Parasites and Parasitic diseases

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017

Parasites and parasitic disease has been a problem for humans since the dawn of civilization. Adaptation to local parasites often protects us from the adverse health effects and stimulates effective adaptive and humoral immune responses. Travel increases the threat that parasitic organisms will infect and that our immune systems will not have an adequate response. Increased stress and ill health of the protective membranes in our body, especially in the gastrointestinal system, is also a major concern with parasitic infection. While we have been led to believe that parasites are large organisms, such as worms, the fact is that most parasites are microbial, or very small. Complementary and Integrative Medicine has been used successfully across the world to treat parasitic disease and recent scientific studies are proving just how effective a large array of treatment protocols are.

The greatest threat to health worldwide is parasitic infection, with such diseases as malaria, tuberculosis, Lymes disease, typhus, dengue, scabies, giardia infection, lice, toxoplasmosis, and even some viral and retroviral diseases listed as parasitic diseases. Tuberculosis and Malaria have been the leading causes of death from disease worldwide for a number of years. Research in 2013 confirmed that even cancer can be caused directly by a parasitic infection (A Muehlenbachs et al, the New England Journal of Medicine; Nov. 5, 2015). The main types of human parasites are protozoa (single cell microscopic organisms, such as giardias, amoebas, and sporozoans), helminths (worms), and ectoparasites (ticks, lice, fleas, mites), but the complete list includes parasitic bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. Globalization and the increase in world travel and migration have increased the risks of parasitic disease, but an overlooked threat to this growing health problem is environmental, as large animal feedlots breed parasitic colonies that empty into our water supplies and contaminate our crops, increased global trade brings parasites from distant crops to our shores, and a stressed ecosystem struggles to find natural protection from the growth and spread of parasites. The greatest protection against parasitic disease is a healthy immune system, and both preventive and treating protocols are important, as well as restorative and rehabilitative medicine. To ignore the value of Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM) is not a realistic attitude, and has not been driven by public health concerns.

In 2015, the prestigious Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to 3 researchers credited for discovering natural chemicals in herbal medicine that were extremely effective in treating parasitic diseases that now kill millions of individuals around the world, from malaria, lymphatic filiarisis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), and other helminth diseases. Tu Youyou was assigned to a project to discover a treatment for malaria in 1967, directed by Mao Zedong, and her work at the Chinese Academy of the Materia Medica unearthed a number of Chinese herbs used historically, including Artemesia annua, or Qing hao, from which the active chemical artemisinin was discovered and standardized into a natural drug. The researcher Satoshi Omura of Kitasato University in Japan discovered a chemical produced by bacterial fermentation that appeared to protect farm animals from helminth parasites and worked with William C. Campbell of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, U.S.A. to discover a class of compounds found in herbal medicine called avermectins that effectively kill parasites such as roundworms by affecting glutamate chloride channels and stimulating immune responses. The application of these natural chemicals to a broad array of diseases, including some cancers, shows the importance of naturally evolved herbal chemistry in medicine, and hopefully will lead to broader integration of Traditional Medicine and herbal medicinals despite the inability to patent these chemicals and make the enormous and sometimes outrageous profits that are made from patented synthetic medicinals.

These two examples are not the only herbal treatments to be found to be superior to any pharmaceutical treatment in the treatment of parasitic disease, and shown to be effective when integrated into standard pharmaceutical treatment. In 2012, experts at Oxford University and Oxford Brookes Institute, in the United Kingdom, studied the effectiveness of an holistic Ayurvedic medical protocol in India to treat Lymphatic Filariasis, a mosquito-borne disease caused by roundworms, which currently affects more than 120 million people, resulting in more than 40 million suffering from serious incapacitation and disfigurement, with chronic lymphedema and elephantiasis. These researchers noted that with oral and topical herbal medicine, compression bandages and lymphatic massage, heat therapy, and yoga, that a reduction in inflammatory episodes in the first 2-3 weeks, from 80 percent to 8.6 percent was seen with this protocol, allowing for reduction or cessation of antibiotics, which cause many adverse systemic effects with prolonged use. This large study also noted a 39 percent reduction in the size of the affected limb at 3 months (PMID: 22354118). Without an acknowledgment of these very significant treatment benefits and outcomes by standard medicine the public would not truly believe in them, regardless of the dramatic benefits, which are also relatively inexpensive. Truly integrating such holistic care with CIM/TCM could provide enormous benefits for the treatment of parasitic disease.

In 1999, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the findings of a comprehensive study of food-borne diseases in the U.S., many of which are parasitic. They found that each year these diseases affect approximately 76 million people, with 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5000 deaths, and only an estimated 14 million of these illnesses, and only 60,000 of these hospitalizations are caused by known pathogens. The 3 most prevalent of these food-borne pathogens are 3 parasites, Salmonella, Listeria and Toxoplasma, accounting for 1500 deaths per year. It is evident that parasitic diseases are very prevalent, and that we still do not know enough about this enormously varied health problem to identify the pathogen in about a fourth of the serious cases, and three-fourths of the total reported cases. The actual number of milder parasitic overgrowths contributing to chronic health problems may eclipse what we do not know about more serious acute infectious diseases. Diagnosis of these parasite-related diseases is difficult, and often there is no way to actually diagnose the problem for certain. Most of these patients are told that there is apparently nothing wrong with them when common tests come up negative, but inherently, many of these patients sense that there is something wrong indeed.

To clear parasitic overgrowths that cause or contribute to health problems, especially when there is no real diagnosis, a more comprehensive strategy to both clear the pathogenic overgrowth, restore the intestinal immune strength and biotic health, and clear the effects of chronic disseminated low-grade infection is needed. Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM/TCM) in the form of professional care from a knowledgeable Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist or a Naturopathic Doctor can achieve this goal. Patient understanding is the key.

How prevalent are parasitic diseases? Since a majority of parasitic infections do not create a serious health threat, they are largely ignored. Yet, increasingly, research is identifying parasitic disease as a major cause of many common health problems. By now, most of us have heard of the prevalence of Candidiasis and Lyme disease (Borreliosis), and many more are alarmed at the rise in Tuberculosis (TB), especially the drug-resistant types. Giardias, once thought to be the realm of infection by persons camping and drinking water contaminated by the wastes from wild animals, is now shown to be a prevalent problem in cities in developed countries, as the practice of large feedlot animal production has generated a large growth of the giardias in feedlot animals, which is then spread to the water supplies via poorly treated waste. The spread of parasites via blood transfusions is also a growing concern of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with inadequate clearing and testing accounting for a spread of various tick-borne disease parasites not previously acknowledged. In essence, since the realm of parasitic microbes and disease is so varied, parasitic disease may be a very prevalent occurrence. The ignoring of this health problem continues to be a major health conundurm that has persisted for many centuries. The persistence of emphasis in destroying parasites rather than increasing the defenses of the host is not practical, though, as this vast array of parasites will not disappear, and in fact most parasites in the human organism are symbiotic and beneficial. An emphasis on killing all parasites may actually harm the host health, and in many cases this may lead to lowered defenses against overgrowth of harmful parasites. A new way of thinking has to emerge to effectively protect the human organism from parasitic disease, utilizing anti-parasitic drugs when needed, but relying on improving the host immune health and function, as well as the protective symbiotic Biota most of the time. Integrating Complementary Medicine (CIM/TCM) into this treatment paradigm is absolutely necessary.

When looking at the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) set up by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is used by all physicians in the United States, we see, even in the ICD-9 version, a wide variety of diseases under this classification (001-139) of parasitic. This list includes intestinal diseases such as Salmonella, Shigellosis, Amoebiasis, protozoal intestinal diseases (Giardiasis, Trichomoniasis et al), viral intestinal diseases related to parasitic organisms (rotavirus enteritis), and ill-defined intestinal diseases such as colitis enteritis. The list also includes a variety of Tuberculosis disease manifestations, zoonotic bacterial diseases (Brucellosis, Anthrax, Listeriosis), other bacterial diseases (Mycobacteria diseases such as "Walking pneumonia", Diptheria, Streptococcal sore throat, Tetanus), HIV, Poliomyelitis and other non-arthropod-borne viral diseases of the central nervous system (meningitis due to enterovirus, slow virus infection of the CNS, Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, commonly called "Mad cow"), viral diseases accompanied by exanthem (widespread rash) (Chickenpox, postvaricella encephalitis or myelitis, Herpes zoster (shingles), herpes simplex, measles), arthropod-borne viral diseases (Yellow fever, Dengue fever, Tick-borne viral encephalitis, West Nile), Rickettsiosis and other arthropod-borne diseases (Malaria, Lyme disease), Syphilis and other venereal diseases (Reiters disease, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, gonococcal conjunctivitis), Spirochete diseases, Mycoses (tinea, histoplasmosis), Helminthiases (intestinal parasites), other parasitic diseases (scabies, lice, sarcoidosis), and late effects of parasitic diseases (Tuberculosis late effects, Polio late effects, Post-Lyme's disease syndromes). Even HIV (human immunodeficiency virus, or retrovirus) is considered a parasitic disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a 2000 report on world iron deficiency and iron homeostasis pathologies such as iron overload toxicity: "Other actions that affect iron status include: parasitic disease control programmes, in particular those directed to hookworm, shistosomiasis and malaria control; these programmes can enhance effectiveness in a population with moderate to severe levels of infection." This acknowledgement that parasitic disease has broad implications for world health is perhaps a beginning to world awareness.

Chronic diseases arising from parasitic infection, not the acute infection, may be the greatest concern

Not only the acute parasitic pathology, but a variety of chronic pathologies, many of which elude diagnosis, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome, as well as functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, may be linked to parasitic disease. Increasing attention is being paid to protozoan infections, such as Giardia and Blastocystis hominis, and a number of studies worldwide now show that Giardia infection is common in the modern urban population, attributed both to increased travel and globalization, as well as contamination of water supplies with modern farming methods with feedlot animals, and the overuse of antibiotics in dense concentrations of food animals.

Studies of Giardiasis in Norway, published in 2012, at the Institute of Clinical Medicine of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, followed 1262 patients after a large commununity outbreak with Giardia lamblia gastroenteritis, and found that 5 percent of these patients developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (PMID: 22316329). Of 96 patients with long-lasting post-infectious fatigue after giardiasis, 60 percent were eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The Department of Public Health, and the University of Bergen, Norway, also had conducted a long-term study of patients afflicted with Giardia lamblia infection, and concluded that "infection with Giardia lamblia in a non-endemic area was associated with a high prevalence of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and chronic fatigue 3 years after acute illness, and the risk (for CFS and IBS) was significantly higher than in the control group." These experts stated that Giardia lamblia is a common cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, and the potential consequences of giardiasis are more serious than previously known (PMID: 21911849). Many elusive chronic diseases could be attributed to parasitic disease. Blastocystis hominis is another group of single-cell protozoan parasites that is found in a high percentage of the world population, estimated at between 5 and 75 percent of the population in all countries. The incidence of blastocystis in IBS patients has been nearly 50 percent in a number of studies of consecutive patients at clinics, and blastocystis has both been implicated as a cause of gastrointestinal complaints now often diagnosed as IBS, and as an early cause of the more complex IBS syndrome.

