Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by a parasitic protozoa known as Giardia lamblia. You can get giardiasis by drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, or coming into contact with someone who has the infection. The symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, gas and nausea. Conventional treatment, such as metronidazole and tinidazole, do not work for everyone and they can have unpleasant side effects. Herbal home remedies for giardiasis may help eliminate the parasite and improve symptoms.

Herbal Actions

Herbs for giardiasis can work in different ways to inhibit the growth or reproduction of the parasite. Some stimulate the production of enzymes that can kill the parasite. Other herbs trigger an immune response that allows the body to fight the parasite naturally. Although these herbs are readily available as home remedies, they contain potent chemicals, so check with a knowledgeable practitioner for advice about dosage and preparation.

Oregon Grape

Oregon grape, or Mahonia aquifolium, is a North American evergreen shrub with clusters of purple berries. Herbalists use the fruits and roots to treat psoriasis, indigestion, poor lymph drainage and chronic constipation. The plant is rich in berberine, a yellow alkaloid active against Giardia lamblia. In their 2000 book, “The Herbal Drugstore,” Dr. Linda B. White and medicinal plant expert Steven Foster recommend using a tincture or capsules to treat giardiasis. However, do not use this herb if you have chronic gastrointestinal problems.


Garlic, or Allium sativa, is an ancient herb with a long history of medicinal use. Garlic cloves are a traditional remedy for a range of disorders, including high cholesterol, upper respiratory infections and hypertension. An article by Jason Hawrelak, N.D., published in the 2003 issue of “Alternative Medicine Review” states that garlic inhibits the mobility of Giardia lamblia and its ability to adhere to human cells. Garlic may also have a direct lethal effect on the parasite by stimulating an enzyme that can lead to cell degradation. Garlic may cause stomach upset and increase the risk of bleeding, however.

Pippali Rasayana

Pippali rasayana is an Indian Ayurvedic formula composed of two herbs: long pepper, or Piper longum, and palash or Butea monosperma. Historically, herbalists have used both herbs individually to treat intestinal worms, giardiasis and chronic dysentery. In combination, the herbs seem to have a synergistic effect. Jason Hawrelak, N.D., explains that pippali rasayana stimulates the immune response, allowing infected patients to eliminate the parasite naturally. Discontinue if skin rash develops.


The NIH research indicated that a number of active ingredients in goldenseal may assist the body in maintaining a healthy balance of intestinal flora while providing a soothing effect on inflammed intestinal linings. One of those ingredients, berberine, has been shown to be comparable to the effectiveness of metronidazole, a commonly prescribed anti-parasitic drug.

In one study regarding berberine conducted in India, a total of 137 children (ages 5 months to 14 years, median age 5 years) with documented giardiasis were given 10mg/kg/day in divided doses, for a period of 5 or 10 days. They were then compared with 242 subjects placed on conventional therapy, including 88 who received metronidazole (20mg/kg/day for 5 to 7 days). 90% of those receiving berberine had negative stool specimens after 10 days, and 83% remained negative one month later. This compared favorably with those treated with metronidazole, 95% and 90% respectively. The author of the study concluded the report by citing berberine's "convenience of administration and freedom from unpleasant side effects. In a similar study, 48% of those receiving berberine were symptom free after 6 days compared with only 33% of those receiving metronidazole*.

Goldenseal Advanced™ Digestive Support was specifically developed for use in NIH funded human studies but is now available without prescription as a dietary supplement. It is a whole plant goldenseal product scientifically formulated to support the elimination of internal parasites including Giardia, without unpleasant side-effects such as pain and cramping*.

Best of all, at eight times the concentration required to 100% inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Goldenseal Advanced™ indicated no inhibition of Lactobacillus acidophilus, a "friendly" organism often killed when conventional treatments are used.

No complicated formulas or protocols, just determine the daily dosage, based on your body weight, using the chart below. Add that amount of Goldenseal Advanced™ to your diet for five days for a cleanse that will not only assist your body rid itself of parasites but is also wonderfully soothing to the entire digestive system.

Many other examples relating to goldenseal's potential effectiveness in a variety of situations can be cited including cases of bacterial diarrhea, Staph., E. coli, Strep, and Candida infections as well as Leishmaniasis in both dogs and cats*.

