Parasite Cleanses Are A Thing Now, And Oh God Why

by Sara Farrell Baker
Annie Engel / Getty

New Year’s has long disappeared in the rearview mirror and with it go its many resolutions. But spring cleaning is around the corner, so naturally, people are gearing up to clear their closets of outdated clothing, their cabinets of expired food, their homes of accumulating dust bunnies, and their guts of a shitload of worms.

Wait, what?

Let’s talk about parasite cleanses, or “ingesting a bunch of things until you shit sacks of bug eggs.”

Nevermind that cleanses and detoxes and all things that claim to rid your body of toxins and scary things, leaving you with nothing but the self-satisfied inner glow of a Gwyneth Paltrow, have no scientific merit. At best, these things are total crap and a waste of your money and time. At worst, they can actually be pretty dangerous and fuck you up in an unpleasant way.

Nevermind that part. Because even without scientific and medical evidence telling you that parasite cleanses are terrible, I am confident in my ability to convince you based on the gross factor alone, save for a few courageous/misguided idiots.

The case made for parasite cleansing is that many common ailments, from acne and dark circles, constipation and fatigue, all the way to tumors and allergies, are caused by having our insides infested with critters. Do you ever feel nervous? Probably because you have parasites. Bad taste in your mouth? It’s a symptom of being an unwitting host. Does your rectum itch at night? That is because worms are peeking out of your butthole to give the world a quick hello.

All of those things and more are signs of parasites. And the only cure is shitting. Lots of shitting. Craving sugar is apparently a sign of parasites and instead of lots of shitting being the result of eating so much cake, lots of shitting will now cure your cravings because the bugs in your guts will no longer be sending their takeout orders to you telepathically.

I think that’s how it works. I’m having to draw some of my own conclusions because the available information is all over the damn place. Where’s that pesky peer review when you need it?

So, the goal of the parasite cleanse is to ingest herbs and supplements that will murder your intestinal worms and creepy crawlies, and then send them out your poop shoot. I cannot overemphasize the role that pooping plays in this process. You will be scrolling Facebook on your toilet multiple times per day by the time this process is through. Because the only way out of this roach motel is your butthole.

The ends are achieved by multiple means. Some people drink tea made with cloves and black walnut and wormwood. That last ingredient is a little on the nose, but whatever. Others swallow enough supplements to raise eyebrows at an assisted living facility. While ingesting all of this, you’re limited on what else is going down your gullet. Remember those sugar cravings? Give no sugar to your evil colonic squatters! Starve their unholy carcasses!

Most people on a parasite cleanse are told to avoid sugar. Some go further and stick to all whole foods. Others go a step further and go on a juice cleanse at the same time. And if you inspect your poop and don’t see it filled with the dead of your enemy, it might be suggested to you to try a water fast. Because that isn’t absurdly dangerous and unhealthy.*

*Water fasts are absurdly dangerous and unhealthy.

Need to take things up another notch? Try an enema. Just flush those fuckers out like they’re riding in steerage on the Titanic. Your asshole will be so clean by the end of this cleanse, you’ll be blowing up birthday balloons with it.

Parasite cleanses usually last about two weeks. By the end, you will likely have lost weight and shit out a portion of your soul. Will you be better off after those two weeks than you were before? Not likely. You will probably go back to your former lifestyle habits once it’s over and you’ll eventually shit like a normal human being again. Because cleanses are a trend and trends are fleeting and cake and bugs are forever.