Plants and Spices That Can Cure Toxoplasmosis
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Nutmeg is an accessible and popular spice used frequently in cooking and baking. Besides being a major culinary spice, though, nutmeg also totes powerful medicinal benefits. One of the main active components in nutmeg, myrislignan, has been thought to be one of the primary actors against Toxoplasma gondii when nutmeg is used medicinally to treat this condition. Researchers have observed that myrislignan can significantly reduce parasite levels in tissues throughout the body, though especially so in the brain, and that it offers protection from death of up to 40% when administered to rats infected with T. gondii.
Besides being a treatment for toxoplasmosis, nutmeg has also been used medicinally to treat the following health conditions:
- Other parasitic infections
- Anisakis simplex / anisakiasis
- Liver disease
- Fungal infection
- Viral infections
- Low libido/sexual dysfunction
Nutmeg may be taken as an essential oil, in capsules, or as a tincture/extract. Women who are pregnant should not use nutmeg medicinally since it can stimulate uterine contractions and may be abortifacient (the compound myristicin, present in the essential oil of nutmeg, is oxytocic and can speed up labor). Follow the instructions on the medicinal product you get to get the correct dosing information. Do not exceed the indicated dose.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is another culinary herb that can also be used medicinally to treat a variety of health complaints; the herb is especially beneficial for the treatment of respiratory disease (you can read more about thyme for respiratory health here). Studies have shown that, in regard to Toxoplasma infections, Thymus vulgaris may be especially beneficial in treating (and even preventing) brain cysts that have developed as a result of toxoplasmosis.
In addition to treating toxoplasmosis, thyme has been studied in regard to its effects against the following parasitic infections:
- Lice and crabs
- Trichinella spiralis
- Trypanosomiasis / Trypanosoma spp.
- Trichomoniasis / Trichomonas vaginalis
- Giardia / Giardiasis / Giardia lamblia
- Haemonchus spp.
- Caenorhabditis elegans
- Trichostrongylus spp.
- Chabertia spp. (infects almost exclusively ruminants)
- Oesophagostomiasis / Oesophagostomum spp.
- Teladorsagia spp.
- Echinococcosis / Echinococcus spp.
- Blastocytosis / Blastocystis hominis
- Toxocariasis / Toxocara vitulorum
- Eimeria stiedae
In one review of various studies done on common herbal medicines for the treatment of parasite infections, thyme was among the most powerful of all the herbal medicines included, and had efficacy against the widest range of medicines. Thyme may be taken as a capsulized extract, as a tincture, or as a tea. To prepare a thyme tea, follow the instructions below:
- Bring ½ liter of water to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of dried thyme leaves.
- Let the thyme boil for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and let the tea steep until the water temperature is lukewarm.
- Strain the tea and drink on an empty stomach.
- NOTE: Do not add any sweeteners or other ingredients, drink this tea as-is.
- Drink this amount of thyme tea daily for at least 1 week.
Follow the dosing indications on any tinctures or capsules of thyme. This is a very safe medicine and may be used in low to moderate doses over the long term. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may be able to use thyme in small amounts, but should be aware that higher doses of thyme have an emmenagogue effect, meaning that they stimulate menstrual flow. Children may also safely take thyme tea or other preparations with thyme.
Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Neem is another antimalarial herb with a long history of use that has also been used frequently in the treatment of trypanosomiasis and toxoplasmosis. In the treatment of toxoplasmosis specifically, studies have shown that neem can kill at least 70% of Toxoplasma parasites with very limited toxicity to human cells; in some cases, neem has even been able to kill 90% of Toxoplasma or more. In a different study, neem was combined with cinnamon and demonstrated similarly potent anti-Toxoplasma effects in vitro.
Neem has also been studied in regard to the treatment of chronic pain, as an antifungal medicine, antiviral, antibacterial, antidiabetic agent, as a treatment for gum disease, head lice, and more. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Keep in mind that neem is very bitter, and therefore, it tends to act well on the gastrointestinal system.
For toxoplasmosis prevention, a dose of 50mg of neem may be taken 3-4 times per day. To treat toxoplasmosis, on the other hand, a dose of 1000-5000mg per day of powdered herb (in capsulized form or powder may be used. Children should start with a smaller dosage, and women who are pregnant should avoid this herbal treatment entirely since it’s an herbal contraceptive (read more about neem’s contraceptive powers here) and a potential abortifacient.
Bunium persicum is a relative of the cumin plant, and though it’s a relatively obscure plant in most western nations, I thought it deserved special mention here because of its frequency of use in Indian cuisine and medicine. The essential oil of Bunium persicum has been shown to effectively combat Toxoplasma parasites in animals infected with the parasite. The mice given B. persicum in a 2015 study done on the effects of this plant on toxoplasmosis overall fared better than the mice who hadn’t been given any treatments at all. They had lower mortality rates in addition to having lower numbers of parasites present after treatment.
Bunium persicum is also a powerful antibacterial medicine with therapeutic actions against Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli.
Zhang, Jili, et. al. (2019). Myrislignan Exhibits Activities Against Toxoplasma gondii RH Strain by Triggering Mitochondrial Dysfunction. Retrieved November 22, 2022 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6759950/
Pillai, Suthagar, et. al. (2012). Anti-Parasitic Activity of Myristica Fragrans Houtt. Essential Oil Against Toxoplasma Gondii Parasite. Retrieved November 22, 2022 from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212670812000887
Abourashed, Ehab A. and El-Alfy, Abir T. (2017). Chemical diversity and pharmacological significance of the secondary metabolites of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans Houtt.). Retrieved November 22, 2022 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5222521/
Strothman Leites, Adriane, et. al. (2022). Antiparasitic treatment using herbs and spices: A review of the literature of the phytotherapy. Retrieved November 22, 2022 from: https://www.rbmv.org/BJVM/article/view/1268/1286
Ahmad Eraky, Maysa, et. al. (2016). Effects of Thymus vulgaris ethanolic extract on chronic toxoplasmosis in a mouse model. Retrieved November 22, 2022 from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27098159/
Papa Pintor, Yamila (2022). The Antiparasitic Properties of Thyme. Retrieved November 22, 2022 from: https://steptohealth.com/the-antiparasitic-properties-of-thyme/
Ngure, Rachel M., et. al. (2009). Anti-trypanosomal effects of Azadirachta indica (neem) extract on Trypanosma brucei rhodiense-infected mice. Retrieved November 23, 2022 from: https://dergipark.org.tr/en/download/article-file/62009
Melo, E.J.T., et. al. (2011). Effects of aqueous leaf extracts of Azadirachta indica A. Juss. (neem) and Melia azedarach L. (Santa Barbara or cinnamon) on the intracellular development of Toxoplasma gondii. Retrieved November 23, 2022 from: https://www.scielo.br/j/rbpm/a/XfLsNzRZbs8D7d5DcGhzJDS/?lang=en
Nemati, Sara, et. al. (2022). Formulation of Neem oil-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles and evaluation of its anti-Toxoplasma activity. Retrieved November 23, 2022 from: https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-022-03607-z
Ehsani, Ali (2016). Properties of Bunium persicum Essential Oil and its Application in Iranian White Cheese Against Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7. Retrieved November 23, 2022 from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jfs.12277
Tavakoli Kareshk, Amir, et. al. (2015). Efficacy of the Bunium persicum (Boiss) Essential Oil Against Acute Toxoplasmosis in Mice Model. Retrieved November 23, 2022 from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26811730/