The amount to consume is based on weight, whether in animals or humans and should be divided into three or four doses per day for a period of at least 5 days. Sleepy Hollow Farm's Goldenseal Advanced is easy to use, simply mix the required amount with water or juice.

Herbs against giardia

Antiparasitical action of herbs are usually bitter and/or pungent.

Bitters include Wormwood, Neem, Oregan Grape

Pungent herbs include Bayberry, Clove, Garlic

Allium Sativum (garlic)

Whole garlic is an effective inhibitor against Giardia intestinalis. In one study, using visible light microscopy, viable3 Giardia has a distinct shape like a tear drop, they reflect light and are mobile, swimming in a distinct spiral pathway. Often they attach to the glass slide and the mition of the flagella of Giardia can be observed. Addition of whole garlic preparation resulted in a loss of adherence to the glass slide, a loss of motility and flagellar movement. There was also a decrease in cell numbers and an increase in the proportion of swollen misshapen cells.

Artemisia Annua (sweet wormwood) Qing huo

This herb is renowned for its use in treating malaria where its effectiveness is confirmed in both historical data and modern pharmacology. Accordint to WHO (World Health Organisation 1.5 million malaria patients in South East Asia and Latin America were treated with artemisin, a constituent of Qing Huo. In China Falciparum plasmodium resistance to chloroquine is 84.6% but only 2.2-2.4% to artemisinin. Thus a remisinin has completely replaced chloroquine and quinine as drugs of choice fror treatment of malaria. However, it is important to keep in mind that while it is effective as a drug for treatment it is not effective as a casual prophylactic agent.

Qing huo has shown few adverse reactions in toxicology studies. In chronic toxicology studies no abnormalities were reported in heart, liver, kidneys, and other vital organs following long term administration. (Ref Chinese Herbology and Pharmacology by John and Tina Chen)

Dose 3 - 10 grms in decoction. The herb should only be cooked for a short period of time as heat may make it less effective. i.e no more than 15 mins, Tincture: 7.5 - 10 ml per day 1.2 tincture

Kidney herbs

    • Couch Grass (agropyron repens) Parts used the rhizome A good diuretic and its demulcent properties is good for irritation and inflammation of the kidneys. Useful in removing kidney stones and gravel

    • Gravel Root (Eupatorium purpureum) Parts used Rhizome and root. Primary use for kidney stones and gravel

    • Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) Parts used Dried roots and rhizome. Good in a kidney combination formulae

    • Parsley Piert (Aphanes arvensis) Parts used Aerial parts A potent diuretic and good for painful urination. Commonly used for kidney and urinary stones and gravel. Also good for water retention due to kidney and liver problems.

    • Alisma (Alisma orientalis) Parts used Rhizome. Has a potent function to regulate water circulation and resolve fluid accumulation. A good diuretic

    • In all kidney problems the above combination is a base formulae. The dose is 20ml per herb per week to equal 100ml and this can be doubled to give a stronger dose.


    • BALMONY (Chelone glabra) Parts used Dried aerial. From the North American Indians it has a long history as a curative remedy for liver and gallbladder problems. Used for gallstones and inflammation of gallbladder.

    • FRINGETREE (Chionanthus virginicus) Parts used The root bark Specific for all liver and gallbladder problems. Gallstones and inflammation of gallbladder

    • BARBERRY (Berberis vulgaris) Parts used bark of root or stem. Excellent for stimulating bile flow and correcting liver function. Gallstones and inflammation of gallbladder

    • BOLDO (Peumos boldo) Parts used Dried leaves. Specific for gallbladder problems. Gallstones and inflammation of gallbladder

    • WAHOO (Euonymus atropurpureus) Part used Root bark. Primary liver herb and used for pain due to congestion of stones. Inflammation of gallbladder.


    • The Merck Manual Fifteenth Edition

    • Giardia the Cosmopolitan Parasite by B.E. Olson and P.M Wallis

    • WDDTY Vol 17 No 3

    • WDDTY Vol 8 No.5

    • WDDTY Vol 15 No 1

    • Guess What Came to Dinner by Ann Louise Gittleman

    • The Parasite Menace by Skye Weintraub

    • The Cure for all Diseases by Hulda Clark

    • Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology by John K. Chen and Tina T. Chen

    • The Herb Users Guide by David Hoffman

    • Power vs Force The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior bt David Hawkins