One example of the extent of parasitic infection in the general population is found in a 2002 study report from the Minnesota Department of Health. In 1999, 2,545 refugees arriving in Minnesota were tested for three types of parasitic disease, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and various intestinal parasitic overgrowths. The results showed that 49 percent had a reactive TB test, 7 percent tested positive for Hepatitis B viral infection with antigen, and 22 percent tested positive for one or more intestinal parasites, the most common being giardias and trichuriasis. This single test shows that in a representative subset of persons arriving from across the planet, that parasitic disease is very prevalent. In 2016, a similar multicenter study in Europe was conducted in Spain, and tested a randomized sample of 373 minors migrating from Sub-Sahara Africa, North Africa and Latin America, finding that 77 percent were infected with at least one type of common disease parasite, with about 21 percent testing positive for 2 or more parasites, the most common being filariasis (lymphatic roundworms) plus strongylodiasis (nematode worms) or schistosomiasis (blood flukes). Granted, the refugee population is more exposed to these infections than a stable population, but such a group also spreads the parasitic diseases to a stable population. What is probably more prevalent, though, is the spread of parasites from animals to humans. Tests in Japan in recent years have found a high percentage of pet dogs with giardias and other parasites. The spread of parasites from mosquitos, ticks and other insects that feed off of the blood of humans is very prevalent, and is not limited to remote areas. The spread of parasites in the waste of feedlot animals is a certain threat. Granted, the scientific data on cross-infection of parasitic disease from animals to humans is not complete or definitive. Nevertheless, this threat to our health is being increasingly studied, implying that the scientific community does consider this a probable health problem of much concern.

Another concern in recent years is the chronic diseases associated with the overlooked low-grade chronic parasitic infections of a subclinical nature. Numerous studies now show that various cancers, mental diseases, neurological diseases such as epilepsy, and difficult diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are caused by a low-grade and chronic parasitic infection. These types of infection are subclinical, meaning that there are no apparent direct symptoms of a clinical nature, and hence are left untreated. Cancers of the liver, gallbladder, lung, throat, urinary bladder, and skin have been clearly linked to various parasitic infections, and these develop over a long period of time. Some difficult diseases are linked to overgrowths of symbiotic parasites, due to homeostatic imbalances and unhealthy Biomes that allow these parasites to grow unchecked and stimulate a chronic immune reaction. By addressing clearing of chronic parasitic overgrowths and restoration of the intestinal Biota and immune defenses, both prevention and treatment of these problems may be achieved. Complementary Medicine provides an array of treatment protocols to address these potential health problems in a safe and effective manner whose only side effect is better health. Ignoring this complex and varied problem and the logical solutions with an holistic approach is not sensible.

The subject of chronic disseminated disease related to parasitic infection and overgrowth has been overly dominated by the focus on the spirochete and Lyme Disease to the exclusion of other possibilities causing chronic symptoms

The treatment of Lyme disease has generated a rather large industry, as well as much controversy, for decades in the United States and Europe. Numerous studies at prominent University Medical Schools, as well as a number of pieces of legislation in state and federal governments, have been generated by this controversy, with the result being that a large number of patients with chronic disseminated disease believe that a sort of conspiracy has been generated to supposedly deny them treatment.

Lyme disease is a term for a variety of vector-borne parasitic infectious diseases caused by a subset of bacterial spirochetes in the family of Borrelia burgdorferi, and believed to be carried by ticks that also feed on deer, mice and squirrels. The incidence and virulence of Lyme disease and Lyme-related diseases has been long tracked and studied by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but unfortunately has been plagued by much infighting and competition among the handful of U.S. experts on tick-borne diseases. Why this infighting for prestige in such an obscure scientific specialty still dominates the official positions of the U.S. CDC is still a mystery, but the beliefs and guidelines generated regarding Lyme disease and Lyme-like diseases, such as STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness), continue to generate uncertainty and an almost religious faith among many patients afflicted with chronic diseases of an idiopathic (unknown diagnosis) nature. The one truth that is apparent is that chronic disseminated disease generated by parasitic infection is a big subject, with a rather large differential diagnosis (potential causes), and often very difficult to objectively diagnose and confirm. Individuals with this health problem are often very frustrated with this scenario, and are easy prey for programs that generate huge profits from questionable treatment tactics. The question that these patients should be asking is not whether they are the victim of a Lyme conspiracy, but whether their individual disease is properly diagnosed and explained, and whether all possibilities are addressed as to cause and treatment protocol.

In 2015, experts at the Duke University Medical Center, the Yale University Schools of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York released a report on the wide array of treatments heavily advertised to treat patients believed to have a Lyme Disease syndrome. These "alternative" treatments found in the search included pharmaceutical medications that were not FDA approved or proven, stem cell transplantation, oxygen and reactive oxygen therapy, radiation-based therapies, and chelation. Included in the study were herbal and nutrient therapies, although the word "herbal", anathema to standard medicine, was omitted in the report, lumping pharmaceutical Biologics and drugs with herbal medicine with the broad term 'biological'. The study was limited to websites that marketed non-antimicrobial (meaning pharmaceutical antibiotic drugs, not antimicrobial herbal medicine), and concluded that these physicians and medical charlatans were now extensive and the treatments were not supported by scientific evidence. Unfortunately, the article addressed "Unorthodox Alternative Therapies", with the unfortunate term "alternative" clearly associated with Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM/TCM), a scientifically proven medical specialty endorsed by the WHO, NIH and many world health organizations. We see from this study that the problem is mainly, or almost entirely, from Medical Doctors spending much marketing money to lure poor patients afflicted with unclear chronic disorders of fatigue, pain and asthenia to expensive treatments, that as the authors suggest "are potentially harmful". To see this report, just click here: . What is not discussed is the fact that real CIM/TCM physicians are not spending a lot of money marketing a specialty of treating Lyme Disease, but merely providing holistic care to integrate with standard antimicrobial treatment. Clearly, the problem in this scenario is the utter failure to adequately address Lyme Disease in standard medicine, to provide care, and to avoid frustrating and offending many tens and hundreds of thousands of patients who are now experiencing a prolonged Lyme Disease Syndrome, or have failed to receive a plausible diagnosis to help them regain health.

Obviously, the problem with adequately addressing chronic Lyme Disease syndromes lies in the failure to take an holistic approach, rather than a focal allopathic approach just aimed at the original spirochete bacterial infection. In 2002, scientists at the Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (Dr. Linda K. Bockenstedt et al), released their findings that indeed spirochetes persisted in 40 percent of study animals infected with the spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi after a month of antibacterial treatment, but that these spirochetes lacked the genes that correlated with plasmids related to infectivity, and that by 6 months, no signs of positive infection, using PCR and immunofluorescence, were evident in the animals that received the one month course of antibiotics. These researchers did find that low levels of spirochete DNA could still be detected in a subset of these study animals 9 months after the treatment, but that this spirochete DNA was not associated with disease, and was related to noninfectious spirochetes (Oxford Journals - The Journal of Infectious Diseases; Vol.186(10): 1430-37). Today, evidence of this low level of spirochete DNA is used to convince patients that a parasitic spirochete bacterial disease exists in a large percentage of the human population in parts of the United States. The evidence of such spirochete DNA does not confirm that there is an active spirochete infection, though, and presents just more confusing diagnostic information to patients that results in many patients receiving very long and harsh courses of antibiotics that are unnecessary, and often cause a syndrome of chronic health problems themselves. Admitting that these chronic diseases could be caused by any number of low-grade disseminated or ongoing parasitic overgrowths, or even by a variety of non-parasitic causes, does not deny the existence of Lyme disease. To really treat these patients effectively we need to clearly and holistically diagnose the actual factors of the disease in an individual manner, and provide a comprehensive and individualized protocol to address these factors that are objectively identified, hopefully avoiding harsh therapies, such as prolonged antibiotic therapy, polypharmacy, radiation, harsh chemical chelation, stem cell transplantation, corrticostroids etc.

To address this confusing and complicated problem in the most efficient and safest manner, patients would be advised to first try to clear the array of potential causes of their chronic health syndrome by utilizing an intelligent step-by-step process to eliminate the most likely causes first, in an individualized manner, without resorting to a harsh prolonged course of antibiotic therapy that is not supported by world experts, and is surely likely to result in another chronic syndrome of ill health, as well as contribute to the huge problem of acquired antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, in 2014, states that: "For early Lyme disease, a short course of oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, cures the majority of cases. In more complicated cases, Lyme disease can usually be treated with 3 to 4 weeks of antibiotic therapy. After being treated for Lyme disease, some patients still report non-specific symptoms, including persistent pain, joint and muscle aches, fatigue, impaired cognitive function, or unexplained numbness. These patients often show no evidence of active infection and may be diagnosed with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). in patients with PTLDS, studies have shown that more antibiotic therapy is not beneficial and the risks outweigh the benefits." Obviously, the treatment protocol for PTLDS needs to be expanded beyond the use of antibiotics for extended periods of time, which is proven in innumerable studies to be physiologically ineffective, and comes with a very high percentage of cases that produce severe adverse effects, both short-term and long-term. Such therapy also both depletes the patient symbiotic Biome, causing a wide variety of health problems, and increases the adaptation of a variety of bacteria to antibiotic resistance, including the spirochete phylum itself. More importantly, the depletion of the Biome, our greatest asset in immune protection in the gut, leaves patients open to other parasitic overgrowths. This widespread overuse of prolonged antibiotic therapy will soon present a crisis of antibiotic resistance for serious spirochete diseases such as syphilis and Lyme disease. When this occurs, many new cases of Lyme Disease will not be able to be cleared with antibiotics. Treatment with prolonged antibiotics is thus cynical and harmful to public health, and finally expert institutions are now suggesting that subsets of patients need to be clearly identified objectively as having a persistent acquired tolerance to most antibiotics, and if anything, only short 'pulses' of such chemotherapeutic drugs as ceftiaxone used, not prolonged antibiotic therapy. Why this wasn't realized decades ago is the question, and how long it will take to finally integrate herbal medicine is the next question. While standard medicine has little to offer these patients with Post Lyme Disease Syndrome, once the standard course of 2 weeks of antibiotics, or with persistent infection, an additional 4 weeks of antibiotics, has been administered, Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM) has much to offer. Complementary Medicine also has much to offer in the way of treatment of the adverse effects of prolonged antibiotic therapy, which now afflicts many patients. Keeping this therapy individualized and proceeding in a step-by-step manner is most important.

