Expulsion of Tape Worm. Since the publication of Mr. Soule’s paper in this journal [Boston Medical & Surgical Journal] some months since, recommending an orgeat of the common pumpkin seeds in the cases of tape-worm, successful trials have been made in various directions, confirmatory of the value of the discovery. A copy of that number of the Journal was sent to the Rev. J. H. Hill, a distinguished Episcopal missionary at Athens, who read in it of the success attending the administration of the pumpkin seed emulsion. Knowing that the Rev. Mr. Buel laboring at the Piracus, under the patronage of the American Board of Baptist Missions, was afflicted with taenia, Mr. H. directed his attention to the preparation. A Greek physician, to whom it was mentioned, scouted the idea—it was really ridiculous, in his opinion. Mr. Buel was exceedingly reduced in health under the medications of his Hellenie medical attendant, was unable to sustain the duties of the mission, and with a gloomy prospect for the future. Under these circumstances, a draught of the freshly-prepared orgeat was swallowed—which shortly resulted in the expulsion of twenty feet of tape worm! Mr. Buel immediately began to amend, and when the note from which the foregoing facts were taken, was written, there was a fair prospect of a speedy and perfect restoration to his former condition of good health. A curious case of tape worm, reported by Dr. Natting, will be found in a previous page. Boston Med. & Surg Journal. 1852

Most herbalists, at some point in their career, will read the old medical journals written before the 1920’s, by herbalist physicians. We gain insight from bits of old applications that had been used long ago, and painstakingly recorded. From these old writings, some elder herbalists currently report that the Cucurbita Pepo variety prepared as an extracted pumpkin oil or infusion of the seeds that is followed by an herbal purgative is effective in removing tapeworm and roundworm. There are specific steps to administer the oil, then waiting a period of time before applying the purgative, with more oil. There is specific amount of oil, purgative, and a sequence of application to make it effective. This is the protocol for people, but it is worth noting the concepts and steps of the application.

The Cucurbita genus in the Cucubitaceae family contains seeds with cucurbitin acid which can be a treatment for tapeworm and roundworm. But the concentration of this is extremely variable within the genus, even among the many varieties of pumpkin. It is really unknown the strength and efficacy of the oil, and/or how effective it might be in the whole seed form. But, that is really true of any herb we use, and that should not stop us from trying to see if we can get any medicinal use from pumpkin seeds. The seeds only gives us an extra layer of consideration.

I think it is worth experimenting using whole pumpkin seeds in formula with other supporting herbs. Poultry would not need as much oil as larger mammals would due to body size. But given free choice, I think the application would be hit and miss, not being able to regulate dosage and timing of application like it has been reported long ago. I think the alterative I developed with pumpkin/seeds, garlic, carrot and dandelion is a good start, but needs more work to be more effective and reliable. Looking back in retrospect, I think the garlic did most of the work.

Worming as a preventative does not make sense to me to apply for no reason, on an artificial schedule. It makes more sense to me to think about prevention when there is good reason to do so. Prolonged or severe stress is one that comes to mind. Stress could create such havoc overall to the microflora balance, that an overload could start to happen. But, this should not be a common occurance. Otherwise, the balance in a bird’s gut is designed to be able to balance itself. If the bird is generally healthy and eating a healthy diet that feeds and nourishes a strong and balanced microbiome in the gut, I would let it do the work. If a parasite population becomes unchecked and able to flourish, you will start to see symptoms and at that point you can treat accordingly. With a true overload condition, it would probably be easier to use other herbs. There are many true anthelmintic herbs that do a wonderful job of worming like those in the Artemisia family, garlic, black walnut and thuja that give you better reliability and a more straightforward application.

Fall Season Herbal Wormer & Alterative Backyard Poultry Magazine October/November 2009. Author Susan Burek

Pepo (U.S.P.) - Pumpkin Seed - Henriette's Herbal Homepage

Moonlight Mile Herb Farm © 2019 Original article. Susan Burek