PARASITES, LIVER CLEANSING ... AND COFFEE ENEMAS, OH MY!
Alright friends, it's time to get into the dirty details!
I've done two parasite cleanses, so I'll share what I've learned so far. This will be the basics and my experience to date - so kind of a "parasite cleansing 101". I am always learning, and I try to keep it super real. So let's dig in ... just in case you might be ready to dive into one of these, too!
How on earth do we get parasites?
Well, if you are a living, breathing human on earth... you likely have parasites. You can get them from eating plants, eating meats, walking barefoot outside, drinking water, traveling... so yes, basically living! The number of parasites present in the US alone number in the thousands. These organisms are biochemically complex creatures in their life histories, development, reproductive cycles, nutritional requirements and manifestation.
They are categorized according to their structure, shape, function, reproduction. They include microscopic organisms (protozoa); roundworms, pinworms, whipworms, hookworms; tapeworms; flukes. I won't get into all the details of these bad boys, but there are many varieties ;). Food and water are the most common sources of getting a parasite and invading organisms transmission. Both plants and animals carry parasites, and cleaning and cooking methods often do not destroy them before ingestion.
What are signs and symptoms of parasites?
Of course these aren't specific only to parasites, but these are signs and symptoms of having parasites: allergies, anemia, anxiety, arthritis, abdominal discomfort, autoimmune disease, bed wetting (kids), bladder inflammation, bloating, chronic fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, eye inflammation, flu-like symptoms, gassiness, Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, headaches, insomnia, itching around your anus, leaky gut, low blood sugar, muscle and joint pain, nausea, nutritional deficiencies, skin rashes and sores, teeth grinding, vomiting, weak immunity, weight loss.
Why do people do parasite cleanses during the full moon?
The phases of the moon impact us in a variety of ways. Ranging from hormones to chemical balances. Melatonin levels drop every full moon -- this impacts both sleep and immunity! Serotonin levels increase in the full moon, which impact our behaviors and mental state. Critters also come "out to play" during the full moon. This is why most people do the parasite cleansing during it. Since parasites thrive off of seratonin, they become more active during the full moon!
Why did I decide to do a parasite cleanse?
I'm somebody is not one to jump on a trendy bandwagon. It took me about a year of reading and learning about parasites before I decided it wouldn't hurt to give it a go! I don't have any glaring signs or symptoms, but I'm not sure if I get some brain fog from just #momlife or #renovationlife or perhaps when I don't nourish my best! I also sometimes have a little sweet tooth hankering, which can be a sign of parasites. For me, mostly I was simply CURIOUS. If most of us have them -- get them out of me! Perhaps some parasites could be beneficial for us? Kind of like the microbiome. But huge worms in me? Nah.
So, I looked into various options. It appeared that Cellcore and Microbe Formulas offer quality products. It turns out that Cellcore and Microbe Formulas offer the exact same products, but only practitioners can provide links to Cellcore. Technically I am an Integrative Health Practitioner, but I will not be working with you 1:1, so I decided to go with Microbe Formulas brand because it's less complicated for you to get it, and it's the same products!
What was the parasite cleanse protocol I did?
I did the Microbe Formulas Full Moon Cleanse. I had a really great experience. You get the full protocol all in one bag. Three different pill bottles and one tincture. It's all herbal.
I started with the Beginner Cleanse the first two times, and next time I do it, I'll up it to the Intermediate Cleanse! Following the protocol is very easy. There are instructions in the pamphlet that come in the package with the bottles you. You just follow the directions!
You don't want to go full force at first (in my opinion), since parasite die off can cause a herxheimer reaction (or worse) if there is too much or if your liver isn't cleansing well! Speaking of the liver...
Why did I do a liver cleanse before the parasite cleanse?
Like I said, you want your liver functioning optimally and ready to cleanse out any parasite die off! So for me, I simply did a 7 day liver functional/ayurvedic liver cleanse to make sure my liver was ready! I didn't want a herxheimer reaction, which can range from flushing, muscle pain, skin lesions, etc. I had already done the Equillibrium Nutrition Dr. Cabral 7 Day Detox a few times, so that was my plan! I always feel great after I do it regardless, so I knew it wouldn't hurt.
About the liver cleanse...
I won't go into all the details, because you can read about it here (it's the 7 day detox). But just to give you a quick rundown what to expect: days 1 + 2 are the herbal/protein shakes only. It's essentially 48 hour fast, with some protein + calories. This sort of fast has many benefits for the liver and more. It's not easy... a lot of things that are worth it aren't necessarily easy! If you can't not eat, I'd say eat do what you can! I got better at doing it every time. I've never done it perfectly. ;) Days 3 - 7 you have a shake when you wake up, eat a meal late morning, have a shake in the afternoon and then eat dinner! Of course only you know your body, your season, your relationship with food - so if this isn't for you - that's okay!