By 2014, experts still are uncertain of the exact pathogenic mechanisms of the rheumatological, neurological and cardiac complications associated with the spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The family of bacteria in the phylum, or group of bacteria, termed spirochete are corkscrew-shaped (helical) and have a double membrane (diderm), with flagella, or filaments, that run between the inner and outer membrane, giving these bacterium the ability to move. They are also anaerobic (not needing oxygen), and free living. Pathogenic spirochetes include the Treponema pallidum (syphylis and yaws), Leptospira (leptospirosis: a fever with a syndrome ranging from no symptoms to meningitis, internal bleeding and kidney failure), and Brachyspira (intestinal spirochaetosis: ranging from no symptoms to severe diarrhea and bleeding). This species of spirochete bacteria are largely confined to species of ticks in the NorthEastern and MidWestern United States, but are seen increasingly in small percentages of ticks in other parts of the United States, and of course, are seen in species of ticks in Europe. Other species of spirochete bacteria are also noted in various species of ticks, but the pathological implications of these infections are still unclear, with little evidence linking these infections to the severe symptoms seen in Lyme disease. Spirochete bacteria have also benefited the host. It is surmised that the human neuron owes its ability to connect and function as an advanced brain to the spirochete, providing DNA to the human neuron that created its ability to form advanced networks (refer to the book Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution by Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan). So much research has now been conducted regarding the pathological mechanisms related to Lyme disease and the spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, that the results themselves present quite the confusing controversy, but we still do not have a clear idea of how this type of bacteria actually does all of the damage that many claim that it does. On the other hand, we do have much sound research showing that symptoms of chronic fatigue and CNS dysfunction are caused by a variety of other parasitic diseases, including candidiasis, Gilbert's syndrome, etc. While all humans obviously want their disease explanation simplified, jumping to a catch-all conclusion that such syndromes of symptom presentation are a result of Lyme disease is often not helpful.

A typical example of the confusing pathological presentation in Lyme Disease was revealed in a 2013 article in Discover magazine, where a University of North Florida entomologist, Kerry Clark, researched tick-borne diseases across the South of the United States, getting tick bites innumerable times in his field work, yet not contracting Lyme Disease until he visited a small community that claimed to have a large number of cases, in Fayetteville, Georgia. As Mr. Clark collected many ticks in the area, one Lone Star tick apparently gave him Lyme Disease and he has been disabled since, with headaches, fatigue, and neurological dysfunction. His treatment, repeated long courses of antibiotics, make him feel better temporarily, but the symptoms always return when he takes a break from the drugs. Since 2013, many Lone Star ticks have been collected across the Southern United States, but none of them have produced disease-causing spirochetes. The pathogen has not been found in patients bitten by the Lone Star tick either. Despite this, many patients have presented symptoms of Lyme Disease in the South. The long and extensive study of Lyme Disease since 1959 still has not produced the answers to these dilemmas, yet a large number of patients have been prescribed long, harsh courses of antibiotics, which almost always brings temporary relief from symptoms, but destroys their symbiotic gut Biome. Almost no one is seriously questioning this course of therapy, as the debate still centers on whether or not you believe in the Lyme Disease conspiracy. There must be a more intelligent way to approach this problem. Even unsubstantiated theories of the pathophysiology of CNS dysfunction in chronic Lyme disease by advocacy organizations eventually imply that the chronic disease must be related to an autoimmune-like syndrome of neurohormonal dysfunction. We do realize that antibiotic treatment is inappropriate in such disorders, but that there are a host of treatment protocols useful to treat autoimmune and neurohormonal dysfunctions. Integration of Complementary Medicine and a more thorough diagnostic and treatment protocol presents obvious benefits in achieving both a complete clearing of pathogenic parasitic infections and restoration of overall health, especially when the objective diagnosis is unclear.

To address these confusing issues in Lyme disease, diagnosis of various related syndromes, and treatment, Johns Hopkins University Medical School opened the Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center in 2015, with Dr. John Aucott, a longstanding esteemed expert and researcher, to lead the program of coordinating research for all institutions in this field. The long-term study SLICE (Study of Lyme Disease Immunology and Clinical Events) will explore the more holistic factors concerning Lyme Disease and post-infection syndromes. Hopefully, we will finally resolve many of the confusing issues of this devastating parasitic disease that now afflicts at least 300,000 in the U.S. and is costing $1.3 billion per year to treat. Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM/TCM) has played and effective role in adjunct and adjuvant therapy for Lyme Disease, yet until it is formally recognized for its effectiveness, patient population belief is a stumbling block to effective care. There is abundant proof that CIM/TCM works in many ways to improve antibiotic therapy, relieve side effects of medication, boost the immune responses, treat neurommunological fatigue syndromes, relieve Lyme Disease symptoms, restore functional capacity, and relieve stress, and is clearly not just and "alternative" to standard pharmacological treatment.

Helminth and other parasites and the activation of infiltrating eosinophils may be related to a significant percentage of cases of chronic asthma and COPD, as well as eosinophil-related esophagitis and gastritis

While we don't like to think about "worms" inside our bodies, the fact is that infection with helminth worm-like organisms is very common. In fact, a specialized type of leukocyte, or white blood cell, called the eosinophil, has evolved specific weapons to kill helminth worm-like parasites. Unfortunately, the protein weapons of the eosinophil also can destroy human cells, but fortunately, we have evolved barriers to the infiltration of eosinophils in circulation, and they shouldn't infiltrate to the lungs, bronchioles, esophagus, and other organ tissues. Activation of infiltrating eosinophils, though, are now found to be a significant cause or aggravating factor in asthma, COPD, esophagitis, and gastritis. Eosinophilia, or excess of circulating eosinophils, is a common feature of many disorders, including allergic diseases, and there are many factors that influence the production, migration, infiltration, and survival of eosinophils. Understanding of this parasitic pathological mechanism is essential to prevention and treatment of these diseases.

Helminths are a broad group of multicellular organisms, of varied taxonomy, that are usually not visible till they mature, and a large percentage are parasitic. The term helminth is an artificial classification, and almost 1 million species of microorganism that may mature into a small visible form are classified as helminths. Trying to refer to these parasitic problems simply is not sensible, as even in the realm of what we call roundworms, more than 12,000 species have been identified that infect humans. While most parasitic helminths reside in the gut, some may live in blood vessels, such as schistosomes, and largely parasitic helminths go unnoticed until they overgrow and deplete host nutrients. Fully mature parasitic helminths cannot reproduce, though, which is one of the many evolved ways that helminths survive in the host, often for up to 8 years. The other methods of survival involve manipulation of the host immune responses by secreting immunodmodulatory products, and the development of a strong protective shell, or membrane, around clusters of eggs. Both of these survival techniques can be related to chronic disease mechanisms, and while the standard medical approach to helminths, like the unfortunate approach to most diseases, is to ignore the problem and wait until it is so severe that it is very threatening and requires extensive and expensive medical care, a more sensible approach would be to just help the body rid itself of helminth parasites, or at least better control their population. All helminths produce eggs, and when the female helminth reproduces, hundreds of thousands of eggs may be laid, sometimes daily, or even multiple times per day. Trematodes, of flukes, lay smaller numbers of eggs, but the mature egg develops into a miracidia, from which thousands of flukes may develop. Since most of these eggs may be excreted, and survive up to several years in fecal matter and treated waste sludge, an innumerable amount of helminth eggs from large feedlot animal production end up in soil and crops, where the eggs may survive in microscopic form for up to 2 months. Obviously, even an urban human population now consumes helminths, and as the size of animal feedlots have grown, and become less healthy and less controlled by traditional methods of farm management, the problem with helminths, like giardias, have increased, and been stubbornly ignored. Helping the host immune system to counter this health threat is therefore a real and important consideration.

Eosinophil function has been primarily associated with its role in attacking and killing parasitic infections, and a number of helminth infections may cause a dramatic rise in eosinophils (more than 3000/microliter), including ascariasis, hookworm, trichinosis, and schistosomiasis, with the level of eosinophilia equal to the number of helminth eggs or adults in the intestinal tract or tissues. Viral and fungal parasites are also associated with eosinophil function, though, and it is a common mistake of modern science to dumb down these issues by repeating that eosinophils primarily are associated with certain worm parasites, and that these worm parasites are primarily obtained by eating food contaminated with dirty water, or by going barefoot in soil infected with these worms. This type of common statement excludes important concerns in health science and public health. Scientific studies have found a number of protein expressions in eosinophils that target viruses and retroviruses, such as eosinophil-derived neurotoxin, and have shown that various influenza and respiratory viruses trigger the release of eosinophil peroxidase when triggered by T cells and other antigen-presenting cells. Eosinophils are now well known to respond to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is associated with a significant percentage of infant onset of asthmatic symptoms, and is now ubiquitous in all parts of the planet, the pneumonia virus of mice and rodents, and paradoxically, have been found to host HIV-1 in the latent reservoir state. We see that stimulation of increased eosinophils, and eosinophil infiltration into organ tissues where it is not supposed to go, may have a number of negative implications, and be associated with a variety of health problems. Clearly, a holistic and preventive approach is required to prevent and treat this problem, and many subclinical cases of chronic parasitic infection and eosinophil-related disease are occurring.

While we like to see all problems simplified down to a clear binary assessment, black or white, this is rarely the case. So too with eosinophil excesses. Studies have shown that eosinophils in fatty tissues may play an important role in preventing insulin resistance, the hallmark of Metabolic Syndrome, which is commonly called a type 2 diabetes. Eosinophils in fatty tissues may secrete interleukin-4 (IL-4), which may switch macrophages to an alternate activation state that helps maintain glucose homeostasis. We see from such study that even icky helminths are not only ubiquitous, but in many ways perhaps evolved into a symbiosis with the human host. These studies are exploring the possibility that eradication efforts in developed countries have contributed to the amazing rise in Metabolic Syndromes, that are not seen in undeveloped countries, where obviously the helminth population in the human food system and human hosts are much more prevalent, but balanced by naturally evolved homeostatic mechanisms. Once again, human science fails to see the holistic perspective, and arrives at solutions to problems that are one-sided and overlook many aspects of the problem. Holistic medicine thus provides a broader and more complex solution, both helping the organism to control helminth parasitic infection, as well as common viral infections, and to also help the human immune system to do its job better.

Leukocytes, or white blood cells, are immune cells that are specialized to attack both infectious organisms and foreign toxins. Five diverse types of leukocytes are known, all derived from the hematopoietic stem cell in our bone marrow, and all having a life span of between a few hours to 120 days, although various authorities still provide inexplicable wide variations on the lifespan of leukocytes in the human organism. Numerous studies over the decades have shown that white blood cells may have life spans as short as 23 minutes (Van Dyke and Huff; 1951 American Journal of Physiology 165: 341-347), and studies using tagged leukocytes in transfusion have measured the average lifespan between 30 and 90 minutes. It is apparent that the programmed cell death, or apoptosis, of leukocytes depends on a complex array of signals in the body. Eosinophils are a specialized type of leukocyte that normally makes up only 1-6 percent of all circulating white blood cells, but an excess of eosinophils, termed eosinophilia, is increasingly seen in the world population, not just in areas with high exposure to helminth parasites, and is increasingly linked to the growth in incidence of asthma and COPD, esophagitis and gastritis, and many chronic allergic diseases. Since the normal lifespan of the eosinophil is relatively short, with a circulating half-life estimated between 8-18 hours, two critical factors need to be kept in mind: 1) what is stimulating a prolonged increased production of new eosinophils, and 2) what factors are allowing these excess eosinophils to infiltrate past normal barriers and potentially degenerate cells and tissues in our organs when they are activated. Eosinophils are primarily a tissue-dwelling cell, residing in membrane epithelial tissues, with a ratio of eosinophils in tissue compared to circulation of about 100 to 1, and an estimated life span in the membrane tissues of 2-5 days. Increased levels of key cytokines, though, are found to expand eosinophil survival in various tissues longer than 14 days. So, in chronic allergic diseases, we must be concerned with an array of factors, including excess eosinophils in circulation (eosinophilia), ill health of the membrane barriers in the intestines and sinuses to migration of eosinophils, infiltration of eosinophils to tissues where they may cause damage, activation of eosinophils by chronic parasitic infection or medication use (various antibiotics and NSAIDS), and immune factors such a Th-2 dominance, deficiency of zinc, and interferon imbalance generated by chronic viral infection or environmental toxins.

