Boldo Tea for Parasitic Infections

Many herbal teas have been used for generations for various purposes. In central Chile, one of the many local remedies is boldo tea, a tisane created from the broad leaves of the boldo tree. This tea has been used for several purposes, including to promote liver function and digestion, and to ease inflammatory conditions. It also contains several properties that help the immune system deal with infectious agents, especially when it comes to parasites.

The Dangers Parasites Pose

A parasite is an organism that grows, feeds on and is protected by another organism without contributing to (and often negatively impacting) the health and survival of its host. These organisms are different from a symbiont (or symbiote), which relies on another organism while also benefiting the other organism as well. In such a case, the symbiotic relationship is mutually beneficial and therefore viewed positively. A parasite, on the other hand, is concerned only with its own survival and the survival of the offspring. In many instances of parasitic infection, the parasite may severely damage the health of the host, and in some cases, may even prove fatal. The animal kingdom is filled with thousands of parasites. Some of the most common to affect humans are:

Brewed Tea On Wood

Hookworms: These tiny worms infest mammals through water, fruit or vegetables. Once inside, they attach themselves to the intestinal wall and feed on the blood of their host, which can leave the host anemic. Symptoms of a hookworm infestation include weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and anemia.

Roundworms: Like hookworms, these worms are ingested and follow a disturbing life cycle. The adult lays eggs in the intestinal walls, which hatch and enter the bloodstream. Eventually, the larvae enter the lungs to be coughed up and swallowed again, where they return to the intestinal tract to begin the cycle again. These worms can range from 6-13 inches long, and may cause side effects such as fever, fatigue, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and wheezing, and even nerve problems.

Flatworm Blood Fluke: These parasites live in water and penetrate the skin of those who come in contact with the infected water. Once in the bloodstream, the fluke causes inflammation and severe organ damage, especially to the liver, intestines, and organs in the urinary system. As they can live in the host for decades without presenting symptoms, these parasites are considered especially dangerous.

Tapeworm: Tapeworms attach themselves to the intestinal wall with tiny hooks that latch onto the flesh of the intestinal wall. These worms steal key vitamins from their host, leading to malnutrition, and can live in their host for more than two decades while their larva are expelled through excrement. Tapeworms can cause nausea, intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, fits, dizziness, weight loss, and malnutrition.

Pinworm: These tiny parasites do not resemble worms in appearance, and are not considered as dangerous as some parasites as they exist exclusively in the digestive system and do not enter the bloodstream. However, as they lay their eggs on the outside flesh, usually around the anus, they can result in severe itching and irritation.

Toxoplasma gondii: This small, crescent shaped parasite infects the central nervous system, and is contracted by humans from undercooked meat, or coming into contact with infected litter boxes. While many humans have come into contact with this parasite, most will never experience negative symptoms. Those with a compromised immune system, however, are more at risk to infection, and an unborn fetus may suffer an infection that can prove serious, even fatal. Signs of an infection from this parasite resemble a flu, with fever, chills, headache and fatigue.

Giardia lamblia: This parasite lives in water, and is resistant to most water treatment. It infects the intestine and causes inflammation that often results in diarrhea and disrupt the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This may result in nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. An unusual side effect includes belching with a taste like rotten eggs, and is often used as a marker for diagnosis of this type of infection.

Entamoeba histolytica: This member of the amoeba family lives in water and moist soils, and can contaminate produce as well. Infection from this parasite is called amoebiasis, and can have severe side effects such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, weight loss and even liver abscesses. This parasite has the second-highest number of fatalities from infection, lesser to only malarial parasites.

Workers Picking Tea Leaves

What Boldo Tea May Do

Boldo tea may be highly beneficial in the event of a parasitic infection. Firstly, it has been identified as an effective vermifuge, a substance that eliminates and expels parasites and worms. This is due to one of its constituents, asaridole, which can attack and kill the parasite. Boldo tea also has properties that help to heal the effects of a parasitic infection. With its anti-inflammatory effects, boldo tea may reduce inflammation in the intestines, allowing the digestive system to resume normal function. It also strengthens the immune system to help resist infection, and may even promote healing of affected areas.

Caution

Boldo is not advised to be used long-term, as its constituent asaridole, which is responsible for eliminating the parasites, may have adverse effects on liver health. Studies that have observed this effect are typically focused on the essential oil, which has a higher concentration of asaridole than boldo tea, and not all studies have produced this result. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised, and it is recommended to discuss the use of boldo tea with a doctor beforehand.