The conversation around parasite cleanses has evolved, highlighting the importance of understanding when and how to undertake a parasite cleanse naturally and effectively, without damaging your own gut health and microbiome.

This article will:

  1. educate you about parasites
  2. teach you many common symptoms of parasite infection, and
  3. discuss some of the natural methods for parasite cleansing you can adopt under the guidance of our wonderful Naturopaths at Brisbane Livewell Clinic.

What are Parasites?

Parasites are organisms that live on or inside another organism - known as the host - and benefit at the host's expense. We call this a parasite infection.

Different symptoms are caused by different parasites, and some of these symptoms can mimic those of other infectious diseases. Many autoimmune diseases can have an infectious trigger as the root cause, including parasites, bacteria, viruses, or fungi.4 In these cases, intestinal parasites may cause inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

In Australia, as in other parts of the world, parasites can be classified into various types, each affecting humans, animals, or plants in different ways.

Here's a breakdown of the main types of parasites found in Australia:

  1. Protozoa - These are microscopic, single-celled organisms that can multiply within their hosts. Common examples include Giardia and Cryptosporidium, which can cause gastrointestinal illnesses in humans.

  2. Helminths - These are larger, multicellular organisms, commonly referred to as worms. They include:
    • Roundworms (e.g., Ascaris, which can cause ascariasis)
    • Tapeworms (e.g., Taenia solium, responsible for taeniasis)
    • Flukes (e.g., Schistosoma, causing schistosomiasis)
  3. Ectoparasites - These live on the skin of the host. In Australia, common ectoparasites include:
    • Ticks, which can transmit diseases like Lyme disease
    • Fleas, which are more of a nuisance but can also transmit diseases
    • Mites, such as those causing scabies
  4. Fungal Parasites - While not typically classified as parasites in the traditional sense, some fungi can act parasitically by invading and living on or in a host. An example is Candida, a yeast that can cause parasitic infections when overgrowth occurs.
Infographic on Common Types of Parasites and Parasite Cleanse. Brisbane Livewell Clinic Logo

In Australia, the risk of parasite infections varies depending on factors such as climate, lifestyle, and wildlife exposure.

Rural and remote areas may have a higher prevalence of certain parasites, particularly those affecting livestock and wildlife, as close contact with humans can allow them to invade organ systems.

Tropical parasites, often targeted by parasite cleanse products, can pose unique challenges due to their resilience and varied life cycles.

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre - Parasite Cleanse

What Are Some of the Common Types of Parasites?

Here are some of the common types of parasites, many of which are parasitic worms:

  • Roundworms: live in the stomach and intestines and are commonly contracted through undercooked (eg raw or undercooked meat) and contaminated foods.
  • Tapeworms: live in the lower intestinal tract and enter the body when you eat (or touch) undercooked beef, fish or pork.
  • Pinworms: live in the intestinal tract and lungs and come out at night to lay eggs around the anus. The eggs hatch and the young worms reenter through the anus - this is why itching of the anus at nighttime is a indicative sign of parasite infection.
  • Hookworms and Threadworms: enter the human body through the feet and can be found in contaminated drinking water. These worms are unique because they can survive inside you for several years, and the eggs can incubate for up to 10 years before hatching.

Where Do Parasites Come From?

Microscope parasites and parasitic eggs can come from a variety of different sources, including: 

  1. water, including contaminated drinking water and contaminated water on your hands when you touch your mouth
  2. food the person eats, such as undercooked meat and contaminated foods
  3. poor hygiene
  4. contact with soil and ingestion without washing hands
  5. eating unwashed raw fruits and vegetables

Sugary or stale foods, or foods that are difficult to digest, can make it easier for parasites to thrive.

Generally speaking, parasites are a natural part of the environment around us, and are not something to fear. Challenges arise, however, when people ingest (eat, drink or touch their mouth with contaminated hands) parasites or their eggs, which begin to grow inside them.

Parasite Prevention and Control

There are things you can do to avoid contracting parasites, including:

  • Practice good hygiene, including regular handwashing.
  • Ensure safe food preparation and water consumption.
  • Use appropriate insect repellents and protective clothing to guard against ectoparasites.
  • Regularly deworm pets to control pet-associated parasites.
  • Seek assistance if you suspect a parasitic infection.

