Cina maritima: The original parasite cleanse

So you suspect your patient has parasites … alternative health practitioners tend to employ an armamentarium of herbs to kill or at least to inhibit the growth of the bad bacteria, fungi, yeast, parasites, or whatever else may be lurking in their patients’ unhealthy GI tracts. But any holistic approach to treating an infection must necessarily include a consideration of the infectious terrain, that is to say, the morbid host factors which allowed the infection to occur in the first place. If our natural state is truly supposed to be one of vibrant health, then such ubiquitous fixtures of our natural environment as yeasts, molds, and parasitic worms should not alone be enough to make us sick, but do so only when some functional imbalance or missing determinant of health is already present. Will cleanses alone really increase the vitality of the patient, and, if not, are they truly sufficient to address a chronic infection or infestation? There are numerous herbs which have been shown, at least in vitro, to possess antimicrobial properties, but when it comes to increasing vitality and correcting the morbid terrain, nothing in alternative medicine has a greater recognized potential than homeopathy. I feel that too many alternative practitioners are wont to neglect homeopathy the moment a microorganism is thought to be involved, as it seems counterintuitive to kill a germ with a homeopathic dilution prepared specifically to minimize any toxic effects. This is a shame, because homeopathy was once a very popular and highly regarded approach to treating infectious diseases. Peruse Clarke’s Materia Medica and it seems like all they were using homeopathy for back then was diphtheria and typhoid. Very illustrative of how homeopathy classically approached the treatment of infectious disease is the case of the remedy Cina, the main historical indication for which was parasite infections in children.

The herb Cina maritima, as its common name the Levant Wormseed would suggest, was traditionally a very popular treatment for dispelling intestinal parasites. Traditional treatments usually become a tradition because they work, often in spite of the fact that no one truly understands exactly why or how they work. But using a medicine with no proper knowledge of how it works is dangerous, and in fact, despite its apparent efficacy, Cina eventually fell into disuse for the reason that it was causing too much harm – namely, children were dying from it. The seeds are irritating to the gastrointestinal tract to the point of being poisonous, and children who were given Cina for parasite infections often developed severe neurological complications, including seizures, as a side effect, poisonings which in some cases even proved fatal.

But surely these side effects couldn’t be helped–surely such high, toxic doses of Cina seeds were required for the medicine to act; how else could it kill all the parasites? Treatment with Cina essentially followed the same logic as modern chemotherapy – find a poison to kill off the worms, and then hope that the treatment kills all the parasites before it kills off the patient. So when Samuel Hahnemann revived the use of this medicine, under the assumption that a minute, highly diluted, thoroughly non-toxic dose would kill the parasites just as well while posing no threat to the child, people understandably thought he must be insane. How can a homeopathic dilution of an herb that kills parasites, not containing much, if any, of the original herb, possibly still kill the parasites?

