If you are wondering how to use diatomaceous earth for a parasite cleanse, you are in the right place! I can tell you that it has safely helped not only me and Paul, but our three cats, and all 90+ chickens on our farm.
I tried diatomaceous earth as a last ditch effort to find out why I suddenly couldn’t eat eggs anymore. TMI, I had been dealing with constant diarrhea for nearly a month that would worsen with eating eggs. I was so frustrated and at the end of my rope. After doing exhaustive research, I felt that I was dealing with a parasite. Enter diatomaceous earth.
In this post, we will discuss exactly what diatomaceous earth is, how it works to kill pests and parasites, and how exactly you can use it for your health and your pets and livestock. Let’s dive in!
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What the heck is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a chalky powder that consists of fossilized single-cell organisms that are mined from dried up lake beds. These pulverized fossils have a desiccating, or drying effect, on the exoskeleton of parasites. More on that in a moment.
Not all DE is created equal as quality can vary from one mining operation to another. Not all DE is certified organic either, meaning that it can contain additives or be chemically treated. This is important because you don’t want to give anything but pure food-grade DE to yourself and your animals.
This is the certified organic brand I recommend. While it may seem like a lot of DE, it will last you a lifetime (unless you have 90+ chickens to deworm like me) plus it comes in a paper bag, making it 100% recyclable - woot woot! This particular brand is mined in northwestern Nevada, near the California border. The DE deposits came from algae blooms on the western side of the Pleistocene era lake Lahontan. Personally, I appreciate that it is a US product and not shipped an exorbitant distance to reach my farm.
How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work?
Due to its microscopic sharpness and drying effect, DE can dehydrate the exoskeleton of insects and worms, ultimately killing them. In a 2018 study on termites, it had a 100% kill-rate of the tunneling vermin. It also is used to keep grain-eating pests at bay when farmers are storing feed, showing that it has an 80% kill-rate when applied every two weeks. DE doesn’t mess around.
What Are The Risks Of Using Diatomaceous Earth?
Since DE is a fine particle dust, you want to be careful not to breathe it in. It can be especially hard on the lungs if you have asthma or other respiratory issues. It’s no more harmful than household dust, but it’s still important take caution for your lungs.
What Can Diatomaceous Earth Do For Humans?
You can take DE internally to do a parasite cleanse. Start out with 1 tsp mixed into 8 oz of water. Drink this either 1 hour before a meal or two hours after a meal. The goal is to have an empty stomach. Repeat this every day for ten days and increase your amount of DE slowly up to 2 tsp if you like. Once you hit ten days, take a break for seven days, and then repeat again for 10 days. You may see some interesting stools being passed. Just a warning!
There are a few side effects you may experience when doing a parasite cleanse with DE.
The first is some constipation, but drinking an extra glass of water after you DE drink can help with this.
Then, due to the parasite die-off, you can experience headaches, malaise, brain fog, and trouble sleeping. These side effects appear because when parasites die and detach from your intentional lining, they can release ammonia and nitrogen into your system. To help with this you can take L-Ornithine supplements to absorb and safely excrete the excess ammonia and nitrogen through your urine (L-Ornithine plays an essential role in the urea cycle). I recommend this brand in particular. Take up to 1500 mg ( three capsules) before bed, depending on the severity of your side effects.
What Benefits Does Diatomaceous Earth Have For The Body?
A huge positive is DE tastes like nothing, just a little grittiness and the tiniest hint of chalkiness. It’s so much more palatable than other crazy parasite cleanse concoctions I’ve seen.
Reducing Cholesterol In The Blood
A 1998 European study observed that over a 6 week period, diatomaceous earth intake was associated with a significant reduction of serum cholesterol at any time point, reaching a minimum on week six.
The Added Benefits of Silica
Another benefit is DE contains a large amount of silica, which is an essential micronutrient that helps with hair and nail growth. Silica also is key in aiding the balance of calcium and magnesium in the body, ultimately helping your hormones stay in check. If you are taking collagen to support skin, nail, and hair health, silica directly assists in collagen formation.
