WHAT ARE PARASITES?
A parasite is an organism, plant or animal, that survives on or in a host organism and obtains its nutrients from that host 1,2,3. Parasites have an interaction known as parasitism, which falls under a subtype of symbiosis in which one of the symbionts (parasite) benefits from the close relationship and the other (host) is adversely affected 8. However there are different cases of parasitism in which the interactions between the host and the parasite can be positive, negative, or neutral 1,7. These relationships can be permanent, such as tapeworms, or they can be temporary, such as leeches, ticks, or female mosquitoes9. Most temporary parasites are considered obligatory parasites as they are physiologically dependent on their hosts to survive9. On the other hand there are parasites that are considered facultative, in which they are essentially free-living until placed in a situation where they are capable of becoming parasitic9.
The majority of parasites
Parasitism can be split into two main categories depending on their location; endoparasites, or ectoparasites.
Endoparasites are the larger of the two groups with 287 species, they invade and live within the body of a human 1,10. They can range in size from microscopic and not visible to the human eye to some being over 30 meters in length3. Parasites can live within vital organs, within the gut, bloodstream or tissue of the body10.
Within this large range of parasites species there are three main classes that can cause harm in humans; protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites2.
HOW ARE THEY CONTRACTED?
Parasites can be contracted in various ways, with some parasites having multiple modes of transmission. Transmission of parasites can be through; Animals, Blood, Food, Insects, or Water.
Parasites that spread from animals to humans fall under the category of zoonotic diseases. Some people that have been infected by a zoonotic parasite may not show any symptoms and may not ever get sick, however some may become very sick with symptoms such as diarrhea, muscle aches, and fever.
They can be passed by direct contact with animals, or via food for some zoonotic parasites (Cryptosporidium or Trichinella) that have been contaminated by stools from cows or pigs or from ingesting undercooked or raw meat from bear, boar, or pigs that have been infected.
Zoonotic parasites are not solely limited to agricultural animals, wild animals and even pets can transmit parasites to humans.
Parasites that transmit through blood come under the category of bloodborne parasites. They can be found in the bloodstream of infected people and can spread via exposure to an infected persons blood (needle sharing, blood transfusion, or naturally via insects otherwise known as vectors). Some parasites spend their entire life cycle in the bloodstream, some early on in their life cycle, and some other parasites only use blood to travel to another part of the body.
Foodborne parasites are a large group, with infections varying greatly depending on the parasite. Most cause gastrointestinal symptoms, where as some can cause abdominal pain, muscle pain, cough, skin lesions, malnutrition, weight loss, neurological symptoms. Foodborne parasites can transmit through foods such as;
undercooked fish, crabs and molluscs, undercooked meat, raw aquatic plants such as watercress, raw vegetables that have been contaminated by human or animal feces. They can also occur by food service workers that do not practice good hygiene or work in unsanitary facilities.
Vectors are insect that transmit disease, they can either be carrying the disease but the insect is not essential to the parasites life cycle, or they can be obligatory hosts where the parasite must undergo development in the insect before being transmitted.
Parasites transmitted by insects usually can enter the host via the saliva of the insect during a blood meal or via the feces of the insect immediately after a blood meal.
Only a very select few species of insect are capable of transmitting parasitic diseases, with the rest of the insects being beneficial to life.
Contaminated water is the easiest mode of transmission for parasites to infect hosts, and can cause severe pain, disability and even death. Waterborne parasites from natural waters can infect an individual swallows or becomes in contact with the contaminated water. It can easily spread, as an infected individual with an open can spread the parasite into the water and therefore contaminating the water. Recreational waters as well as drinking waters can also contain parasites. Recreational water illnesses are spread by swallowing, breathing, or being in contact with contaminated swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, or the ocean.
HOW IS OIL OF WILD OREGANO USED TO TREAT PARASITES?
There have been numerous studies showing the antiparasitic effects of Oregano Oil, along with other therapeutic qualities such as antibacterial, and antifungal5. Its antimicrobial, antibiotic and antiparasitic properties are all well-known and have been demonstrated through many scientific studies.
A study was performed by a research team from Georgetown University Medical Centre and led by Harry G. Preuss, M.D, on Oregano Oil and its antibacterial effects. It was shown that Oregano Oil inhibits the growth, at the same efficacy as standard antibiotics, of staphylococcus, a bacteria that is increasingly becoming resistant to many antibiotics6. This and other studies support the conclusion that Oregano oil is effective against bacteria that have become resistant to synthetic antibiotics. Along with not developing a resistance to infections, it also possesses a broad antimicrobial spectrum as its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic.