In the bone marrow, key genetic and epigenetic transcription factors regulate the production of eosinophils from the blood stem cell. GATA-1, a zinc finger family member, is the most important of these transcription factors. Specific cytokines, or glycoprotein signaling molecules of the complement immune system, which are similar to hormones, are also key to the regulation of production, activation and destruction of eosinophils. Cytokines that are especially related to leukocytes are interleukins and interferons, and Interleukins 3 and 5 (IL-3 and IL-5) are especially important in stimulating increased eosinophil differentiation and production, regulated by GATA-1. IL-5 is particularly critical in regulating eosinophil production, and IL-5 is also a key cytokine produced by T-helper cell type 2 (Th-2), implicated in many autoimmune disorders as an imbalance of Th-2 over Th-1 cells. Chronic parasitic helminth infection often involves eosiniphilia, mastocytosis, and increased IgE synthesis, all of which appear to be induced by cytokines in the Th2 subset. Scientists have long known that this Th2 cytokine reaction produces varied results in individuals, though, with some of the Th2 cytokines actually contributing to host cell protection, while other contributing to promote parasite survival and perpetuate chronic disease. Eosinophilia in the absence of parasitic infection is attributed to overuse of medications, and a number of types of antibiotics and anti-bacterials, as well as NSAIDS, are well known to cause eosinophilia. An array of factors may thus be contributing to eosinophil excess, eosinophil migration, and eosinophil activation, and the subsequent chronic allergic diseases that result. These health problems are not easily diagnosed by the standard diagnostic workup, and a more careful analysis and holistic treatment protocol, as well as better preventive medicine, needs to be initiated. Complementary Medicine can play a key role in this expande protection and treatment of the consequences of parasitic infection and eosinophil-related diseases.

Protozoa and array of common disorders linked to perhaps the most common type of parasitic infection

Protozoan infections and associated diseases encompass a wide array of health problems, perhaps affecting a majority of the world population. The term protozoa has fallen out of favor in scientific classification due to the fact that many organisms in the Kingdom Protozoa are not closely related to each other, but the term persists in the medical vernacular. Protozoa is a Latin word derived from the Greek protos and zoion, meaning "first animal", or protist, and originated with the German zoologist Georg August Goldfuss in 1818. Protists are eukaryotes, meaning that their cells, like ours, contain organelles and mitochondria enclosed in a membrane, as opposed to prokaryotes. Now, many eukaryotes are also vegetable, with chloroblasts that use photosynthesis to create energy. Both the mitochondria and chloroblasts in these eukaryote cells derived from parasites, mitochondria from aerobic alpha-proteobacteria, and chloroblasts from cyanobacteria. This basic evolutionary information shows that parasitic processes are not just disease causing, but actually continue to beneficially determine the future of our human existence, and life on the planet. Consequently, parasitic mechanisms, and disease, especially protozoan, will be ubiquitous (found everywhere) forever. The way to counter parasitic disease, and the ubiquitous protozan disesases, is through understanding and holistic improvement in our natural evolved defenses.

In medicine, the term protozoa includes Giardias, Toxoplasma gondii (sheiphali), Entamoeba histolytica, Blastocystis hominis, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Microsporidia, Leishmania, and the realm of protists, mainly unicellular parasites, include Plasmodium (malaria producing parasites), Trichomonas vaginalis, and many types of molds (mycetozoa). Protists live in almost any environment that contains water, including the human organism. While the emphasis in modern medicine still centers on protozoa causing gastrointestinal disease, there is ample evidence that some of these protozoa circulate in the body and cause disease in other parts of the body as well. There is also evidence that the protozoal infections can stimulate immune responses that lead to imbalance and chronic immune pathologies. A number of more systemic protozoal diseases are now being studied in North America, including protozoal myeloencephalitis, toxoplasmosis, sarcocystosis (eosinophilic myositis), pneumocystosis (immunocompromised pneumonia), cryptosporidiosis (usually a diarrhea - affecting many thousands each year in the U.S.), and giardiasis.

Toxoplasmosis is a protozoal parasitic disease syndrome that affects an estimated third of the entire world population. Toxoplasma gondii is found in all corners of the planet and able to infect virtually all warm-blooded animals, and may easily pass from one animal species to another. The human immune system has evolved many mechanisms to counter toxoplasmosis, but it is increasingly seen in immune deficient patients, such as infants, adults with immunodeficiency syndromes or immunodeficiency from medication side effects, chronically ill patients, and the elderly. Toxoplasma gondii can infect, and be transmitted between, all warm-blood animals, and can asexually reproduce within humans. Cats have been found to be unique in that toxoplasma gondii can also sexually reproduce within the intestinal tract of cats, and in fact, some studies have suggested an evolved link between the ability of cats to better prey on rodents, with the protozoa passed to the rodent via cat feces and affecting the behavior of the rodents, making them more easy to catch. For this reason, immunocompromised patients should try to avoid excess contact with pets, especially cats. Within humans, the Toxoplasma gondii egg cysts infect membrane epithelial cells, are released in digestion with proteolytic enzymes, asexually reproduce with specialized vacuoles of human cells in the intestinal membranes, which are spread to the blood circulation when the infected cells rupture. Hence the name Toxoplasmosis, or toxicity in blood plasma. The most well-known paths of transmission include cleaning the cat litter box, contact with soil, eating unwashed vegetables or fruits, and eating raw or undercooked meats, but increasingly, like giardias, the water supply near large animal feed lots is suspected to carry too many protozoal parasites for normal water treatment to kill, and untreated standing water may harbor Toxoplasmosis gondii that gets onto the skin when gardening.

Pharmaceutical antiprotozoal agents are problematic as protozoan parasites display such varied differences that one medication is usually effective against only one type of infection and ineffective against other types of protozoan infection. Herbal formulas, on the other hand, have been designed for centuries to be effective against an array of common types of protozoal infections, as well as other types of parasites, and include herbal chemicals that support the immune system and relieve common protozoal infection symptoms. There is no comparison between pharmaceutical antiprotozoal agents and herbal formulas in Traditional Chinese Medicine. These herbal formulas are integrative with the pharmaceuticals, which are usually harsh and should be used only when needed. For instance, Flagyl (metronidazole) is a common antiprotozoal antibiotic used for both anaerobic bacteria and protozoal infections. Common acute side effects include nausea, diarrhea and metallic taste in the mouth, but adverse effects with prolonged use and higher dosage include leukopenia, neutropenia, peripheral neuropathy, and central nervous system toxicity, and Flagyl is listed as a human carcinogen. Also, interaction with alcohol often produces tachycardia, shortness of breath and skin flush, and Serotonin Syndrome is now a concern, with increased risk when consuming alcohol with Flagyl. Serotonin Syndrome may explain some of the clinical adverse effects noted with concurrent use of Flagyl and alcohol. We see that if scientific study affirms the effectiveness of Chinese herbal formulas to treat protozoal infections, that many patients will be able to avoid the potential adverse effects of acute or prolonged antiprotozoal medications.

A long history of treatment of parasitic disease exists in the specialty of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is proving its effectiveness with current scientific research

The public is becoming concerned, and looking for ways to treat this problem of parasitic disease, especially when chronic inexplicable gastrointestinal symptoms persist, as well as other difficult diseases that may be related to parasitic infection. Traditional Chinese Medicine has long addressed this complex subject of parasitic disease, though, and many of the most famous physicians in Chinese history have written extensively on the subject of parasitic aspects to disease. In early Chinese history this was referred to as Gu Zheng and Gu Du, loosely translated as parasitic syndromes and parasitic toxins or antigens. The word Gu, though, is no longer a useful term in modern Chinese language, and this has created confusion. Historians have repeatedly come across the term in ancient texts, and have mistakenly referred to it as a reference to a legendary insect or evil spirit. Now, language characters in China often have many different potential meanings, depending on the context of the usage, but the medical use of the word Gu seems to have been ignored, although the term is found primarily in medical texts. In this context, the word, and these terms, clearly imply reference to parasitic disease. Large classes of medicinal herbs are devoted to treating Gu Zheng and Gu Du, dating to the early history of Chinese medicine with the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, a comprehensive herbal text dating to about 500 BC. Even in modern research, the medical treatises written by such important personages as Ge Hong, of the fourth century, have been referenced to find herbs to treat such parasitic diseases as malaria.

A 2010 Lasker Award for clinical medical research (the American equivalent to the Nobel) was awarded to the former head of the Beijing Institute of Chinese Materia Medica (medical herbalism), Dr. Tu Youyou, who referenced Ge Hong and other ancient herbal treatises to discover the remarkable herbal cure for malaria that has since been endorsed by the World Health Organization as the primary medicine to treat malaria, and is responsible for malaria being reduced from the number one cause of deaths from disease worldwide. The Nobel committee is exploring a Nobel Prize for Medicine to one or more of the researchers of Chinese Herbal Medicine that originally identified the action of the main chemical constituent of the herb Qing hao, artemisin.

Artemesia Qing hao is just one of the many herbs used to treat parasitic disease in the Chinese Materia Medica, and further research has discovered that other chemicals also act to clear the human organism of parasitic microbial infection. Formulas of herbs, which often include Qing hao, are thus useful to clear both acute and chronic parasitic health problems. Matching the correct herb or herbs to the specific parasite or parasites is the challenge. Fortunately, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) a holistic course is used, where the physician utilizes a formula of herbs, and even food chemicals and acupuncture, to create a more comprehensive and effective treatment protocol. While a real test to identify the array of parasites that may be contributing to inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome or other function gastrointestinal disease, or other chronic or acute parasitic illnesses of the respiratory tract, and even the nervous system, immune system, and various organ dysfunctions, may not be possible, the safe, thorough and effective treatment in TCM may effectively rid these various parasitic overgrowths and help cure the disease. Since many microbial parasites are difficult to test for, especially when disseminated throughout the body, and since they may be so small, and live within deep tissue cells in the body, we may never obtain a reasonably priced and effective comprehensive testing protocol for parasites. Nevertheless, TCM allows us to treat without side effects when a parasitic problem is suspected, and the comprehensive and holistic nature of the treatment protocol addressed a wide variety of common parasites, not a single organism, as in allopathic medicine. This comprehensive protocol is the sensible approach.