It Gently Exfoliates The Skin
You can mix a ½ tsp into your face wash or body wash for a gentle exfoliant. I like to mix it into some organic raw honey and use gentle circular motions on my face, then rinse with warm water.
Why Should You Do A Parasite Cleanse?
Everyone has a parasitic load. Sometimes that parasitic load gets to be too much for your body and it starts affecting you in more noticeable ways (this is especially true if you have pets!). So if you’ve been trying to hack what’s going on with your health and you feel at the end of your rope, try DE and see if it’s the icing on the cake.
What are some signs of parasites in your intestines?
Based on our own experimentation, my partner and I both saw a huge decrease in our parasitic load while taking DE. We experienced less bloating overall and less “puffiness” in our faces when we woke up. This leads me to believe that whatever parasites we were dealing with, in killing them, it helped calm inflammation in our bodies. I experienced a much less painful menstrual cycle, a huge spurt in nail and hair growth (thanks silica), as well as a huge noticeable decrease in hormonal acne. The best part was that I could eat eggs again.
Please know that these were our own experiences, every person is different and you may experience other benefits.
The takeaway here is that there will be little to no negative side effects as DE is extremely safe for humans to ingest. So what do you have to lose? Maybe a parasite or two!
What Can Diatomaceous Earth Do For Pets?
When given internally or applied externally, DE can help bring down your pet’s internal or external parasitic load as well. From fleas to lice to worms, DE is a safe and effective way to help give your pet’s health a fresh start.
To deworm cats, mix ½ tsp for cats under 7lbs / 1 tsp for cats at about 10lbs / 1 ½ tsp for cats over 10lbs. into a single serving of wet food every day for ten days. Then give them a seven-day break, and repeat again for another ten days. Be sure to keep their water bowls clean and filled because they will be thirstier!
To deworm dogs, mix ½ tsp for under 25lbs / 1 tsp for 25-50lbs / 1 tbsp for over 50 lbs into a single serving of wet food every day for ten days. Then give them a seven-day break, and repeat again for another ten days. Again, be sure to keep their water bowls clean and filled because they will be thirstier.
For cats, it’s important to note that you may want to do a deep litter box clean on day five of the DE cleanse to stop the potential for reinfection of internal parasites. This means around the litter box as well. If you have carpeting around the litter box, sprinkle a ½ cup of DE with a flour sifter and let it sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum it up with a shop vac or filterless vacuum (otherwise it will clog the filter and kill your vacuum's motor). We also use a lavender essential oil and white vinegar cleaning solution (20 drops to 16 oz) to clean the baseboards around the litter box.
To kill external parasites, don a pair of rubber gloves and a long sleeve shirt. For a dog, carefully sprinkle ½ cup into their coat and rub it in gently with your gloved hands. For a cat, ¼ cup will do the trick. It’s best to do this outside if you can in the open air so you don’t breath in the DE.
What Can Diatomaceous Earth Do For Chickens And Other Livestock?
In a 2011 study, feeding hens a diet supplemented with 2% DE showed an increase in the size of yolks, a significant decrease in internal parasites, as well as an increase in overall egg size. The DE-fed birds also weighed in heavier than those not fed DE. The study also found that hens given access to dust baths with DE added to the mix had a significant decrease in external parasites. Sounds to me like DE is the way to be!
In our flock, we mix 1 cup of DE into our feed bins, which hold approximated 70lbs of feed. We will add 2 tbsp of DE to their 3.5-gallon waterers in the early spring and fall to kill off internal parasites. Finally, we mix a cup of DE to every dust bath, which also includes wood ash and gravel.
As for other livestock, I recommend using it in grain-based feed to keep pests away, adding it to water at least twice a year to naturally deworm, and applying it carefully externally to help cut down on external parasites. Applications depend on the size and type of your livestock, but I can only personally speak for chicken keeping. I encourage you to keep researching to see what other farmers have tried.
So what are you waiting for? Order some diatomaceous earth and try it for yourself!
Have you detoxed with diatomaceous earth? What was the experience like for you? Comment below and fill me in!
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to composting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we strive to live sustainably and turn these five acres from just property to a fully functioning small-scale homestead.
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