The recommended foods are clean and both plant + animal based. It minimizes/cuts out sugar, gluten, alcohol etc. -- the idea is to REST the liver while cleansing it with the herbal supplements provided (you will take the functional + Ayurvedic supplements during this 7 day detox)! Like I said, I've never done it perfectly, but I have always felt TREMENDOUS benefits. Cravings for sugar dissipate. My brain fog clears. My habits fade (like feeling like I need to have dessert after lunch, dinner etc). I have more energy. It's a great re-set! I've never done it for weight loss, but some people do experience that (FYI).
I've always done the liver cleanse right before the parasite cleanse. I don't think it has to be done any certain way, but that's how I've done it. I mean of course, the liver cleanse BEFORE the parasite cleanse! And yes some people have done parasite cleanses without the liver cleanse before. Up to you. I think it sets you up well for the parasite cleanse (and is good to do in general! Read The Rain Barrel Effect by Stephen Cabral - we live in a toxic world!). I don't let the toxicity overwhelm me, but I control what I can within reason, and make sure to detox regularly ish.
I recommend continuing to follow the general trend of the 7 day detox into the parasite cleanse! Parasites thrive on sugar, so for me, I try to continue the clean eating, etc. I have a friend who does this often, and she says she sees more parasites when she doesn't eat sugar during the parasite cleanse. Helps them die off!
Here is my affiliate link to the Equilibrium Nutrition Liver Detox if you want to order the 7 day detox! Of course, more power to you if you want to do the 14 day or 21 day detox. People ask which shake flavor I like better - I like both fine. They aren't milkshakes, FYI ;). I like it iced and also blended in a blender it's super smooth! I like to add cinnamon to it, too.
Alternative: Microbe Formulas also has amazing prep protocols as well. I will probably try one of those this summer or fall to compare. You can read about them and see how deep into the Foundational Protocol you may want to go. Step 1 is Drainage + Energy.
So, now you know I do
1. The 7 day detox (functional/ayurvedic liver cleanse) and
2. The Microbe Formulas Full Moon Parasite Cleanse
.... what else?
COFFEE ENEMAS! Whoop!
Okay party people, this is purely optional, as is all of this ;). I have been following some amazing people who share the many benefits of coffee enemas and have been intrigued for the past two years. But I mean... coffee is for cozy mugs and early mornings and for entry in my mouth? Yeah? Welp. Let me tell you. This was maybe my favorite part of all of this!!
Why coffee enemas?
1. Coffee enemas detoxify and protect the LIVER!
Coffee contains kahweol palmitate and cafestol palmitate - which increase the level of glutathione in the intestines and the liver.
Glutathione is a vital detox antioxidant and it helps prevent damage from reactive oxygen species and heavy metals... it even breaks apart chemical carcinogens so our body can remove them!
Coffee also inhibits fibrosis of liber tissue and can help dilate blood vessels.
The coffee enema process also stimulates the release of bile from the liver.
2. Coffee enemas can help detoxify and protect the intestines.
The coffee constituents have detox effects in the intestines. Different enzymes and chemicals control our genes - and the rate of detox in the intestines is important! The palmitate can double the amount that intestine detox enzymes and genes are produced.
Coffee also contains theophylline, which reduces inflammation in the liver and the intestines. This may be useful in ulcerative colitis.
Glutathione also helps to inhibit neoplasia - the growth of new, abnormal, uncontrollable tissue (which can become tumors in the intestines).
3. Coffee enemas may help with depression and anxiety.
True health is a balancer of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). In anxiety and depression, the PNS is too low, which heightens anxiety and pain responses.
Coffee enemas stimulate the PNS and also stimulate the gall bladder to contract, which helps to open the bile duct.
This allows for the liver to move out toxins! Detoxing also can impact overall mood and gut health - which strongly tied to mental and emotional well being.
Supplies I used for my coffee enema:
Here is the enema kit I used. I kept it simple - didn't want to invest in an expensive one until I was sure this was something I was going to do regularly. I also got this huge bag of quality "enema grade" coffee. I mean, I probably could have just used my Kion coffee (the coffee I drink the most - fav clean brand), but figured I'd start here. You can also purchase smaller insert ends for the coffee enema kit, if desired. I just used what came in the kit. You can use coconut oil for a lube, essentially, for easy insertion.