Because Samuel Hahnemann, in his genius, understood how Cina actually worked. It worked the same way that, as a rule, all truly curative medicines work, by the principle that like cures like. Provings of the drug Cina, as well as toxicological data from the children poisoned with material doses, illustrated that Cina is a massive irritant to the intestines, so irritating in fact that it causes reflex neurological symptoms. A lot of symptoms in the gut can actually refer to the brain and nervous system, a classic example being the brain freeze or ice cream headache – you swallow something very cold, and instead of feeling an icy cold pain in your stomach, you feel an icy cold pain referred from your stomach to your head. Specifically, this pain refers to the brain’s sphenopalatine ganglion, hence sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, the medical term for brain freeze (now you can really impress your friends!). Why the body was “wired” in this curious manner is anyone’s guess, but back when parasite infections were a common occurrence in the West, doctors recognized that many parasite-infested children would develop tics, spasms, and, yes, even seizures as a manifestation of the constant GI irritation. Curiously enough, another symptom that was commonly traced to parasite infections back then was nose picking (a keynote for Cina); it being thought that irritation in the GI tract from worms was being perceived as a constant itching in the nose. Possibly this occurs through some reflex mechanism involving IgE antibodies. It is now known that IgE antibodies are both the type responsible for mediating allergic reactions, such as itching in the nose due to histamine release, as well as the type employed by the body to fight parasitic infections. In fact, the gut-brain axis in general is increasingly believed to play a role in a variety of neurological disorders. Modern theories abound for the role of dysbiosis and chronic GI inflammation in everything from autism to Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently these are just theories however, and obviously not all cases of epilepsy can be traced to parasitic infections. There are many other things that can cause seizures too, but Samuel Hahnemann had identified a medicine in Cina that could cause the same type of GI irritation and, indeed, the same neurological symptoms as would a number of then-common parasitic infections. So how did Cina really work? Was it actually killing the parasites through some toxic or antibiotic effect, the way garlic or oregano is thought to work, or was it perceived as so irritating to the body that it evoked a healing response which serendipitously would prove helpful in eliminating parasites? One of the reasons parasite infections are more common in impoverished parts of the world has to do with malnutrition and its deleterious effects on the immune system. We are all likely exposed to parasites, in some regions more so than others perhaps, but a healthy immune system should be enough to protect us and keep the parasites from successfully colonizing the GI tract. Our intestines normally secrete a thick mucus loaded with antibodies and immune factors that make it a very inhospitable place for parasites, but anything that can break down immunity, such as malnutrition, can leave one that much more vulnerable. So while using substances with antimicrobial properties to kill the parasites can be a valid approach to treatment, provided of course these substances are only harming the parasites and not the patient, it is equally, perhaps even more, important to “treat the terrain,” that is, to fix the underlying weakness which left the patient vulnerable to such an infection in the first place.

This latter approach, treating the terrain, is where homeopathy shines and where it can serve as a valuable adjunct to herbal-based GI cleansing protocols. Cina does not kill off the parasites, certainly not in homeopathic dilutions; it is an intestinal irritant and one which, as deduced from its proving symptoms, is homeopathic to the irritation caused by some intestinal parasites. In theory then, when the body reacts to a potentized dilution of Cina, possibly by increasing immune activity and protective secretions to defend the intestines which potentized Cina would threaten to irritate, it simultaneously reacts in a way that will help to naturally eliminate parasites. This is why even a minute, though highly potentized, homeopathic dose of Cina can provide its true medicinal effect without actually harming the patient. There are many herbs that are used to kill off “bad bugs” in the intestinal tract, but no anti-parasitic substance is as targeted, as bioavailable, or, indeed, as natural as the body’s own carefully crafted immune response. It is homeopathy’s ability to provide drugs that match a patient’s symptoms, for the purpose of stimulating a response that would meaningfully address that patient’s symptoms, which makes homeopathy such a valuable complement to herbal cleansing protocols.

Energique’s STAT line is comprised of homeopathic formulas which were blended specifically to support the body in cleansing and detoxification, each blend targeting specific and relevant organ systems. For cleansing the GI tract, as an example, an herbal formula like Energique’s Paracom™ can be taken alongside the homeopathic Parastat™ formula, which includes remedies traditionally employed by homeopaths for parasitic infections. The Parastat formula includes, of course, the famous remedy Cina, an ancient medicine from the Holy Land which–much like the Aurum Metallicum, once used by the Arabian physicians, and Veratrum album, the famous hellebore of the ancient Greeks–would have been forgotten by medicine and its benefits lost to humanity but for its revival by the prevailing insight and incisive genius of Samuel Hahnemann.




Dr. Ian Spohn, NDIan Spohn, ND is a naturopathic doctor who enjoys challenging the dogmas of both conventional and alternative medicine. He is a passionate supporter of the paleo diet and classical homeopathy.






Any homeopathic claims are based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.

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Claims that are based on traditional homeopathic practice are not accepted as medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated. Energique Pro requires that customers log in to certain areas of our website. Portions of the website are only available to certified healthcare professionals, and Energique Pro reserves the right to limit access to only them.

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