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Worms: The ones inside you

 Let’s start by going back over 150 years.  In the 1850’s a devout German doctor called Friederich Küchenmeister read about some experiments that had been conducted with worms.  To the provincial doctor who wrote books on medical zoology and managed the local cremation club ‘Die Urne’, this was a most exciting turn in his career.

After his initial experiments on rabbits, dogs and pigs, Küchenmeister entered the big time.  “He got permission to feed bladder worms to a prisoner about to be executed, and in 1854 was notified of a murderer about to be decapitated in a few days.  His wife happened to notice that the warm roast pork they were eating for dinner had a few bladder worms in it.  Küchenmeister rushed to the restaurant where they had bought the pork and he begged for a pound of the raw meat, even though the pig had been slaughtered a few days earlier and was beginning to go bad.  The restaurant owners gave him some and the next day Küchenmeister picked out the bladder worms and put them in a noodle soup cooled to body temperature.

The prisoner didn’t know what he was eating and enjoyed it so much he asked for seconds.  Küchenmeister gave him more soup, as well as blood sausage into which he had slipped bladder worms.  Three days later the murderer was executed and Küchenmeister searched his intestines. There he found young Tania tapeworms. They were still only a quarter of an inch long but they had already developed their distinctive double crown of twenty-two hooks.

Five years later Küchenmeister repeated the experiment, this time feeding a convict four months before his execution.  Afterward he found tapeworms as long as five feet in the man’s intestines.”   Carl Zimmer, ‘Parasite Rex’.

The significance of Küchenmeister’s work was to evidence that parasites didn’t have to travel in the outside world to get from one host to another – they could grow inside one animal and wait for it to be eaten by another.  Even by today’s improved hygiene standards, you can ingest up to 1,000 parasite larvae eating a cubic inch of beef.

Worms are the larger classification of parasites and can usually be seen with the naked eye.  Although there are roundworm and flatworm the information here concerns the roundworm family only.  These are generally found in the small intestine but can also be found burrowing into the muscles, joints and blood stream where they can do significant damage.

It is estimated that 1,300 million humans worldwide are infected with roundworm and an additional 1,300 million with hookworm, 900 million with whipworm and 200 million with threadworm.  There are many other types of worm infecting humans and animals.

Worms reproduce by laying eggs.  The eggs are then deposited in the digestive tract, where they stick to the intestine walls. When the eggs hatch, the young feed on the food that we are digesting and eventually grow into adults.  The adult worms then repeat the process.

What you need to know about worms:

- Worms cause physical trauma to body by perforating our major organs and circulatory system (causing symptoms such as Leaky Gut).

- They can block organ functions by lumping together in ball (often mimicking tumours), and can affect the proper distribution of oxygen, blood and nutrition.

- They rob us of vital nutrients (have you ever felt hungry after a good meal?)

- They poison us by dumping metabolic wastes which our systems have trouble expelling.

- They destroy cells faster than they can be regenerated, causing ulceration & anaemia.

The Physical Symptoms of worm infestation produce inflammations and irritation, tissue invasion, allergic reactions and mechanical problems (other than those above), especially in bile ducts and the intestines.

The Psychological symptoms include nightmares, depression with suicidal tendencies, irritability and mood swings, spacey feelings, personality changes, insomnia and hyperactivity and short attention spans in children.  So it is vital to at least consider parasitic activity as a cause of attention deficit before administering drugs such as Ritalin on children who are diagnosed as suffering from this.  And if you’re wondering how long we’ve known that parasites can cause psychological disturbances, the Chinese knew about this 5,000 years ago. 

Demons of the body; Demons of the mind

Until relatively recently the Western perception of Chinese Medicine was limited to acupuncture.  But as our understanding matured we expanded that range to include moxibustion, herbs, dietetics and Qi Gung exercises.  One of the most submerged areas of medical archaeology is the ancient diagnostics and treatment of Gu Zheng (Gu Syndrome).  Gu has been translated as ‘stagnation, debauchery, degeneration or hidden evil’ and features prominently in the Book of Change (I Ching).

Often dismissed as an “ancient, feudalistic and superstitious” belief in demons that has no value in modern clinical practice, closer examination of the original texts point the way to similar invisible demons that plague patients in our modern age – systemic fungi, parasites, moulds, viruses and other hidden pathogens.  Gu has been described as “…a disease that catapults the person’s mind and willpower into a state of chaos” and “Gu ranks second only to the viciousness of wild beasts when it comes to harmful natural influences.”

Now to some specifics…….