Other Chinese herbs that effectively treat malaria, and other parasitic diseases, have also now been studied and found to be surprisingly effective. One such herb was cited in the now famous novel Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie, which chronicles a fictionalized coming of age in the cultural revolution. In this novel, a rural seamstress' daughter cures the protagonist of malaria by harvesting a wild herb called "broken bowl shards", and decocting an herbal medicine. This herb is most assuredly the Chinese herb Shu qi, or Dichroa febrifuga, since the herb appearance is described in the novel as broad leaves with tiny pink flowers. Studies of the chemicals in Dichroa febrifuga (i.e. febrifugine) have revealed that there is a dose-dependent effectiveness for relief of malaria of nearly 100 percent (Bioorganic Medical Chemistry 2012; Jan 15;20(2): 927-932). The root of this same herb is called Chang shan, which is also now proven effective as an antimalarial herb, although not as effective as the leaves. The study of the specific chemicals of this herb has provided the pharmaceutical field with new biologic antimalarials as well, just as the quinine herbs provided the original set of antimalarial pharmaceuticals still in use today. Not only are Chinese herbs shown to be surprisingly safe and effective, but they continue to provide the field of medical research with valuable resources to develop new drugs. As always, use of these herbs should be part of prescription by a professional herbalist, or Licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist, as correct use, dosage, quality of the herb, and even ameliorating slight toxicity is important, and these aspects of herbalism are part of the education and training in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The science of herbal formulary and preparation insures a safe and effective use of these herbal cures.

Parasites, whether microbial or larger, may develop methods to evade specific chemicals, evolving resistant strains. The fact that there are so many herbs that are effective, and so many chemicals in a single herb, provide great protection against this acquired resistance to therapy. The herbs that have evolved effective chemicals to kill parasites, or contain them, have also had time to evolve mechanisms that make acquired resistance more difficult, utilizing an array of symbiotic chemicals in the plant. There is no better laboratory to evolve complex mechanisms such as this than nature itself, as the parasites and the plants have thousands of years of natural selection to develop these protective mechanisms. Herbal medicine presents much potential to treat a wide variety of parasitic diseases without fear of a developing resistance nullifying all therapy. On the other hand, modern pharmaceutical research devotes much time and money to finding a specific allopathic chemical to achieve its goal, and almost no research is spent on ways to reduce drug resistance in the infectious microbes and parasites being attacked. Modern pharmacological research, in fact, might see such acquiring of resistance as a plus, creating a need for new pharmaceuticals that will make even more profit.

Herbal medicines thus hold a great and obvious promise in the treatment of diseases related to parasites. Not only direct effects on parasitic infections, but indirect effects, such as the reduction of parasite-induced leukocytes and cytokines, have been proven in studies of Chinese herbs. Numerous studies now show that common Chinese herbs attenuate eosinophil infiltration in the lungs and bronchioles, as well as IL-4 and TNF-alpha, and the allergy specific IgE responses, and some of these studies are cited below in additional information, with links to the study summary. The ability to combine a number of these herbs in formula provides a broad array of benefits in Chinese herbal medicine. Direct inhibition of parasitic infections, broad, not just specific, effects, attenuation of immune responses that lead to chronic illness, and improving of the immune function, as well as restoration of organ functions, reduction of medication side effects, and improvement in general health, can be achieved with holistic herbal medicine in the same complex herbal formula. When combined in the same treatment with the broad and proven beneficial effects of acupuncture stimulation, and even the broad restorative effects of deep tissue physiotherapy, the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide the array of effects that is needed to overcome the difficult and chronic diseases generated by parasitic disease.

Where does acupuncture stimulation itself fit into this integrative treatment scheme? Not only the vast array of professional herbal products and nutrient medicines, but also acupuncture, has been now proven to effect the immune modulation to aid in the host responses to parasitic infection, and to help maintain homeostatic balance when parasites infect chronically and alter the host responses. Some of the numerous studies proving these effects are cited below. The TCM physician is able to combine a variety of effective treatments to provide a comprehensive protocol in all aspects of disease suspected to be associated with parasitic infection, whether this is an acute infection, or a chronic infection suspected of contributing to an array of other diseases.

Pathologies related to Lectins and Parasites

Pathogens, such as parasites, viruses, bacteria and fungi have adapted to our immune defenses, causing problems for many people. One type of adaptation involves the interaction of lectins, sometimes called "sticky proteins", with these various parasitic organisms. Lectin excess has also been implicated in many disease processes, not only digestive dysfunction, but when the lectins are able to leak into the bloodstream, systemic health problems, including immune hyperreactivity and autoimmune disorders. Lectins are proteins that come in a wide variety of forms, and are found in most foods. The characterization of lectins as unique to grains and beans, now used to promote the so-called Paleo diet, and promote discouragement and fear of consuming whole grains and beans, is patently false. Both plants and animals create lectin proteins to utilize in the immune responses, attaching to invading microbes and parasites, and stopping them from infecting host cells. When we eat these lectin proteins, they may be both beneficial and harmful. Most lectins are very difficult to break down and are eliminated via the feces, often carrying unwanted microbial parasites with them. Unfortunately, modern foods often have high protein contents, such as high gluten flours, gluten thickeners, etc., as well as genetically altered proteins, creating excesses of lectin proteins, and difficulty eliminating them. When problems of the gastrointestinal tract occur, as in irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBS and IBD), the excess lectins may also leak from the gut to the bloodstream. It is believed that the pathophysiology associated with excess lectins, the immunology of lectins, and lectins used by parasites to evade immune defenses could explain many cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and functional GI disorders that appear to be celiac disease and gluten intolerance, but show no laboratory evidence of these diseases.

The C-type lectins recognize carbohydrates on the membranes of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, sticking to them and creating immune responses. Studies have found that C-type lectins are expressed by macrophages and dendritic cells, immune cells involved in early responses to antigens and pathogens. Specialized C-type lectins play an important role in immune responses. Both macrophages and dendritic cells are involved in allergy and autoimmune responses. Various C-type lectins (langerin, dectin-1) may recognize pathogens and trigger immune cytokine responses, especially T-helper cell (Th), and the parasitic microbes have adapted to our immune systems by expressing C-type lectins of their own that subvert these immune responses. HIV, candida, and mycobacterial infections (e.g. walking pneumonia) have utilized these C-type lectins to evade immune responses, and often these will lead to immune dysfunctions, such as imbalance of T-helper cell types, associated with many autoimmune disorders.

One model of chronic parasitic gram-negative bacterial infections is Shigella, which is only naturally found in primates (i.e. humans and apes). An acute infection will result in dysentery, an inflammatory disorder of the intestines, especially the colon, with severe diarrhea, sometimes complicated with bleeding or excess mucus. The World Health Organization has estimated that 80 million cases of acute Shigellosis occur annually in the world, with 700,000 deaths. Milder forms of Shigella infection are usually undiagnosed, though. Shigella is adept at repeating the steps necessary for parasitic bacterial growth, causing inflammation of the intestinal mucosa, but affecting the innate immune responses enough to linger and achieve a repeat of the epithelial invasion. The ability to utilize lectins to evade the innate immune responses may be one way that adapted Shigella is presenting increased incidence. Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) on the bacterial membrane, and peptidoglycans, are major components of the virulence of Shigella, and these bacteria are evolving ways to evade the normal innate immune responses that utilize lectins. Shigella has been found to induce limited cytokine response, or adaptive immune responses, and TNF-alpha, a prime cytokine overexpressed in many chronic inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders, is often the only cytokine induced by Shigella. As we progress with scientific study, the possibility that many chronic and difficult diseases are related to such parasitic overgrowths become more real.

When microbial parasites present a problem for the host, the use of such lectins to evade immune responses may both cause immune dysfunctions, allow parasites to evade defenses, and contribute to other lectin pathologies in the body. This may complicate the disease presentation, creating a confusing array of symptoms that are often indirectly associated with the parasitic infections. To aid the immune system in clearing lectins from the intestinal tract, and thus improving the efficiency of this aspect of our innate immune response, research has led us to find various chemicals that lock onto problematic lectins and aid clearance through the intestine. N-actyl glucosamine, Bladderwrack (Fucus versiculosus), okra, D-mannose, mucin, and sodium alginate are some of the studied chemicals that help improve the lectin clearance, and are now available in a professional formula from Vitamin Research Products called Lectin Lock. Utilizing such novel therapeutics in a holistic program of care may prove to be a valuable tool in preventive medicine as well as difficult gastrointestinal diseases.

A holistic protocol is now found to be the best treatment to reduce common parsitic diseases

To effectively reduce parasitic overgrowth and imbalance in the body, a holistic protocol is found to produce the best overall results. Since parasites are common in the environment, our bodies have adapted host defenses to protect us. When this homeostatic protective mechanism becomes dysfunctional, parasitic disease is likely to occur. The defenses involve regulation of acidity (pH), balance of symbiotic microbial biota (re: probiotic), digestive function (re: enzymes), health of the intestinal membrane, ability to clear lectins, healthy digestive and elimination function, and overall immune health. A protocol that improves the diet in specific and individually tailored ways, restores gastrointestinal function and the biota, improves membrane immune responses, and helps the immune system to respond better to pathological parasitic overgrowth with herbal chemicals is highly recommended to clear and maintain the defenses against parasitic disease. Use of harsh antibiotics and antifungals may temporarily clear certain microbial parasites, but the damage to the GI system, biota and overall immune defenses often results in increased susceptibility to future parasitic pathology.

One of the most common mistakes in therapy with herbal and nutrient medicine is the idea that simple prolonged taking of strong clearing herbal formulas will provide the best treatment outcomes. Since the main defense against parasitic infection is the human biota and health of the gastrointestinal tract, this simplistic treatment protocol, often involving taking parasitic clearing formulas for months, results in decreased GI and biotic health, and prolonged disease. The patient and physicians should be aware that short courses of professional herbal formulas should be alternated with probiotic and restorative therapies. Repeated courses of herbal clearing of 4-6 days is alternated with use of probiotic formulas with oligofructosides and pantothenic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, enzymes and other aids to healthy function and membrane immune health.

The array of herbal and nutrient chemicals now studied and proven effective in the treatment of parastitic pathology is expansive. The problem is not a lack of choice, but too much choice. This is why a research, or evidence-based, Complementary Medicine physician, such as a knowledgable Licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist, is important in the choice of the correct protocol for the individual patient, and why testing and objective data are useful to guide therapy. Integrating the testing and diagnosis of standard medicine and the treatment protocols of Complementary Medicine is the ticket for success. Even when the testing in standard medicine fails to identify the specific parasites that may be suspected, a broad protocol in Traditional Chinese Medicine may still be effective to clear these difficult diseases.

