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CLOSE THIS BOOKOutreach N 66 - Drugs - Part 3: Herbal Medicine (OUTREACH - UNEP - WWF, 40 p.)
VIEW THE DOCUMENT(introduction...)
VIEW THE DOCUMENTArticles on herbal medicines that have appeared in back issues of OUTREACH
VIEW THE DOCUMENTPlants that kill can often cure (plus exercise)
VIEW THE DOCUMENTThe effect of plant chemicals on animals
VIEW THE DOCUMENTA disappearing storehouse of medicinal plants
VIEW THE DOCUMENTThe effect of plant chemicals on humans
VIEW THE DOCUMENTWar on drugs: the tobacco connection
VIEW THE DOCUMENTTraditional herbal medicine and “modern” medicine
VIEW THE DOCUMENTUsing local plants to treat intestinal worms
VIEW THE DOCUMENTTreating cuts and wounds
VIEW THE DOCUMENTUnderstanding medicinal plants teaching materials available from World Neighbors
VIEW THE DOCUMENTTraditional medicine to graduate
VIEW THE DOCUMENTFilm: Jungle pharmacy
VIEW THE DOCUMENTIndigenous treatment for drug dependence in Thailand
VIEW THE DOCUMENTIdentifying health-protecting customs
VIEW THE DOCUMENTA simple and effective cough syrup we can prepare at little cost from the plants we find around us
VIEW THE DOCUMENTDiscovering the uses of medicinal plants in your neighbourhood
VIEW THE DOCUMENTFilm and teaching suggestions - Herbal medicine: fact or fiction?
VIEW THE DOCUMENTPills and potions
VIEW THE DOCUMENTRevival of traditional medicine in Amazonia
VIEW THE DOCUMENTDecode the drug
VIEW THE DOCUMENTBiodiversity and health
VIEW THE DOCUMENTBarefoot doctors
VIEW THE DOCUMENTHow a rainforest in Western Samoa was saved

Using local plants to treat intestinal worms

Information on home remedies is from:
“Home Remedies: Health Care at the Doorstep” World Neighbors in Action No. 18 World Neighbors, 5116 North Portland Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73112, U.S.A.

Source of other information:
“Where There is No Doctor” by David Werner, published by the Hesperian Foundation, (Copyright 1977)
The Hesperian Foundation, P.O. Box 1692, Palo Alto, California 94302, U.S.A.

If reproduced, please credit these sources.

There are many types of worms and other tiny creatures that live in people’s intestines and cause disease. Here are some remedies - using plants - for the treatment of hookworm, roundworm and pinworm (threadworm).


Length: 1 cm.
Colour: red

Hookworm infection can be one of the most damaging diseases in childhood. Hookworms may be present in the gut in large numbers without a worm ever being seen in a person’s stool (faeces). Any child who is anaemic, very pale or eats dirt, may have hookworm. If possible his/her stools should be tested.

How hookworms are spread



Eat ground seeds of papaya, or chew whole seeds.

Adults: Take 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) before bedtime, after a light meal.

Children over 6 years old: Take 1 teaspoon (5 ml.)

(Pregnant women should not use this remedy.)

Treat anaemia by eating foods rich in iron. Meat, fish, chicken and eggs are high in iron. Liver is especially high. Dark green vegetables, beans, peas and lentils also have some iron.


Build and use latrines.

Do not let children go barefoot.


Ripe papayas or pawpaws (Carica papaya) are rich in vitamins and also aid digestion. Eating than is especially helpful for weak or old people who complain of upset stomaches when they eat chicken, meat or eggs. Papaya makes these foods easier to digest.


Length: 20 to 30 cm.
Colour: pink or white


Many roundworm in the intestines may cause discomfort, indigestion and weakness. Children with many roundworm often have very large, swollen bellies. Rarely, roundworm causes asthma, fits or a dangerous obstruction or blockage in the gut. When a child has a fever, the worms sometimes come out in the stools or crawl out through the mouth or nose. Occasionally, they crawl into the airway and cause gagging.

How roundworms are spread

Through lack of cleanliness, the roundworm eggs pass from one person’s stools to another person’s mouth. Once the eggs are swallowed, young worms hatch and enter the bloodstream. This may cause general itching. The worms then travel to the lungs, sometimes causing a dry cough or, at worst, pneumonia with coughing of blood. The young worms are coughed up, swallowed and reach the intestines, where they grow to full size.


(1) Papaya milk (the liquid that oozes out when an unripe papaya fruit is squeezed) is an adult remedy. Take 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) the first thing in the morning for 2 days.

(2) Treat with banana root ash. Mix 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) into a glass of water and allow it to stand overnight. Drink the clear fluid at the top of the glass the first thing in the morning.


Follow basic rules of cleanliness. For example:

Use latrines.
Wash hands before eating or handling food.
Protect food from flies.

PINWORM (Threadworm, Enterobius)

Length: 1 cm.
Colour: white. Very thin and threadlike.

Pinworms are not dangerous, but itching may disturb a child’s sleep.

How pinworms are spread

These worms lay thousands of eggs just outside the anus (ass hole). This causes itching, especially at night. When a child scratches, the eggs stick under his/her fingernails, and are carried to food and other objects. In this way, the eggs reach the child’s own mouth or the mouths of others, causing infections of pinworms.


Pinworm can be treated with ground tender leaves of the neem tree. Each morning for 7 days, adults should take 1 teaspoonful (5 ml.) and children, ½ teaspoonful (2½ ml.). Stop taking leaves for the following 7 days. Then, repeat the same treatment for 7 more days. Total duration of treatment: 21 days.

Also, put vaseline in and around the sufferer’s anus at bedtime to help stop itching. A child who has pinworms should wear tight nappies (diapers) or pants while sleeping to prevent scratching of anus. Cut the child’s fingernails short.


The leaves of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), when ground up or boiled, may also be used in the treatment of scabies. Add tumeric powder to the concentrate, and for 3 days apply it to the skin after bathing.


Cleanliness is the best prevention of pinworm. Even if medicine gets rid of the worms, they will be picked up again if care is not taken with personal hygiene. Pinworms only live for about 6 weeks. By carefully keeping a child clean, most of the worms will be gone within a few weeks, even without medicine. Wash the child’s hands and buttocks (anal area) when he/she wakes up and after the child has a bowel movement. The child should always wash his/her hands before eating. Change the child’s clothes and bathe him/her often - wash the buttocks and nails especially well.


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