While parasites are a concern, with proper precautions and awareness, the risk of serious health issues can be significantly reduced.

Person washing hands at sink using soap. Handwashing for parasite prevention. Brisbane Livewell Clinic.

Learn about different Parasite Conditions

Symptoms of Parasitic Infection

If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, or if you notice them in your children, it may be a sign of parasitic infection:

  • repeated diarrhoea or constipation (ie lack of regular bowel movements)
  • chronic, unexplained nausea, often accompanied by vomiting
  • fatigue and weakness
  • intestinal cramping
  • unexplained dizziness
  • foul-smelling gas
  • digestive issues
  • weakened immune system
  • indigestion and bloating
  • multiple food allergies
Man in black shirt sitting on chair suffering from Parasites and needing a Parasite Cleanse. Brisbane Livewell Clinic.
Girl in white and blue floral dress lying on white fur textile. Sick with a parasitic infection. Parasites and needing a Parasite Cleanse. Brisbane Livewell Clinic.
Sick man suffering from Parasites and needing Parasite Cleansing. Brisbane Livewell Clinic.
Sick man with parasites holding forehead under sunset. Needing a Parasite Cleanse. Brisbane Livewell Clinic.
  • loss of appetite
  • itching around the anus, especially at night
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty maintaining a healthy weight (overweight or underweight)
  • unexplained weight loss
  • itching on the soles of the feet, often accompanied by a rash
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • heart palpitations
  • unexplained bleeding in the digestive tract
  • unexplained failure of body systems
  • other body systems not working as they should
  • gastrointestinal conditions
  • flu like symptoms
  • anaemia
  • facial swelling around the eyes
  • wheezing and coughing, followed by vomiting, stomach pain and bloating
  • multiple chronic conditions that are unexplained and often linked to many of the above symptoms.
  • Red Flag Symptoms

    Metro North Health in Queensland lists some of the red flag symptoms, where you should seek immediate medical attention (and where your GP should be sending you to hospital):

    • Red flags occur from complications of dehydration from gastroenteritis, from extensive secondary bacterial infection and from the presence of parasites in vital organs
    • Dehydration from gastroenteritis
    • Marked anaemia
    • Deteriorating renal function
    • Abnormal LFT
    • Extensive crusting and secondary infection of the skin associated with scabies
    • Altered conscious level
    • Tapeworm cysts in liver, brain, myositis
    • Visual problems (toxocara)
    • Myocarditis (toxocara)
    • Hepatic cysts

    What Happens if you do get a Parasitic Infection?

    It's important that we are aware of the signs and symptoms of a parasite infection, so we can obtain a proper parasite diagnosis. If diagnosed with parasites, you will likely need a parasite cleanse.

    The fantastic Naturopaths at Brisbane Livewell Clinic can help with both diagnosis of parasites and natural parasite cleansing that is gentle on your body and immune system and that restores your gut health and intestinal microbial balance following the parasite cleanse treatment.

    Be wary of any person who makes a parasite cleanses claim without having the necessary training and experience.

    Learn about Natural Parasite Cleanse Australia

    Does it Matter if I have Parasites?

    Parasites generally make their hosts ill. They can be single celled organisms or more complex organisms whose main purpose is to reproduce.

    In order to do so, parasites need a host within which to stay protected and thrive - the host's job, our job, is to feed and protect the parasites and their offspring.

    This in turn makes us ill, particularly as more parasites grow within us. Our organ systems start to struggle, our body system is placed under stress, and we suffer many one-off and chronic symptoms that increase in severity as the parasites multiply within us.

    Keep in mind that some parasite infections can become systemic, and may have been going on for some time without you being aware of them.

    This is where parasite cleanses become extremely important for your ongoing health.

    Should I Self-Diagnose that I have Parasites?

    It's important that you don't self-diagnose having parasites or needing a parasite cleanse. Make a booking to see your GP or an experienced Naturopath, who is trained to diagnose this for you.

    People self diagnosing is particularly problematic where they go on to try to treat themselves and their children (often without needing to and with potential negative effects on the body, including their gut health).

    Some parasite cleanse supplements that are used, or parasite tablets purchased from pharmacies, can be very harsh on the stomach (including stomach acid) and your gut bacteria, and can actually make you sick.

