ALTHOUGH intestinal parasites are major public health problems worldwide, they fall in the category of neglected tropical diseases.
The diagnosis of intestinal parasitic infections is notoriously difficult partly because of the wide variety of symptoms that can result from any of different parasitic infections.
This is compounded by the lack of technology and inadequate human resource capacity in many health facilities in our country.
The symptoms that individuals with parasitic infections present with can include bloating and excessive gas, frequent diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, extreme fatigue, an increasing number of allergies and poor general immunity combined with a lack of energy and regular sickness.
Other symptoms include irritation on the throat, itching around the anus, and weight loss and paleness of mucus membranes because of anaemia.
To diagnose presence of any parasitic infection you need to know the life cycle of the parasite and its natural history. In our setting, man gets infected by swallowing a mature cyst or the eggs of the parasite or through penetration of a larval stage of the worm.
In this article I am informing you that you should not throw away the seeds of papaya fruit because you can use them to kill intestinal worms and other parasitic organisms in your digestive system.
Research studies have proven that by using papaya seeds you can effectively kill intestinal parasites including hookworm, tapeworms and pinworms.
A 2007 study of 60 Nigerian children with a strong evidence of presence of intestinal parasites showed an over 75 per cent clearance rate of infection in just seven days.
This was after the children received a 20 ml (four teaspoons) dose of crushed papaya seeds and honey as a parasite treatment.
The Nigerian study concluded that “papaya seeds are efficacious” (beneficial) in treating human intestinal parasites and without significant side effects.
Now, although they did not talk about an age limit, I give you advice that you should not use papaya seeds if you are pregnant because we do not have any studies that have investigated the effect of papaya seeds during pregnancy.
Similarly, you should not give the papaya seeds regimen to children whose age is below three years.
Papaya leaves and the yellow fruit when ripe have other benefits which are well documented for other chronic non-communicable conditions which I have not mentioned in this article. In the next section I have described the way in which you can take the papaya seeds.
The procedure to take the papaya seeds is that you should take them on an empty stomach, rather than after a large protein meal.
After taking the recommended dose you should follow that action by taking a natural laxative to make sure that as many parasites as possible are expelled after the treatment.To make sure that you don’t have any unusual reaction you are advised to start by taking a smaller amount first followed by the dosage that is recommended above.
Starting off slowly and building up the dosage will be more effective and this approach will result in less chances of getting adverse reactions or side effects.
One thing you should be aware of is that parasites have different life cycles and while some people get results with their first papaya seed smoothie, it’s strongly recommended to continue clearing them out over the weekend at an interval of two to three weeks so as to allow for those stages that migrate in the lungs and other parts of the body can be be eliminated.
For example, with Ascaris (safura) infection, the larval stage that passes through the lungs takes 29 days to move in there until it is swallowed when it enters the gut system or the alimentary canal to go and hatch eggs in the intestines.
That withstanding, you should not take the papaya seeds without crushing them. Instead you should take a table spoonful of fresh seeds, then put them in a blender or pound them with a wooden crusher in a piece of clothing.
The seeds don’t have to be completely ground-up, but it makes sense that they should be crushed. If they are crashed the seeds will work better than if they are taken wholly with their outer shells.
As for the choice of the papaya you should be look for a fruit that that is just turning from green to yellow, with green more predominant.
Papayas like these do still yet contain useful levels of digestive enzymes, while having sweetness to it for a good taste. If you find it still bitter you can take it with honey or a pineapple.
The pineapple has bromelain, a digestive enzyme which is also good for the body. Along with the papaya seeds and fruit, you can also add a quarter of a cup of raw pumpkin seeds to the blender.
Pumpkin seeds are particularly good for paralysing worms in the lower intestine and they have an additive to the effectiveness of the papaya seed actions.
As I mentioned earlier, I advised you to take the crashed seeds then follow it up with a laxative. The laxatives that you will find are readily available are either coconut oil or castor oil.
Therefore, if you can have these at home then you should take a table spoon full either coconut or castor oil. I also asked you to take these over the weekend because you do not want to start having loose motion while you are going to work or in the office.
These are regimens that you should take while you are at home in order for you see how adult worms that have been flushed out. Although the crashed papaya seeds appear to be a natural regimen to use at home you should not forget there are also other intestinal-worms drugs that are readily available over the counter.
Personally, I recommend to my patients to take the broad spectrum drug called Albendazole 400mg tablet which is better than Mebendazole because it has shown to be 95 per cent effective against most intestinal parasites including the difficult ones treat such as Trichuristrichiura.
- Prepared by: Gernard Msamanga, MD, ScD, Professor of Community Health, MUHAS, P.O. Box 65015, Dar es Salaam Tanzania. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone (+255 754 291971)