- As recounted in a review paper published in 2005, compiling multiple studies about the active components in plants as a resource for antiparasitic agents. Oregano Oil was the only oil, apart from garlic oil to be effective against more than two parasites12,.
- Many scientific studies have proven the effectiveness of Oregano Oil against parasites, with tests being conducted in vitro as well as on human and animal patients. The following are the results of scientific studies that have shown the efficacy of Oregano Oil against different types of parasites.
- Broiler chickens were experimentally infected with Eimeria tenella and given feed that contained Oregano Oil, the level of bloody diarrhea, lesion score and oocyst numbers were all significantly reduced, along with an increase in body weight gain and feed conversion rations12,14.
- A treatment of 1% aqueous solution of Oregano Oil on an infestation of head lice resulted in killing 100% of adult lice, and when followed by a rinse mixture of oil, malt vinegar and water 17 hours later 99.3% of the eggs died12,13.
- A study was conducted by administering Oregano oil to 14 patients with enteric parasites. A daily dose of 600mg of emulsified oregano oil for six weeks was applied. The results showed that in thirteen cases the parasites had disappeared and the parasite level decreased in three additional cases. As well as the efficacy in eliminating the parasites it also improved gastrointestinal symptoms in 63% of patients who tested positive for Blastocystis hominis. 4
HOW TO USE OIL OF WILD OREGANO?
Solutions4Health Oil of Wild Oregano is already appropriately diluted with a carrier oil so that it can be used for both internal consumption and external use.
As with the use of any nutraceutical, it is important to first consult with your doctor to discuss your use of Oil of Wild Oregano in light of any medical conditions you may have and any medication you may be taking.
Based on a successful study mentioned in this article, it can be inferred that a dosage of 600mg of Oil of Wild Oregano can be taken daily for a period of 6 weeks.
It is advised to take a probiotic after the 6 week course to replenish the good bacteria within your gut as Oil of Wild Oregano can eliminate bad bacteria as well as the good bacteria.
- Dunn, T. (2019). What is a Parasite? – Definition, Types & Examples. [online] Study.com. Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-a-parasite-definition-types-examples.html [Accessed 24 Jun. 2019].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). CDC – Parasites – About Parasites. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/about.html [Accessed 24 Jun. 2019].
- Bordqvist, C. and Biggers, A., MD, MPH (2019). What’s to know about parasites?. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/220302.php [Accessed 24 Jun. 2019].
- Force, M., Sparks, W. and Ronzio, R. (2000). Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo. Phytotherapy Research, 14(3), pp.213-214.
- Adame-Gallegos, J., Andrade-Ochoa, S. and Nevarez-Moorillon, G. (2016). Potential Use of Mexican Oregano Essential Oil against Parasite, Fungal and Bacterial Pathogens. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants, 19(3), pp.553-567.
- Meschino, J, P. (2005). Oil of Oregano: Nature’s Antibiotic and Anti-Fungal Supplement. Dynamic Chiropractic, [online] 23(10). Available at: https://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=50197 [Accessed 24 Jun. 2019].
- Khan Academy. (2019). Interactions in communities. [online] Available at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/ecology/community-ecosystem-ecology/a/interactions-in-communities [Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].
- Saari, S., Näreaho, A. and Nikander, S. (2019). Canine Parasites and Parasitic Diseases.
- Bogitsh, B., Carter, C. and Oeltmann, T. (2019). Symbiosis and Parasitism. Human Parasitology, pp.1-14.
- OpenLearn. (2019). Infection and immunity. [online] Available at: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/ocw/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=28152§ion=3.5 [Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Transmission of Parasitic Diseases. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/transmission/index.html [Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].
- Anthony, J., Fyfe, L. and Smith, H. (2005). Plant active components – a resource for antiparasitic agents?. Trends in Parasitology, 21(10), pp.462-468.
- Veal, L. (1996). The potential effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for headlice, Pediculus humanus capitis. Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery, 2(4), pp.97-101.
- Giannenas, I., Florou-Paneri, P., Papazahariadou, M., Christaki, E., Botsoglou, N. and Spais, A. (2003). Effect of dietary supplementation with oregano essential oil on performance of broilers after experimental infection witheimeria tenella. Archives of Animal Nutrition, 57(2), pp.99-106.