Viral parasites and common gastrointestinal parasitic diseases that occur now in a high percentage of hospitalized patients: the relationship between antibiotic overuse, poor GI health, and the rise in viral parasitic disease

Standard medicine does not have effective treatment strategies for viral illnesses. The use of antibiotics has been widespread for decades despite the fact that antibiotics are only effective for bacterial illnesses. On the other hand, much scientific study has confirmed the efficacy of herbal medicine to clear viral infection and treat the diverse effects of viral illness. Viral parasites are common, but rarely discussed. Intestinal rotavirus is a common cause of childhood diarrhea, often manifesting as recurrent, or sporadic bouts with persistent diarrhea. While standard medicine has little or nothing to offer parents to treat this problem, some very gentle herbal medicines have been proven effective, such as Citrus aurantium (Zhi shi), with the active chemicals herpsridin and neohesperidin (see study link below). Studies in Brazil have shown that another commonly used Chinese herb, Myristica fragrans (Rou dou kou), a type of nutmeg, is also effective to treat rotavirus diarrhea in infants, as well as jackfruit, or Artocarpus integrifolia, a type of mulberry. The effective dosage of these herbal decoctions for infants is very low, and such safe and effective medicines have been added to mother's milk to effectively treat viral parasitic illness for centuries. Proof of efficacy is now available.

A March 20, 2012 article in the New York Times Science Times, entitled Gut Infections Are Growing More Lethal, revealed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that stated that deaths from gastrointestinal infections more than doubled from 1999 to 2007, to more than 17,000 per year, with two thirds of these deaths attributed to Clostridium difficile, linked to overuse of antibiotics, and antibiotic resistant strains, but the second largest cause of death from gastrointestinal parasites attributed to Norovirus. The sharp rise in norovirus gastroenteritis, to about 20 million Americans each year, and the increasing number of fatalities among the elderly (83 percent of those who died of gastrointestinal infections were over age 65), points to a growing crisis in the United States. Patients taking an antibiotic course had a 7 to 10 times increased risk of contracting Clostridium difficile bacterial parasitic infection, and the increasing damage to the Biota, or protective symbiotic bacterial colony, accounted for much of the rise in Norovirus parsitic gastroenteritis. Attempts to utilize a Norovirus vaccine will probably fail due to the adaptation of the Noroviral family and ever-emerging new strains of norovirus.

Studies in 2012 (cited below), at the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, revealed that Chinese gall (Wu bei zi) and pomegranate extract, significantly inhibited Norovirus gastroenteritis, and many tannins in Chinese herbs showed significant promise in inhibiting this family of viruses from infecting human cells. Norovirus gastroenteritis is affecting many millions of Americans yearly, and is the second most common human illness in the United States next to the Common Cold (coronavirus). The classic symptoms of gastroenteritis are acute watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, with infrequent signs of strong inflammatory signs, such as bleeding showing in the feces. Antibiotics are completely ineffective for all viral illnesses, as well as most of the bacterial and parasitic forms of gastroenteritis, but overprescription has resulted in the most common types of bacterial gastroenteritis now presenting with a majority of cases in the hospitals as an antibiotic-resistant strain. This often ignored disease has been called food poisoning, stomach flu, and dysentery, and due to the fact that there is no standard medicine that is effective, and diagnosis itself is difficult, due to the wide array of causes of gastroenteritis, as well as the idea that most cases are self-limiting, hydration and rest is all that is usually recommended. Recurrent and chronic syndromes of gastroenteritis are even more often ignored in standard medicine. Complementary Medicine presents so much more for these patients, and is individualized.

In 2013, 2 large studies emerged that found a significant association with the use of certain antidepressant medications and depression itself with the widespread hospital parasitic infection with Clostridium difficile. These studies, published in the medical journal BMC Medicine, studied over 20,000 patients and their hospital records from 1991 to 2007. The research concluded, after considering all variables, that there was a 36-47 percent increased risk of contracting a C. difficile infection in the gastrointestinal tract among patients with depression, and that the strongest indication of risk occurred in the patients being treated with Prozac, Remeron and Trazodone. The lead author, Mary A. M Rogers, of the University of Michigan, was quoted in a New York Times article as stating that scientists have known for a long time that there is a strong association with depression and unhealthy changes in the gastrointestinal system, and that further research should explore the possibility that certain pharmaceutical treatments for depression could also negatively impact the system and leave the patient more vulnerable to this parasitic disease. Prozac, or Fluoxetine, also called Sarafem and Fontex, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), and the most common side effects are gastrintestinal, such as nausea and loss of appetite (anorexia), and most of the serotonin in the human body is produced and utilized in the nervous system of the gut. Remeron, or Mirtazapine, is a specific serotonin and noradrenergic antidepressant that both agonizes serotonin, (or 5HT) receptors and antagonizes adrenergic receptors. Trazadone (Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Deprax, Desirel, Molipaxin, Thombran, Trazorel, Trialodine, Trittico, or Mesyrel), is a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor, often prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. All of these drug have anticholinergic effects that cause dryness of the membranes. We see that affecting the serotonin, or 5HT, metabolism, as well as the cholinergic autonomic mechanisms, may create ill health of the protective membranes in the gastrointestinal system, leaving the patient more vulnerable to both viral and bacterial parasitic gut infections.

Cold sores, herpes, chickenpox, and shingles represent viral parasitic infections that are common and well known. The varicellar, or herpes family of viruses, involved in these infections, have been routinely treated with acyclovir, ganciclovir and foscarnet, and perhaps overtreated, as by 2008 an emerging drug-resistance in many strains of these viruses had emerged worldwide. Research has found that a number of common Chinese herbs are effective against these viruses, retroviruses, and their expression, inhibiting viral attachment to cell surface (see study links below). An alcohol tincture of Rheum officianalis (Da huang), Paeonia suffruticosa (Mu dan pi), and Melia toosendan (Ku lian pi and Chuan lian zi) was found to be very effective to prevent viral attachment and cell penetration, as well as water decoction of Sophora flavescens (Ku shen).

Zoonotic infectious diseases and parasitic infections

PREDICT, a project of USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), unites epidemiologists, medical doctors, veterinarians, and conservation biologists worldwide to gain a better understanding of global parasitic and pandemic disease threats to humans coming from both wild and domesticated animals. This project has estimated that 60 percent of emerging human diseases in the last decades have originated in animals, with about one third originating in domesticated animals. The University of California at Davis Department of Veterinary Medicine provides a wealth of data concerning this emerging threat, as does the Wildlife Conservation Society and EcoHealth Alliance. This project is being heavily supported due to the impending worldwide viral pandemic, an occurrence that affects human civilization about once per century, with the last pandemic occurring in 1918, and responsible for perhaps 20 million deaths. Emerging disease threats such a Swine Flu, SARS, Bird Flu, West Nile Disease, Ebola, Nipah Virus, and Hendra Virus have been heavily reported due to the potential that these were perhaps suspects in the next viral pandemic, and all were spread from animals, as were types of AIDS, various diseases spread by ticks, and malaria. PREDICT has found that increased population and encroachment on natural biosystems and wildlife habitat, deforestation, increased urban contact with wild animals displaced to urban environments, broader wildlife hunting and trade in wild meat and live animals, changes in the growing of domesticated food animals, and land use changes (increased mining and road building in forested areas) have led to a logarithmic increase in zoonotic diseases. A broad array of public health education projects has emerged, warning targeted populations of the array of threats and what the public can do to stop them. Stopping the market in exotic pets, decreasing the purchase of meats linked to deforestation and large feedlot growers, halting domestic deforestation and suburban growth into wild ecosystems, and supporting natural habitat that provides protective effects for human populations are some of the important projects.

How does destruction of natural forest habitat actually spread human parasitic disease? PREDICT has shown how an increase in deforestation of just 4 percent increased the incidence of malaria 50 percent in parts of the world, because deforested areas produce more mosquitos that thrive in these areas with standing water and abundant sunlight. Deforestation in Northeastern United States eliminated many of the predators that controlled the population of white-footed mice, which are "reservoirs of Lyme spirochete bacteria" because they are poor groomers and typically have weak immune systems. Many wild animals remove more than 90 percent of ticks by grooming, while white mice kill just half of the ticks that feed off of them. Deforestation tends to get rid of species that serve a protective role in the viral and parasitic ecosystem, while encouraging other species that promote these diseases. Loss of forested areas has led to growth or urbanized wild animals, which are less exposed to zoonotic infections, and hence lose the learned and innate immune responses that they used to acquire in the wild environments. These urbanized wild animals become infected, stay infected, and shed the parasitic diseases into suburban backyards. Even those individuals unconcerned with loss of trees should be concerned by this type of threat to public health.

As PREDICT continues its study we will learn more and more about the poorly understood subject of zoonotic parasitic disease. These scientists point out that only a holistic approach will reduce this emerging 21st century health threat. To protect oneself against these new parasitic threats, increased focus on building a better individual immune system is also important.

Information Resources: Additional Information and Links to Scientific Studies

We see from an abundance of scientific study that many common Chinese herbs commonly used in formulas are very effective in treating a broad spectrum of parasitic diseases, and hence could be preventive as well. Specific research is improving treatment guidelines, and none of these herbal medicines have any significant adverse side effects. Herbal formulas designed for broad anti-parasitic effects can address parasitic diseases when the diagnosis is unclear, and holistic treatment can address the immune system and any chronic effects of parasitic disease, as well as restoration of the Biome, all in the same course of treatment.