*I'll say this now and again later, this isn't medical advice. Talk to your trusted provider about doing a coffee enema! I personally don't have a trusted provider yet where I live (ugh!) but I felt comfortable initiating myself. But I can't decide that for you.
Here is my summary of the coffee enema instructions:
Boil 2 cups of water and add 3 tbsp of the coffee grinds. Bring to boil for about 5 minutes and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Let cool. I put a sifter over my vitamix and pour it into my blender. Then I add 2 more cups of filtered water to bring the temp down. This just makes the process faster. You can also just start with 4 cups of water. You want it a temperature that isn't too hot or cold! I just feel it with my finger - luke warm of sorts. (If you want more specific directions - go to that link above!)
Then I pour the coffee into the enema bag (make sure the part that closes the seal is tight so it doesn't come out the end). I hang it in my bathroom and lay a couple towels on the floor and a pillow. Get as comfy as you would like ;).
Then I'm laying on the floor and the enema bag is hanging. Wash hands and lube the end with coconut oil if desired. Put on some good music! I just insert the tip and then sloooowly let the coffee in (especially your first time).
It takes 5-10 minutes just to let the coffee in, especially the first time you do it. Practice deep breathing. You can control the pace of the coffee entering- slow down if you are getting the constant urge to poop! Also, it SHOULD NOT HURT. If it does, pull it out. Something isn't right ;).
When you feel the urge to poop, just breathe. Obvi if it's uncontrollable, get on the toilet. I was totally fine just breathing and distracting myself with music, prayer, meditation, and more breathing. And just celebrating some alone time in the bathroom ;). I lay on my right side.
I aim for letting it sit in there about 15 - 20 minutes but you may not last that long at first! When it's time to let it all out, I gently and slowly move to the toilet. And then eliminate it. No, I don't recommend doing this in the shower. Let it out IN THE TOILET! Also, I recommend diffusing essential oils the whole time. ;)
This is often when you might get to see a worm if you are doing a parasite cleanse. I'm not one for digging through my poop, but lucky for me, a couple stuck to the side of the toilet. So, you do you. I sit on the toilet awhile to let it all get out! That enema really cleans out those intestines, so just let it be!
If I have time, I usually hop in the shower afterwards. It just feels right. I also clean my enema kit right afterwards. That also feels right. ;)
Then be prepared to FEEL AMAZING! Something about it - I'm telling you! I always feel like I have great energy all day after doing a morning coffee enema. And I've only done a handful in my life. But definitely felt the difference.
When I'm doing the parasite cleanse, I have done coffee enemas every morning and the day after. That is WHAT I DO. Do what works well for you. I just want to keep my liver performing well and also cleaning out those intestines. It's up to you -- just sharing what I personally do!
Sooooo... parasites, liver cleansing ...and coffee enemas, oh my!
Are you ready?
Of course none of this is medical advice! Make sure to talk to your trusted provider. Regardless, run this by your naturopath/doctor/functional med doctor/practitioner! Your body might have a much higher cumulative toxic burden and need more prep work -- only you can be the judge of all of that (and can talk to you a provider you trust). There of course CAN be negative effects, such as the herxheimer reaction. I have also heard of people not having open drainage pathways AND going too hard core on the parasite cleanse and it released big worms with ameobas and led to sepsis. Of course that is rare, and likely not the case for somebody who properly does a liver cleanse / drainage protocol and does the parasite cleansing beginner challenge.
But just sharing, so you know how important it is to do it correctly and work with a doc, as desired! Note - not meant to instill fear. I had zero problems, but we all have unique bodies. And we must do things correctly!
I am just sharing my journey and experience - which honestly has been incredible. I did this two full moons in a row, skipped a month in Hawaii, and now doing it again at least once this summer and upping my regimen to the "intermediate" level. I think I'll eventually just do it every 6 months.
Things you will need if you are to do how I did (I'm not saying this is the only way -- it's just how I did it!)
7 day Dr. Cabral Detox (or a liver cleanse via Microbe Formulas)
OR the Microbe Formulas Detox protocols (First one is Drainage + Energy)
Coffee enema kit (I started with this)
Coffee (I am currently using this)
Strainer (to strain the grinds out)
*not medical advice
Thank you for using my affiliate links, as always! And please don't hesitate to reach out and ask me questions on Instagram (@awholehealthlife) or via email at email@example.com. I am happy to help you!
Happy cleansing ;). Let me know how you feel when/after you do it, and make sure tag me to let me know!
Meg Kilcup, PharmD, IHP
Just a photo of us exploring in Hawai'i. We all can get parasites through various ways. Exploring in nature, eating food, drinking water, etc.