Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by a parasitic protozoa known as Giardia lamblia. You can get giardiasis by drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, or coming into contact with someone who has the infection. The symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, gas and nausea. Conventional treatment, such as metronidazole and tinidazole, do not work for everyone and they can have unpleasant side effects. Herbal home remedies for giardiasis may help eliminate the parasite and improve symptoms. Consult your healthcare practitioner before starting herbal therapy.
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Herbs for giardiasis can work in different ways to inhibit the growth or reproduction of the parasite. Some stimulate the production of enzymes that can kill the parasite. Other herbs trigger an immune response that allows the body to fight the parasite naturally. Although these herbs are readily available as home remedies, they contain potent chemicals, so check with a knowledgeable practitioner for advice about dosage and preparation.
Oregon grape, or Mahonia aquifolium, is a North American evergreen shrub with clusters of purple berries. Herbalists use the fruits and roots to treat psoriasis, indigestion, poor lymph drainage and chronic constipation. The plant is rich in berberine, a yellow alkaloid active against Giardia lamblia. In their 2000 book, “The Herbal Drugstore,” Dr. Linda B. White and medicinal plant expert Steven Foster recommend using a tincture or capsules to treat giardiasis. However, do not use this herb if you have chronic gastrointestinal problems.
Garlic, or Allium sativa, is an ancient herb with a long history of medicinal use. Garlic cloves are a traditional remedy for a range of disorders, including high cholesterol, upper respiratory infections and hypertension. An article by Jason Hawrelak, N.D., published in the 2003 issue of “Alternative Medicine Review” states that garlic inhibits the mobility of Giardia lamblia and its ability to adhere to human cells. Garlic may also have a direct lethal effect on the parasite by stimulating an enzyme that can lead to cell degradation. Garlic may cause stomach upset and increase the risk of bleeding, however.
Pippali rasayana is an Indian Ayurvedic formula composed of two herbs: long pepper, or Piper longum, and palash or Butea monosperma. Historically, herbalists have used both herbs individually to treat intestinal worms, giardiasis and chronic dysentery. In combination, the herbs seem to have a synergistic effect. Jason Hawrelak, N.D., explains that pippali rasayana stimulates the immune response, allowing infected patients to eliminate the parasite naturally. Discontinue if skin rash develops.