What is that? Gurgling tummy, pains that come and go, diarrhea, or constipation. Even the experts are baffled at exactly what this little bug is and how to treat it.
In our community in Australia's northern New South Wales we see a lot of people, of all ages with varying “gut related symptoms” many come in to us with stool tests from the doctor diagnosing Blastocystis Hominis. Many have taken the prescribed antibiotics and many still have “tummy troubles.” We prescribe a Blastocystis cleanse that has proven very effective. For details click here.
Defining exactly what Blastocystis is has presented quite a challenge in the health fields. It was at first thought to be a yeast, and then was classified as a protozoan. It has recently been re-classified as belonging to the kingdom of Stamenopiles, organisms which include mildew and brown algae.
What we do know in the natural health field is that whenever the host organism (that may be you) is not in optimum condition, it can get sick, and may become an attractive place for gut bugs.
A wholistic approach
From a naturopathic perspective the first place to start in treating a problem like “blasto” is to assess the condition of the person with the problem. This is because in wholistic medicine we do not always treat everyone the same way. In the dying words of Louis Pasteur: “the germ is nothing, the inner terrain is everything.” Even though Dr Pasture discovered the germ theory of disease he also saw the importance of the biological condition of the terrain to grow these germs or bugs. In our clinic we have noticed that people with difficulty tolerating grains can often suffer with blastocystis. It has also been found that blasto likes to feed on grains and sugars. It lives in mucus in the colon and can be difficult to eliminate.
A build up of toxicity
Having a healthy digestive system is vital to our survival. From our mouth to colon, food is ingested broken down and transported throughout the body to be used as fuel and tissue. For this to happen we must ingest the correct foods that are designed by nature for us. We must also live in stress free ways for our bodies to not be worn down and diseased. Hands up those who live like this all the time!! It could be said that perhaps we have been “spoiled rotton” - many of the foods, and drinks we ingest are not natural for us, they are acid forming, causing inner fermentation, over time weaken our digestion and immune system, creating the perfect the ground for breading parasites. In Ayurveda it would be known as accumulated Ama or toxins. In Chinese Medicine it would be called dampness, both these systems of health take strongly into account the terrain and constitution of the sick person.
Blasto is transmitted from fecal matter to mouth. This may happen because of poor hygiene in food preparation, dirty fingers nails, drinking contaminated water, (rain tanks can be contaminated with birds and rats fecal matter.). Strong digestive “fire” is essential to burn up, digest and eliminate invaders like Blastocystis.This digestive “fire” is the body's ability to breakdown, utilize what is needed for health and eliminate anything else. Treating Blastocystis is therefore not only about about eliminating the bug but also about restoring health to the gut and immune function.
Herbs for treatment
Herbs that have been found to weaken and, kill the Blasto are often very pungent, bitter and can be depleting if taken for too long, or if given to an already weakened person. It is best if these herbs are given in periods and interchanged. The dose must be carefully chosen, to suit the size and type of person being treated. We are finding that we have had quite a lot of success treating Blasto and yet continue to refine our prescribing as we learn more about how to best treat the individual cases.
These herbs include:
Coptis Chinensis, Oregano Leaf, Biacal Skullcap, Black Walnut, Quing Hao, Pomegranate, Garlic, Cloves.
Herbs that support digestion and enhance the efficacy of the above herbs include:
Gentian Leutea, Meadowsweet, Evodia Berry, Chinese Cinnamon, Angelica, Long Pepper, Ginger, Triphala, Psylium.
And some further herbs to support and build immunity are:
Echinacea, Shatavari, Andrographis, Astragalus, Amala, Withania, Rhodiolla, Siberian Ginseng.
Nutritionals to support in Blasto treatment will vary according to each person's needs. Some common ones are:
Zinc, Vitamin C, B complex, digestive enzymes, Pro-Biotics (the live friendly bacteria that live in our small and large intestines to protect us from the “bad bugs” multiplying) and Pre-Biotics (the food that feeds these “good bugs” and encourages them to grow).We have some very good products now in the Pro-Biotic range that have been shown to eliminate bad bugs like Blasto and to stop diarrhea effectively. I give these Pro-Biotics to people traveling overseas for gut protection, with good results.
Healing damaged gut mucus membrane can be an important part of the over all treatment. In the old days you would have to drink cabbage juice, goat’s milk and eat lots of sauerkraut. These foods are all still good for you but if you can not cope with them a range of new products have been developed to serve the same function.
If you have read much of the site you will know we are big on cleansing. Doing a once or twice a year cleanse to rid the body of built up toxins created by incomplete digestion and elimination is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from getting Blasto. In cases where it is very hard to eliminate Blastocystis we need to put the person on a cleanse to clear out the old fecael matter that the organsism can grow in. Taking specific herbs, using psyllium husks and bentonite clay are great to support cleansing. Enemas and colonic therapy are also very helpful in cleansing the bowel. Cutting out acid forming foods and the foods that feed up Blasto help in getting rid of it. Dairy products, refined sugars, and acidic grains are all favourite foods of Blasto.
Blastocystis is an anaerobic organism, meaning it lives in environments without oxygen, therefore, stabilized oxygen treatment is worth considering. The dose needs to be carefully considered and monitored. Again all the above advice of clearing out the ground for breeding, bugs is applicable.
And finally creating calm, relaxed, stress-free meal times and chewing your food slowly and thoroughly, is a great foundation for a healthy digestive process. Take the phone off the hook, turn off the telly and computer and sit down to a family meal - after you have all washed your hands of course!
For further information or advice come in and see us at Mullum Herbals or give us a call. For clinic details click here.