a good bit of acne popping up on my body. Worse in the beginning and it’s slowly getting better now. Oh and body odor too. Some days are fine, but some days I was telling people, “I’m sorry I smell bad I’m detoxing”. Oh and I’ve been on and off moody and agitated too. (Sorry). So my list is long with symptoms… but they’ve all been really tolerable for sure. Nothing that can keep me from everyday life.

Common parasite die-off symptoms and cleansing side effects:
  • stomach cramping
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • joint pain
  • body aches
  • fever
  • acne
  • insomnia
  • mood swings
  • depression/sadness

Can I parasite cleanse while pregnant? Can I detox while breastfeeding?

I don’t know, probably not. I’d suggest doing it before or after. Unless you were being completely attacked, you can probably just wait without problems. But you know, check with your doctor.

What does your poop look like?

(Skip this section if you don’t want to get too personal with my poop.)

It’s great, thanks for asking! Haha. Well, let’s talk about poop. You should be having 1 to 3 easy to evacuate, long, solid, and not too hard poops every day. If I’m being honest, the first week was super weird because I was doing enemas every day to try to move stuff out quicker. I hate doing enemas though, so I stopped after the week. Since adding the black walnut, I’ve been going to the bathroom more, and it’s a bit sticky? But overall it’s not THAT different. Just a bit all over the place sometimes. I’m trying to not get too descriptive and weird you guys out too much, k?

Are you seeing them (parasites) come out?

I’m not sure. The first two days I took the cleanse + did the enemas my poop was WEIRD. And I’m pretty certain, but not completely that it was a lot of stuff purging out. But you never know, you know? Unless you’re getting out a massively long worm, it’s hard to tell. And sometimes, I’m just not sure if I’m seeing worms or salad stems.

The reality is that at least 70% + of parasites are not visible to the human eye. So if you’re worried about stuff coming out, you’ve got a good chance you won’t see anything.  I know a good bit of people who have had personal experiences with worms coming out, but they’re all totally fine and not-traumatized. So you’ll probably be fine too.

Honestly, I think when cleansing, people often secretly hope to see worms, because it shows it’s working. I don’t care either way, but I’d be fine if a 2-foot worm came out. The stories I’ve heard from the people who have experienced this have felt SIGNIFICANTLY better once those beasts have been removed.

Why bother to detox if we all have them and we can get them from everything?

Well, you might feel better. It’s like when I went from vegetarian to vegan… I thought: “Why bother to give up dairy if I feel fine?”. Then within a month of giving up dairy I was like, “Holy crap, I didn’t know I could feel this good!” Most of us don’t realize how good we could feel if we made the right changes. We’re just too stagnant. But small shifts can make a big difference in overall health and mood.

If you feel fine, then you’re fine. But if you’re feeling like something is up and your gut, immune system, or mood isn’t functioning as well as you’d like, then maybe consider doing a cleanse. (and obviously improving your diet to a diverse high probiotic plant-based diet would be huge. nudge nudge).

Again, you don’t have to do a cleanse. I’m definitely not here to convince you to do it. I’m only sharing my personal experience with parasites and cleansing. But it’s good to keep in mind that if we were living out in nature we would be eating a large variety of parasites killing plants and herbs. And our ancestors routinely parasite-cleansed as well. It’s only been a few generations back that it’s been fading out.

What will you name your baby worms? (This one was from my mother btw).

I’ve named all my baby worms, “mom”, mom.

How do I know if I have parasites?

Well, you do. (haha). But you could try a stool test if you’d like. But most tests are crazy inaccurate. It’s seriously mind-boggling to me how inefficient doctors’ tests are. For this one, you just kind of have to go with your gut. Even without the blood analysis video, I *knew* I had parasites. Do you have gut troubles? Mood troubles? Do you feel extra weird around and during the full moon? I know these questions might seem silly, but they’re good indicators of what might be living in your gut.

You might never have a 100% clear answer on what’s happening in your body. doctors couldn’t tell me crap about what was happening in my body. I had to spend years researching to understand where my symptoms were stemming from. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get to know yourself intimately. Everything is connected. You’re not separate from your internal or external body. Learn how you are connected to everything, and the answers will become clearer than ever before.

Alright friends. This post is obviously ridiculously long! But I hope this post answers your questions and helps you out in some way! Again, I’m not a doctor, I just want to share my experience with you guys 🙂 If you have more questions, ask below and I ‘ll get to em 🙂 Cheers!

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