    That's why it's always best to undertake parasite cleanses for you and your family under supervision of a practitioner.

    How Can Naturopathy Help You with Parasite Cleansing?

    Step 1: Get the Proper Diagnosis

    When it comes to intestinal parasites, it’s important that you get a proper parasite diagnosis to find out what kind of organism is causing your problems (and whether you do have parasites).

    During the initial consultation, our Naturopath will sit down with you to discuss your current symptoms, previous history, your digestive health and general gut health, previous treatment, current medication and other supplements, and diet and lifestyle.

    They may also use a wide range of diagnostic tools to determine what’s causing your problems and whether one or more parasites are responsible.

    Step 2: Understand Your Condition

    Your Naturopath will explain the results of any tests that are done and help you understand what they mean for you.

    They will also make sure you fully understand what parasitic infections are present and how they are affecting your body, and what types of parasite cleanses may be needed.

    Step 3: A Tailored Plan Just For You

    Your Naturopath will work with you from start to finish, explaining your test results and what they mean for you and tailoring a treatment plan specifically designed for you.

    You will be provided with Practitioner-approved supplements of customised herbs to help you manage your immediate symptoms through your parasite cleanse.

    Our practitioner will also recommend the right dietary and lifestyle changes that will tackle the root cause of your parasites. A parasite cleansing diet is one of the important parts of cleansing common parasitic infections.

    Using Natural Remedies and Diet to Treat Parasites

    Our Naturopaths use specific natural remedies that are designed to maintain healthy intestinal microbial balance through antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic activity.

    They are experts in parasite cleanses, treating neglected parasitic diseases and taking steps to kill parasites.

    At Brisbane Livewell Clinic, our Naturopaths are able to help you have one of the best parasite cleanse Australia.

    Herbs and Supplements in a Parasite Cleanse

    Lavendar for parasite cleanses

    Many of the remedies used by our wonderful Naturopaths to carry out parasite cleanses contain the following herbs and herbal supplements:

    • Lavender Oil – inhibits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract and has the capacity to inhibit germ tube formation and hyphal elongation which helps to reduce the spread of infection in host tissues.
    • Garlic – has broad antimicrobial activity that can be attributed to multiple inhibitory effects.
    • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) – is a traditional herb that has been used for centuries to treat intestinal parasites. A 2017 scientific study, for example, was titled, "Therapeutic efficacy of Artemisia absinthium against Hymenolepis" (ie, whether Wormwood works therapeutically in treating tapeworm), and it concluded that significant reductions in the EPG and worm burden were recorded in A. absinthium-treated mice, being promising results. Further studies using different extracts, active ingredients and concentrations against different parasites were recommended to be conducted. Another 2018 study in humans found that wormwood could treat schistosomiasis, which occurs in people with a type of parasitic worms, as effectively as the standard medical treatment. Read more about these studies in Medical News Today.

    Our Naturopaths will likely create you a herbal supplement tailored to your specific needs as part of the parasite cleanse.

    If you require a parasite cleanse to kill parasites, our practitioners will recommend a detoxification program to help clear your system of existing parasites as well as to help treat the root cause.

    They are also likely to recommend a particular diet (such as reducing processed foods) to support your body during the parasite cleanse, and to help protect your gut health and body's microbiome.

    Possible Side Effects

    When undertaking a Naturopathic parasite cleanse, it's important to be aware of potential side effects. These treatments often involve the use of herbs, supplements, and dietary changes to eliminate parasites from the body. While many people find these cleanses beneficial, they can have some possible side effects:

    1. Digestive Disturbances - Commonly reported side effects include nausea, bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. These can result from the body's reaction to the herbal treatments or from the dying off of parasites. These are generally short-term and seen as a part of the parasite cleanse treatment.
    2. Dehydration - Due to increased bowel movements or diarrhoea, there's a risk of dehydration. It's crucial to maintain adequate fluid intake during the parasite cleanse.
    3. Herxheimer Reaction - Also known as die-off syndrome, this occurs when a large number of parasites die off quickly, releasing toxins into the body. Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. Contact your Naturopath if you're concerned.
    4. Interactions with Medications - Certain herbs and supplements can interact with prescription medications, potentially altering their effectiveness. Make sure you discuss the proposed treatment with your GP beforehand.