  1. Numerous studies worldwide now find that intestinal parasitic infection is still an important and overlooked health problem:
  2. Small studies in Europe reveal that the prevalence of parasites in gastrointestinal disease is underestimated. Here, a review of medical records of patients in France that underwent appendectomy found that 3.3 percent of these patients showed a parasitic infection leading to appendicitis:
  3. A 1994 study at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Parasitic Diseases, showed that a review of over 200,000 stool samples examined by state diagnostic laboratories in 1987 revealed that evidence of parasitic infection were found in about 20 percent. Giardia was of particular concern, and it should be noted that many cases of parasitic infection are not able to be diagnosed by fecal samples, as parasite casts or live parasites are not prevalent in the stool, having been destroyed by the host defenses in the intestinal tract, and actually thriving in the circulating blood or tissues of the host:
  4. Zoonotic parasitic diseases are perhaps the biggest threat in this class of diseases, especially parasites carried by mosquitos and ticks. One example, Lymphatic Filariasis, caused by roundworm species in mosquitos, now affects more than 120 million victims, with more than 40 million suffering from long-term incapacitation and disfigurement with lymphedema and elephantiasis, despite large programs distributing preventive drugs such as DEC, albendazole, ivermectine, which come with considerable risk of adverse health effects:
  5. A 2016 multicenter study of immigrants to Spain showed that in a randomized sample of 373 minors from central and Northern Africa, as well as South America, that 47 percent were infected with at least one of the common disease parasites, and 20 percent with multiple disease parasites, with those infected with multiple parasitic diseases most frequently testing positive for filariasis affecting the lymphatics, and schistosomiasis affecting the blood:
  6. A 2012 report from experts at Oxford University and the Oxford Brookes Institute showed that a large long-term study of a holistic Ayurvedic treatment protocol from 2003 to 2012 to help treat Lymphatic Filariasis and Lymphedema, using oral and topical herbal medicines, compression bandages and lymphatic massage, heat therapy and yoga, demonstrated remarkable efficacy, reducing the initial inflammatory episodes from 80 to about 9 percent, allowing for decreased antibiotic treatment, and resulting in a remarkable reduction in limb size of nearly 40 percent at 3 months:
  7. A 1999 comprehensive study by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, showed that food-borne diseases, most of which are caused by a wide variety of parasites, caused approximately 76 million cases of disease yearly, with 325,000 hospitalizations, and over 5000 deaths attributed, with approximately three fourths of these cases not clearly diagnosed as to the pathogenic overgrowth, and even one fourth of these deaths attributed to an unknown pathogen. The 3 most prevalent and serious of these food-borne diseases were attributed to 3 parasites, Salmonella, Listeria and Toxoplasma, but an enormous number of less serious and often chronic parasitic overgrowths account for an enormous health burden to population that is still often undiagnosed:
  8. A study at the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, found that in 2011 a number of studies have proven that the Biota, or our commensal symbiotic intestinal microbes (re: probiotic), play a major role in the host immune defenses, metabolism and tissue development. The Biota supports both the innate and adaptive immune responses, and an unhealthy biota may lead to parasitic disease and parasitic contributions to such diseases as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
  9. To examine the prevalence of protozoal Giardia in domestic cats, a study in Poland examined 160 stool samples and found that 1 of the 7 types of Giardia, genotype G, was detected as cysts in 3.75 percent of samples. This is just one type of parasite, although problematic, and cats more frequently carry the protozoal infection with Toxoplasma gondii. Studies in other centers reveal that this type of test perhaps misses a significant percentage of giardias, with more sophisticated testing recommended in recent years by health authorities:
  10. Few studies confirm that the genotypes of Giardia that are known to infect humans are found in domesticated, wild and farm animals. This 2002 study at Cleveland State University confirms that human Giardia lamblia genotypes A and B are widespread and exist in animals, as dogs, cats, some farm animals and some wild animals showed cysts of these types in fecal studies:
  11. The study of parasitic infection has been largely ignored in recent decades in the United States. This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) review in 2011 found that soil-transmitted helminth infections in warmer climates were still prevalent in 1982, affecting perhaps half the population, yet no high-quality studies have been published in the last 25 years:
  12. A 2010 comprehensive report on eosinophil leukocytes, or white blood cells, and responses to parasitic helminths, viruses, fungi and other parasites was presented by experts at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, and the Konkuk University School of Medicine in South Korea, in response to the growing awareness of eosinophil-related diseases and their increasing incidence around the world:
  13. A 2011 multicenter study by experts at the University of California at San Francisco, and the Stanford University School of Medicine, both in the Bay Area, California, U.S.A. shows that even the subject of helminth infection is not simply a black and white, good or bad, issue. Here, study shows that ubiquitous helminth parasitic symbiosis has evolved into a system where helminth instigated esosinophils in fatty tissues have evolved a function of alternatively activating macrophages in fat cells via interleukin-4 (IL-4) that maintains glucose homeostasis and prevents Metabolic Syndrome and insulin resistance. The solution to these problems appears to be to restore homeostasis of the host humans and the food chain and environment, not just to eradicate all helminths:
  14. A report from the U.S. NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A. shows that eosinophilia-related diseases were a rising concern in 2007 and that in areas where helminth and other fungal and parasitic diseases were rare, that overuse of antibiotics and NSAIDS were the predominant cause of infiltrating eosinophilia and related asthma, esophagitis and gastritis in children. The health of the host immune barriers, gut membranes, and adrenal steroid health were also important in these diseases, allowing infiltration of both eosinophils when they were stimulated, and the parasitic allergens and toxins that attract this eosinophil infiltration to problematic tissues:
  15. A 2009 study of Blastocystis infection and subtypes associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, at Gazi University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey, found that a particular subtype of Blastocystis, subtype 3, was the most common detected Blastocystis infection in these diseases, and that this subtype was highly associated with feedlot animals. Subtypes associated with rodents and wild birds were not found in these patients with IBS and IBD and concomitant Blastocystis parasitic infection:
  16. Scientific study is revealing how chronic parasitic infection alters the immune response by modulating the magnitude of the T regulatory (Treg) cells, also called T suppressor cells, since they act to suppress other T cell responses. This altering of the immune complement system may leave the person infected more open to other deep low-grade parasitic infections, and may explain how other inflammatory diseases progress. Epigenetic inheritance of altered gene expression from parents affected by allergies may also play a role.:
  17. This excerpt from an article on protozoa infection (e.g. giardias, toxoplasma, amoebas, and sporozoans) from the University of Texas in 1996 reveals the complexity of immune responses to parasites, and how protozoa infection often last years in a host body, affecting many other systems by the diverse effects on T helper cell populations of cytokines. Affects on the glucose, fatty acid, and protein metabolism, as well as autoimmune responses, are probable with a prolonged immune modulation in such parasitic infections. The imbalance of Th1 to Th2 responses has been a focus of research explaining many autoimmune disorders since this publication. These T cell subtype imbalances also may alter the expression of B cells and antibodies:
  18. This 2006 study at the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, Mucosal immunity Unit, of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, outlines how parasites have evolved means to manipulate the host natural defenses of T regulatory (Treg) cell population, ensuring conditions that secure prolonged survival of the parasite in the person. Restoring natural homeostatic balance to the immune system with Complementary Medicine may be one way to counter this evolved mechanism:
  19. This 2009 meta-review of scientific study of the varied chronic diseases associated with parasitic infections shows that mental illness, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and epilepsy have been linked to specific chronic parasitic infections:
  20. This 2010 meta-review of scientific study of cancers potentially caused by chronic parasitic infections, by the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences, in Athens, Greece, shows that there is considerable evidence of this link to a variety of cancers, but that a prolonged chronic low-grade parasitic infection is needed to cause cancer. This shows that a treatment strategy that only addresses acute parasitic infection is not sensible:
  21. A 2013 case of lymphatic cancer in a patient with AIDS in Columbia led to the discovery that the cancer cells in his lymphatic vessels was in fact derived directly from the parasite Hymenolepsis nana. a tapeworm, by using PCR analysis. Such findings have prompted more study into the potential for a number of cancers in humans actually derived directly, not indirectly, from parasites, something inconceivable until recently:
  22. A 2015 report on the fndings of the cancer introduced into the human lymphatic system from a parasitic helminth in Columbia, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that our understanding of how human cells become cancerous is still a puzzle, and that parasitic mechanisms may causing cancer may help elucidate this puzzle:
  23. A 2014 study at Dartmouth explored the potential to alter a parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, commonly found in the intestines of humans and cats, to actually treat cancer by stimulating natural immune responses:
  24. A 2002 study at the Yale University School of Medicine used actual ticks to infect laboratory animals to achieve a more realistic phenotype of the spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferiand test the effects of a standard one month course of antibiotics. The results showed that the treatment eliminated spirochetes with the DNA plasmids that spread the disease, but that some spirochetes that were noninfectious persisted for up to 6 months in some of the subjects. At 9 months after treatment, some low level of spirochete DNA existed in some of the animals, but was not associated with disease. This study demonstrated that PCR and immunofluorescence testing will detect spirochete DNA at a low level that is not associated with disease in humans, but that this positive test does not confirm Lyme Disease:
  25. A 2014 review of prolonged antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease and post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, by the U.S. NIH National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, showed that numerous sound studies overwhelmingly show that prolonged courses of antibiotic therapy provides no proven benefit in the treatment of these disorders, and presents numerous health risks in both the short-term and long-term, as well as contributing to antibiotic resistance in many species of bacteria:
  26. In 2009, such labs as Immunosciences Lab, Inc. in Beverly Hills, California introduced easier testing for Lyme's disease that could more accurately and quickly diagnose infection with greater accuracy, using in vivo induced antigen technology (IVIAT) so that patients could be diagnosed by CIM/TCM physisicans (Licensed Acupuncturists), and integrate herbal and nutrient medicine with standard antibiotics to quickly provide an holistic treatment protocol to address the complete health:
  27. A 2009 study at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health showed that antibiotic strains of the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum, which causes Syphilis, have emerged due to the overuse of antibiotic therapy to treat spirochete infection, such as Lymes disease. The widespread choice of prolonged antibiotic therapy, with no proof of efficacy, may soon produce a high percentage of strains of Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete bacteria that are antibiotic resistant:
  28. A review of scientific study of parasitic infection spread via blood transfusion, at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, in Chandigarh, India, noted that confirmation of Transfusion-Transmitted Infections from Parasites (TTIP) was still considered rare in 2010, but that the sheer numbers of parasites make screening for subclinical parasitic infections problematic. The most well known threats from transfusion in the United States included Babesiosis and Chagas disease, and the most common known TTIP parasites are Plasmodium, Trypanosoma cruzi, Babesia microti, Toxoplasma gondii and Leishmania. Numerous tests are introduced to detect potential parasites in donor blood, but screening potential donors is difficult because most infections are asymptomatic and low-grade. Immunocompromised recipients are most at risk, and strengthening the immune system would be sensible. The global movement of immigrants from areas of endemic parasitic infection, who have acquired natural defenses, poses a greater difficulty in screening, and the poor regulation of donor sources is a difficult problem as well:
  29. A 2015 study at the National Research Center for Protozoan Diseases at Obihiro University, in Japan, found that 2 active chemicals in the Chinese herbs Qing hao, or Artemesia annua, artemesinin and artemether, showed great potential in in vitro studies to inhibit growth of Babesia gibsoni. This study highlights the potential of the whole herb extract, or perhaps development of a combination drug from these 2 chemicals, to prevent or treat the transfusion related infections from Babesia. The study highlights how this combination is less effective for the atovaquone-resistant Babesia strains, and perhaps suggests that we should limit the use of atovaquone and other pharmaceuticals to avoid such widespread resistant strains:
  30. In 2014, experts at the U.S. CDC, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. note the overlooked threat of Chagas disease (Trypansoma cruzi protozoa) via transfusion and food borne transmission from more than 300,000 U.S. residents estimated to be carrying this protozoa systemically, and the more than 100 million at risk for the disease worldwide. The main chronic health problems associated with Chagas disease are cardiomyopathy and gastrointestinal diseases:
  31. A 2008 study at the State University of Londrina, in Brazil, shows that Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) contains chemicals that have strong antiprotozoal effects against Trypanosoma cruzi. An alcohol extract may capture more of these important herbal chemicals. Such study demonstrates that the potential for herbal medicine to treat such protozoal infections is great, and further study is sure to reveal more effective herbal medicines:
  32. A 2010 study at the Harbin Medical University in China revealed how electroacupuncture stimulation at just one point, ST36, restored balance between the Th1 and Th2 T helper cell populations in laboratory animals with autoimmune disease. These subjects also showed a greater hypothalamic adrenal, or ACTH, response:
  33. A prior study in 2009 at the Harbin Medical University in China revealed how electroacupuncture stimulation regulated the balance of Th1 and Th2 T helper cell populations of cytokines in the spleen, our major lymphatic organ, both at protein messenger and RNA levels, affecting a number of inflammatory pathways after surgical trauma to reduce susceptibility to infection:
  34. A 2012 study at Radix Pharmaceuticals in Germantown, Maryland, found that one of the chemicals in the Chinese herb Dichroa febrifuga (Shu qi leaves or Chang shan root) has a dose-dependent curative rate of 50-100 percent for malaria and the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, a protozoa. Such findings could promote use of a more complex herbal antimalarial that would have less chance of promoting drug resistance, but we are unlikely to see such a promotion of proven herbal medicine in the near future:
  35. Herbal chemicals are being widely studied for the treatment of parasitic disease. In this study at the University of Toulouse, France, in 2011, the various Chinese herbs in the Curcuma family (E zhu, Yu jin, Jiang huang) are being evaluated for a broad antiparasitic effect, examining efficacy for Candida, Giardia, Pasmodium (malaria), leishmania, Babesia, Sarcoptes and nematodes. :
  36. A 2001 study of herbal treatment for the parasitic disease schistosomiasis by experts at the Mansoura University School of Medicine, in Egypt, found that the Chinese herb Myrr resin (Mo yao) produced a 91.7percent cure rate, with those not cured given a second course, with a 76.5 percent cure rate, leading to an astounding 98 percent cure rate. The standardized extract showed only a few mild adverse side effects that were transient, and 20 cases followed up with biopsy specimens at 6 months showed that none of them had living ova. If such results had been obtained with a pharmaceutical drug, it would be heavily promoted and prescribed:
  37. A 2000 study of the effectiveness of traditional herbal medicine of South Africa against schistosomiasis, a common parasitic infection that affects the lymphatic system and leaves tens of millions of victims with lymphedema and elephantiasis, by experts at the University of Natal Pietermaritzburg, in Scottsville, South Africa, found that extracts from Berhkeya, Euciea natalensis, and Trichilla emetica were lethal to the schistosomula. Such studies have confirmed that traditional herbal medicines around the world are effective against parasitic diseases, as humans have known for thousands of years with successful clinical practice:
  38. A 2003 review of the treatment of parasitic disease at Southern Cross University in Australia found that scientific evidence supported a holistic protocol involving both herbal and nutritional medicine. Giardia was a focus of concern in the population, with a whole-foods based diet with high fiber, low in saturated fat, lactose, and refined sugars, use of probiotics, and numerous medicinal herbs showing significant benefits, especially Chinese herbs that contain berberine (i.e. Coptis / Huang lian), aged garlic, and the ayurvedic formula Pippali rasayana (Piper longum / Bi ba, and Myrica / Gou mei):
  39. A 2012 study at Kyber Medical University in Peshawar, India, found that the herb Verbascum Thapsus, or Mullein, in tincture, exerted significant antihelmintic and antispasmodic effects, potentially relieving chronic diarrhea and discomfort caused by parasitic helminth overgrowth:
  40. A 2002 study at Cairo University found that the herbs Artemesia, Albizzia, and Inula exerted anti-helmintic effects for Ascaris lumbridoides. These herbs are analogous to the Chinese herbs Qing hao, He huan pi, and Xuan fu hua / Jin fei cao:
  41. A 2015 study at the University of Munster Institute for Pharmacological Biology, in Germany, and the University of Basel in Switzerland, note that protozoal diseases are now found to be common and classified as "Neglected Diseases" by the World Health Organization (WHO), but that a number of common herbs have chemicals that are proven to be potent anti-protozoal medicines. The highest activity was found in Salvia (Dan shen), Curcuma (E zhu), Valerian, Hypericum (St. John's Wort), Arnica and Silybum (Milk thistle) in 58 extracts studied in Europe. Such study shows that common use of herbal medicine protects against such infection, and can be used to clear chronic parasitic infection:
  42. A 2011 study in India revealed that curcumin, a chemical found in the Chinese herbs E zhu, Yu jin, and Jiang huang (turmeric), may be more effective than antibiotics to counter Clostridium difficile, the most prevalent cause of gastroenteritis, and a growing threat with antibiotic overuse, resistant strains, and damage to the human biota from antibiotics. Antibiotic therapy is found to increase the risks of acquiring this infection by 7-10 times: gastroenteritis herbal
  43. A 2015 study at the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Chengdu, China, shows that the simple Chinese herb, long used to control parasitic helminth overgrowth even by chewing slices of the plant and seed, Areca catechu, or Bing Lang, contains about 50 active chemicals, including tannins, triterpenes, flavones and fatty acids that have broad antiparasitic and antioxidant effects, as well as activities that treat chronic fatigue, depression, allergies, chronic inflammation and digestive dysfunction. The herbal chemicals in Bing lang also may help regulate blood glucose, lipids and platelet aggregration. While the main active chemical is a slightly toxic arecoline, which may have both negative and positive cytotoxicity, inducing cancer cell apoptosis for example, the popular use of Bing lang in Asian cultures for centuries shows that this toxicity is mild, and balanced by the other chemicals in the plant, which are protective. While some of these chemicals are being investigated for isolated high dose use in medicines, it is obviously sensible to consume the whole plant extract, and to use a low dose of Areca in herbal formula:
  44. A 2011 study of the effects of various herbs used traditionally to treat helminth infections, by experts at the C. Abdul Hakeem College of Medicine, in Tamil Nadu, India, showed that Annona squamosa, Eclipta prostrata (Han lian cao), Solanum torvum (Long kui), Terminalia chebula (He zi), and Catharanthus roseus extracts showed complete inhibition (100%) at the maximum concentration tested (50 mg/ml):
  45. A 2013 study at the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, published in the medical journal Immunopharmacological Immunotoxicology, showed that a common Chinese herb, Pinellia ternata (Ban xia) attenuated induced influx of eosinophils, neutrophils, macrophages and other leukocytes and lymphocytes into lungs and bronchioles in response to stimulation. Such studies indicate that Chinese herbal formulas provide broad protective effects against the parasite-related disease mechanisms:
  46. A 2011 study at Nanjing Medical University, Changzhou, China, showed that proanthocyanidins in grape seed extract remarkably suppressed airway resistance and eosinophil infiltration into lungs and bronchioles, decreased IL-4 like common pharmaceutical asthmatic medications, and decreased airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation in allergic asthma:
  47. A 2012 study at Nanjing Medical University, Changzhou, China, showed that chrysin, in Chrysanthemum herbs, such as the common Chinese herb Ju hua, or Chrysanthemum morifolium, significantly attenuated allergen-induced lung eosinophil infiltration, and switched the immune response from a Th-2 domination towards a Th-1 effect, modulating GATA-3, all drivers of parasite-induced eosinophil activation and infiltration:
  48. A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that the use of acid reflux drugs were linked to the rise in Clostridium difficile-related diarrhea:
  49. A 2008 review of the treatment of parasitic disease at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, found that a variety of classes of herbal and nutrient chemicals are effective in viral parasitic diseases, such as HIV infection. These include flavonoids, lignans, coumarins, xanthones, tannins and terpenes, which are the active chemicals in many Chinese herbs and modern nutrient medicines:
  50. A 2000 review of the treatment of childhood viral intestinal parasitic disease at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, found that of the 34 traditional Chinese herbs investigated to treat rotavirus and infant diarrhea, that Zhi shi, or Citrus aurantium, had the most potent effect. This simple dried fruit has now also been found effective to treat shock, exerting an alpha-adrenergic agonism, inhibit excess histamine release, and improve blood circulation:
  51. A 2001 review of the treatment of herpes and varicella viral parasitic diseases, such as herpes, cold sores, chickenpox and shingles, found that of 31 Chinese herbs studied, 4 had significant effect, alcohol extracts of Da huang, Mu dan pi, and Chuan lian zi, and water decoction of Ku shen:
  52. A 2012 study at the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, revealed that the Chinese herb Wu bei zi (Chinese gall) and pomegranate extract, significantly inhibited Norovirus gastroenteritis: gastroenteritis Chinese herbs
  53. A 2014 study at the University of Zulia, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, at the Laboratory of Neurobiology, found that melatonin exerts significant resistance to parasitic infections, including Plamodium, Entamoeba, Toxoplasma gondii, and Trypanosoma cruzi, via antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects:
  54. Research by Heiner Fruehauf Ph.D. L.Ac., a scholar specializing in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Asian civilization, now working with integrative specialists and teachers in Portland, Oregon, who earned doctorates from the University of Chicago and Chengdu College of TCM in China, presents a solid and objective overview of the the subject of Gu Syndromes in historical Chinese medicine, showing that these terms were related to degenerative and parasitic chronic diseases, not to voodoo shamanism, as has been promoted by prominent names in the field of TCM, such as J.R. Worsley, a famous British TCM physician who claimed to reveal the Worsley 5-Element School of TCM, a school of theory disputed by many prominent Chinese TCM scholars. Dr. Fruehauf shows objectively how and why the medical terms with Gu in them in ancient Chinese Medicine do not refer to mythical demons, but instead to practical categories of difficult and chronic diseases:
  55. Two large long-term studies of the parasitic disease Clostridium difficile, published in 2013 in the medical journal BMC Medicine (Harvard Medical School), a journal of negative results in biomedicine, found that common antidepressant medications, and a diagnosis of depression, were highly associated with the most common parasitic disease in older hospitalized patients, and increased risks of this parasitic infection of 36 to 47 percent, induced by changes in gut health. The antidepressants associated with the increased risk were Prozac, Remeron and Trazodone, all of which affect the serotonin and 5HT neurotransmitters and receptors, most of which are located in the gastrointestinal system, not the brain. Other studies have demonstrated that chronic use of acid-inhibiting drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine H1 antagonists, also dramatically increase the risk of, and are associated with hospital-acquired infections such as Clostridium in the GI, and various pneumonias, many of which are antibiotic resistant:
  56. A through overview of the naturally derived antiparasitic drug Ivermectin (Stromectol) that effectively treats a number of parasitic diseases caused by helminths, including Scabies, Roundworm diseases such as Filiarisis and Ascariasis, and Cutaneous Larva Migrans:
  57. Some diseases of immune reactivity are related to overgrowth of symbiotic parasites, such as mites, which normally colonize the scalp and face of humans and live in the follicles. Rosacea is a difficult health problem that occurs with hormonal imbalance and increased acidity due to lack of homeostatic balance. When this occurs, the follicle mite Demondex follicularum overgrows and may be a cause of the immune reactivity. The antiparasitic drug Ivermectin has been shown to be useful in decreasing symptoms. To see an explanation, this article from the National Rosacea Society. A similar biotic imbalance, Heliobacter pylori overgrowth, is also associated with rosacea, and we can see the connection:
  58. A 2007 study at Anhui University of Science and Technology, in China, found that an alcohol tincture of Taraxaci (Pu gong ying) was very effective in decreasing the Demondex follicularum mite growth, as well as Stemona root. By using a topical tincture of such herbs, along with a soothing anti-inflammatory hypoallergenic lotion, such as bioidentical pregnenelone cream, rosacea can be diminished without fear of adverse side effects:
  59. A 2006 study at the Anhui University of Science and Technology, in China, found that a number of Chinese herbs have been proven effective to inhibit overgrowth of skin mites, such as Demodex follicularum, with Cortex Phellodendron (Huang bai), Herba Agrimoniae (Xian he cao) and Herba Taraxaci (Pu gong ying) most effective: