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Drugs & Medication


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Anthelmintics (in the U.S., antihelminthics) are drugs that expel parasitic worms (helminths) from the body, by either killing or stunning them. A traditional remedy of this type is often called a vermifuge.

Examples of drugs used as anthelmintics include:

  • Albendazole - Effective against: threadworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, hookworms
    Diethylcarbamazine - Effective against: Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, tropical pulmonary eosinophilia, loiasis
    Mebendazole - Effective against: pinworms, roundworms and hookworms
    Niclosamide - Effective against: tapeworms
    Ivermectin - Effective against: most common intestinal worms (except tapeworms)
    Thiabendazole - Effective against: roundworms, hookworms

According to the United States Army Field Manual, there are several other common products which can be used (albeit dangerously) as antihelmintics:

  • Saltwater. Mix 4 tablespoons of salt (NaCl) in 1 quart of water and drink. Never repeat this treatment.
  • Tobacco - Eat 1 to 1.5 cigarettes. The nicotine in the tobacco will kill or stun the worms long enough for you to expel them.
  • Kerosene - At the most, drink 2 tablespoons of kerosene. If necessary, you can repeat this in several days (1 to 2 days at the least).
  • Hot peppers - Peppers are effective only when they are a steady part of your diet. You can eat them raw or add them to food.

Many members of the piperazine family are successful anthelmintics.

Natural anthelmintics include black walnut, wormwood (Artemisia absynthium), clove (Syzygium aromaticum), tansy tea (Tanacetum vulgare), Hagenia (Hagenia abyssinica), and the male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas).

The macroinvertebrate parasites treated in this way include, for instance, tapeworms and roundworms, which infest the intestines.


  1. US Army Survival Manual (reprint of Department of the Army Field Manual, FM 21-76). Platnum Press (2004). ISBN 0-7607-4988-4

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