    By consulting regularly with your Naturopath as instructed, you will be supported during any such side effects, and your Naturopath can make adjustments to your herbs or herbal supplements as appropriate.

    To minimise risks:

    • Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any cleanse, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medication.
    • Follow a balanced approach, ensuring you don't neglect other aspects of health and nutrition.
    • Stay hydrated and monitor your body's reactions to the cleanse.
    • Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe or concerning symptoms.

    Remember, while naturopathic treatments can be beneficial, they should be approached with care and ideally under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.

    Diet Options - Parasite Cleanse Diet

    The following dietary recommendations are often suggested to support the intestinal parasite cleansing process:

    • Avoid caffeine, refined sugars, alcohol and refined processed foods.
    • Eating anti-parasitic foods such as raw garlic, pineapple and papaya seeds which contain enzymes that aid the digestive system.
    • Eating foods that are rich in beta carotene such as carrot, sweet potatoes and squash which assist in increasing resistance to penetration by larvae.
    • Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria and L. bulgaricus which can help to rebuild beneficial intestinal bacteria.
    Beta Carotene. Carrots, sweet potato, vegetables. Vegetable Salad on Plate. Parasite Cleanse. Brisbane Livewell Clinic

    Many of the foods recommended by our Naturopaths will have anti parasitic properties. For example, pumpkin seeds are known to have an antihelminthic effect, which means the effect of expelling or stunning worms. Grapefood seed extract is known to be effective against fungi, bacteria, yeast, viruses and parasites. And coconut oil is said to have antibacterial and antiviral properties that may prove helpful in clearing a parasite infection from the body.

    Before you reach for the grapefruit seed extract, pumpkin seeds, papaya seeds or these other foods for a suspected parasite infection, make sure you consult with your Naturopath. They will help you get on the right foods diet to cleanse most parasites.

    Does a Parasite Cleanse Work?

    When performed correctly, Parasite Cleanses can be extremely effective in ridding your body of unwanted parasites. It's important to make sure that you only carry out a Parasite Cleanse under the direction of your Naturopath, otherwise the treatment may not work correctly.

    Remember that different Parasite Cleanses are required for different types of Parasites in order to ensure they work correctly.

    How Long Before a Parasite Cleanse Works?

    The time before a parasite cleanse shows effectiveness can vary widely, depending on several factors including the type of cleanse, the specific parasites being targeted, and your overall health and body response. If you eat a healthy diet, it may take less time. If you have chronic illness, it may take more time.

    In all cases, your Naturopath will guide you through the process and ensure you have the right natural remedy. Read more about natural parasite cleansing here.

    Generally, a typical parasite cleanse might take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to show noticeable results. It's important to note that some people may experience initial symptoms of detoxification, such as fatigue or digestive changes, before they begin to feel improvements - speak with your Naturopath if you have any concerns.

    Additionally, the lifecycle of the parasites involved plays a crucial role. Some parasites have longer lifecycles and may require a longer period of treatment for the vast majority to be fully eradicated. It's essential to follow the recommended duration of the cleanse and consult with your Naturopath for personalised advice and to ensure the cleanse is effective for your specific situation.


    1. Do you sell a parasite cleanse kit in Australia?

    We do not sell parasite cleansing kits at Brisbane Livewell Clinic. Each person who has contracted parasites will have a different parasite (or parasites) from other people. The needs of their own body, immune system and gut health also need to be taken into account. Because of this, it does not fit within our ethos to sell a "one size fits all" parasite cleanse kit in Australia.

    2. What is the best parasite cleanse Australia?

    Our Naturopaths strongly recommend that you do not try to purchase a "parasite cleanse" or a "parasite cleanse kit" before you consult with a Naturopath and discuss your symptoms with them. Because of this, there is no "best parasite cleanse Australia", "parasite cleanse kit" or "best parasite cleanse kit Australia", despite what you may have searched for on Google. Until your Naturopath has identified whether you in fact have parasites, and what type of parasites you are infected with, it is simply impossible for them to treat you effectively through a pre-purchased kit. 