Tapeworms are the largest of the worm group. Pets get tapeworms from fleas.  Humans get tapeworms from undercooked foods and from their pets. Tapeworms have 3,000-4,000 segments, each containing 50,000 eggs and can release up to one million eggs per day. They can live as long as 25 years and can quickly develop to 10 meters/33 feet in length within the digestive tract.  If you see tapeworm segments in your stool it doesn’t mean you have successfully eliminated the infestation. Tapeworms have a head that attach to the intestinal wall using hooks. As long as the head remains attached, a new worm can grow from it.

Their larvae can be found in almost any organ, being capable of infecting other tissues in varying stages of their development. Parasites have survival skills well beyond the capabilities of our immune system, especially when the immune system is compromised by enzyme-depleting foods and sugary drinks.  

Tapeworm symptoms:  anything from mild diarrhoea and abdominal pain to anaemia, weakness, fatigue, ‘floaters’ in the eye, blurred vision, lumps under the skin and malnutrition.  Severe infestations can cause excruciating headaches and seizures, confusion, loss of balance, swelling of the brain and the development of cysts in the liver, lungs and central nervous system.  Tapeworm from fish can consume 80-100% of the hosts vitamin B-12.


This classification includes hookworm, threadworm and whipworm.  Roundworm are often contracted through the skin (shaking hands with infected carriers, holding infected door handles, bank notes, toilet doors etc) and grow up to about 15 inches long. They live in the intestines although they can migrate throughout the body.  Roundworm look similar to an earthworm and can produce 200,000 eggs a day. 

Roundworm symptoms include upper abdominal discomfort, asthma, eye pain, insomnia, and rashes due to the secretions or waste toxins.  In large numbers they can hemorrhage when penetrating the intestinal wall, cause appendicitis, peritonitis, abscesses in the liver, loss of appetite, and insufficient absorption of digested foods. 

A recent German study by Dr Klinghart, a world-renowned specialist in neurotoxins and parasitic diseases showed that people with roundworm and tapeworm can lose teeth.  The teeth simply start dying at the roots with accompanying bone decay in the jaw.  After extraction, the jawbone area becomes infected - caused by a toxic release from the worms. The toxins become absorbed and impact the teeth which are very sensitive structures.   The connection may seem unrelated on the surface but is clearly brought on by worm infestation.

Gum disease is equally a reflection of having inflammatory changes in the gut caused by various parasites. 


A special note on Hookworm.  Although part of the roundworm family, hookworm larvae penetrate the skin. Many fruits and vegetables have been found contaminated by faeces left by migrant workers in fields while picking.  If they’re not washed properly they’ll end up on your plate.  When hookworm mature, they can totally sap the victim's strength and vitality.  Young worms use their teeth to burrow through the intestinal wall and feed on your blood.

Hookworm symptoms can include iron deficiency, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, a desire to eat soil, protein deficiency, water retention, dry skin/hair, skin irritations, distended abdomen, stunted growth, delayed puberty, mental dullness, cardiac failure and occasionally death.


Threadworm are the worms that most families come across.  They are white and grow to half inch in length.  Although they infect about one in five children, we are seeing more cases of adult infection occurring. Symptoms include itching and irritation of the anus or vagina, digestive disorders, insomnia, irritability or nervousness.  Female worms crawl out of the anus and lay about 15,000 eggs per night. If the infected host has a partner the threadworm can return to the anus of the partner.  When sheets and blankets are changed the eggs can become airborne, surviving for 48 hours anywhere in your living environment.  If your children display any symptoms, pull back the sheets when they’re asleep and shine torch on their anus.  Unfortunately you’ll only catch the ones you can see, but do wash their sheets, pillowcases AND blankets regularly.  Vacuum the mattress and surrounding area thoroughly as well.

What we can do about worms

Use common sense: drinking water is increasingly becoming an act of faith but look for pure water systems and have water filters checked.  Wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly; if you eat meat, cook it properly.  Wipe down the toilet seats before use especially in public and wash your hands and fingernails regularly throughout the day and especially before eating.  Do what you can to keep your immune system strong. 

Click here to watch worms in stomach, a short picture–only clip.  Its real value is in showing what can go on inside us if only we could see it!

Precaution is infinitely better than an after-the-event struggle to recover from the effects of worm infestation, or any other parasite infestation.  We carry the 500 year old recipe from Natural Cleanse with us as our health insurance and we recommend you do the same.

Graeme Dinnen

With many thanks to Carl Zimmer: ‘Parasite Rex’



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