What can I do about intestinal worms?

Worms are parasitic organisms that require a host to live in, and they obtain their food supply from the host or at the expense of the host. In this case, that host could be you! Worms, particularly threadworms, are very common in Australia, and children are at greater risk of developing a worm infestation.


Threadworms, also known as pinworms, live in the human intestine and around the anus. They are small, very thin white worms that grow to around 13 millimetres in length, and to the naked eye, they look like small threads of white cotton, and this is where they get their name from.

Threadworms are the most common type of worm infection found in Australia. Children, particularly pre-school and school-aged children, are more susceptible to threadworm infections, although adults can easily become infected. Usually, if one person in the household has a worm infection, it is more than likely that other members of the family will also become infected.

 Worms are spread directly by children (or adults) who scratch their bottoms and then carry the worm eggs back to their mouth with their hands, or indirectly, in food, dust, or other articles of bedding or clothing. The eggs can survive for up to two weeks outside the body. Around 4 weeks after the eggs are swallowed, they hatch in the small intestine and the female travels down the digestive tract and exits the body via the anus to lay a new batch of eggs on the surrounding skin, often at night. Adult worms may live for up to 6 weeks, so the treatment regime needs to span a 6-week period to rid the body of adult worms and newly hatched eggs.

Eliminating intestinal worms

Threadworms do not go away by themselves, and you cannot build up immunity to them, so they need to be treated in order to eliminate them from the body. Anthelmintic herbs such as European Wormwood and Black walnut hulls contain substances that help eliminate intestinal worms from the body by either:

  • Starving them, affecting their ability to take up glucose for energy or,
  • Paralysing them, so they lose traction in the digestive tract

 Worms have no means of storing energy, so they need to eat almost continuously to meet their metabolic needs and any disruption in this process results in energy depletion. Worms will also die if they become paralysed and temporarily lose their ability to maintain their position in the digestive tract.

  • Black walnut hulls (green or unripened) is traditionally used as an anthelmintic, helping the body destroy and eliminate intestinal worms.
  • Thyme and Oregano essential oils provide antimicrobial activity. Antimicrobials help to inhibit the growth of, or destroy, microorganisms. It’s important that these essential oils are not heat treated as their volatile oils are easily destroyed by heat, losing their therapeutic activity. See more here

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