    The best course of action if you suspect you have parasites is to book a consultation with one of our skilled and caring Naturopaths at either our Wavell Heights or Cannon Hill Clinics, discuss your health history and symptoms, and let them identify the issue then recommend a Treatment Plan. And please be very wary of any provider offering to sell you a parasite cleanse kit over the internet.


    1. Gopalakrishnan, S., Anantha Eashwar, V. M., Muthulakshmi, M., & Geetha, A.. (2018). Intestinal parasitic infestations and anemia among urban female school children in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. Retrieved from
    2. van Kuijk, A. W. R., Kerstens, P. J. S. M., Perenboom, R. M., Dijkmans, B. A. C. , & Voskuyl, A. E.. (2003). Early-onset polyarthritis as presenting feature of intestinal infection with Strongyloides stercoralis. Rheumatology. Retrieved from
    3. Norouzali Tehrani, M. H., Pestechian, N., Yousefi, H., Sekhavati, H., & Attarzadeh, H. (2010). The Correlation between Intestinal Parasitic Infections and Bruxism among 3-6 Year-Old Children in Isfahan. Dental Research Journal. Retrieved from
    4. Burgess, S. L., Gilchrist, C, A., Lynn, T. C., & Petri, Jr., W. A. (2017). Parasitic Protozoa and Interactions with
      the Host Intestinal Microbiota. Infection and Immunity. Retrieved from
    5. CDC (2019). Parasites - Cryptosporidium. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from
    6. CDC (2017). Parasites - Cryptosporidium: Illness & Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from
    7. Blastocystis Research Foundation (2019). Blastocystis Infection More Closely Associated with Diarrhea than E. Histolytica or Giardia. Blastocystis Research Foundation. Retrieved from
    8. Boorom, K. F., Smith, H., Nimri, L., Viscogliosi, E., Spanakos, G., Parkar, U., Li, L,-H., Zhou, X.-N., Ok, Ü. Z., Leelayoova, S., & Jones, M. S. (2008). Oh my aching gut: irritable bowel syndrome, Blastocystis, and asymptomatic infection. Parasites & Vectors. Retrieved from
    9. Blastocystis Research Foundation (2019). Physician Report: Metronidazole can Worsen Blastocystis Infection. Blastocystis Research Foundation. Retrieved from
    10. Harvard Medical School (2019). Giardiasis. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved from
    11. Hanevik, K., Wensaas, K.-A., Rortveit, G., Eide, G. E., Mørch, & K., Langeland, N. (2014). Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue 6 Years After Giardia Infection: A Controlled Prospective Cohort Study. Clinical Infectious Diseases. Retrieved from
    12. Retrieved from
    13. Halliez, M. C.M. & Buret, and A. G. (2013). Extra-intestinal and long term consequences of Giardia duodenalis infections. World Journal of Gastroenterology. Retrieved from
    14. Silva Santos, P. H., Santos Barros, R de C., Galvão Gomes, K. V., Alves Nery, A., & Casotti, C. A. (2017). Prevalence of intestinal parasitosis and associated factors among the elderly. Revista Brasileira de Geriatria e Gerontologia. Retrieved from
    15. Kantor, M., Abrantes, A., Estevez, A., Schiller, A., Torrent, J., Gascon, J., Hernandez, R., & Ochner, C. (2018). Entamoeba Histolytica: Updates in Clinical Manifestation, Pathogenesis, and Vaccine Development. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Retrieved from
    16. Cohen, J. (1996). Metronidazole to clear intestinal parasites. The Lancet. Retrieved from
    17. Stensvold, C. R., Lebbad, M., & Clark, C. G. (2012). Last of the Human Protists: The Phylogeny and Genetic Diversity of Iodamoeba. Molecular Biology and Evolution. Retrieved from
    18. Hill, D. & Dubey, J. P. (2002). Toxoplasma gondii: transmission, diagnosis and prevention. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. Retrieved from
    19. McAuley, J. B. (2014). Congenital Toxoplasmosis. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society. Retrieved from

    With thanks to our amazing Naturopaths Colleen Rowe and Emma Pumfrey of Wavell Heights, and Jen Strachan and Amy Angus of Cannon Hill for their contributions to this article.

    Last Updated on 30 March 2024 by Brisbane Livewell Clinic