Helminthic (worm) therapy

Please click on the links below to read our articles. If you are interested in research findings, click here for links to research reports.

Helminthic therapy is an experimental approach to the treatment of asthma, allergies, inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

The treatment developed out of understanding gained from scientific studies showing that, while these illnesses have escalated in developed countries during the past 50-100 years, they remain much less common in parts of the world where intestinal worms are still prevalent.

Further studies have shown that the reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected, small, benign intestinal organisms, such as hookworm and whipworm, can rebalance a host's immune system to put these conditions into remission.

The organisms that are used in helminthic therapy had, until being eradicated in the developed world, coexisted with humans for millions of years. During this time, we have become dependent on them to the extent that our genome is now arguably incomplete without their genes, and they have become masters of the human immune system.

Helminthic therapy has already been, or is currently being studied as a treatment for a number of diseases including allergies, asthma, type 1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis. Results from the completed studies are impressive, and there are anecdotal reports and/or theoretical reasons to suggest that a number of other conditions may also respond well to helminthic therapy.

Here for John Scott's much fuller introduction to the subject including the background science, helminthic therapy in practice, providers of helminths, on line support and further information.

John Scott has now (January 2017) launched his own site on helminthic therapy, Helminthictherapywiki.org which is where you should go for all of the latest research, articles and success stories on helminthic therapy.

Please use this site for good archive material but for the latest, go to Helminthictherapywiki.org.


Helminthic success stories – over 460 personal accounts by people who have used helminthic therapy in the treatment of almost 100 different medical conditions, from acne to weight gain/loss, more than 80% of whom have had positive outcomes. Regularly updated. January 2017

For success stories specifcially related to allergic/autoimmune conditions see here.

Helminthic therapy in science and the media. A timeline of links charting the history of the science of helminthic therapy, and its coverage by the media. July 2016

An excellent article on Stuff.nz about a 50-year-old woman who has suffered from increasingly debilitating auto-immune conditions (specifically lupus) since she was a teenager but has found huge relief after she took to hookworms. She has now had the worms for nearly two years and they have been truly life changing. May 2016

How John Scott's restless leg syndrome was 'cured' by hookworms. 2010, updated June 2015.

Diabetes – could helminths be relevant? September 2013

Helminths a possible answer to sepsis? John Scott September 2013

On getting new worms.... John Scott September 2013

Helminthic therapy and ME. Helminthic therapy may be especially beneficial for CFS/ME because of the impact of helminths on the gut microbiome – effectively 'weeding out' bacteria they do not want and cultivating those they do. This article on PLOS suggests that 'helminth treatment in primates can ameliorate colitis by restoring mucosal barrier functions and reducing overall bacterial attachment, and also by altering the communities of attached bacteria.' March 2013
The importance of the GI microbiome in CFS/M.E. is demonstrated here.

Hookworm Timeline. What to expect after inoculating with hookworm – John Scott – March 2012

The amazing Dr Wriggly – John Scott
March 2012

Reintroducing food after hookworm treatment for food allergy/intolerance– John Scott
Febuary 2012

Parasites or Cohabitants: Cruel Omnipresent Usurpers or Creative "Éminences Grises"?The history of parasites and the impact of parasitic diseases on the course of human evolution, proposing that the term "cohabitant" is more accurate, because every living being is a consortium of living beings and parasite and host together compose a new adaptive system: the parasitized-host or the cohabitant-cohabited being. The paper suggests switching the old paradigm based on attrition and destruction, to a new one founded on adaptation and living together. April 2011

Deworming mothers in East Africa fails to deliver the expected benefits, but results in double the rate of eczema in their children. Interesting article from the Wellcome Trust. November 2011

Helminths reduce Multiple Chemical Sensitivity– John Scott reports August 2011

Parasites: A user's guide – the DVD. In a 27-minute documentary about ecology, healing, and worms, filmmaker Sharon Shattuck questions the nature of our relationship with parasites, and suggests a new paradigm for the future. More at www.parasites-film.com or buy here.

A good overview of helminthic therapy thinking and research over the last 10 years from Science News. June 2006

Helminths give chronic headaches the old heave-ho
July 2011

Take Two Hookworms and call me in the Morning - Useful general article by Jennifer Fisher Wilson May 2011

For the Good of the Gut: Can Parasitic Worms Treat Autoimmune Diseases? Good report in the Scientific American of a 35-year-old man who had cured his ulcerative colitis withte help of whipworms.December 2010

Interesting blog from a wormophile - just six months into her treatment and going well. October 2011

Worms could be big business. Another article in Bloomberg Businessweek estimating annual sales of of $2 billion for parisitic treatment of Crohn's disease alone.May 2010

Gut instinct: the miracle of the parasitic hookworm. A lengthy and excellent article in the Guardian about Jasper Lawrence, founder of Autimmune Therapies, and his experiences with hookworms which he believes cured his asthma and which he now provides for other sufferers of autoimmune conditions from MS to total food allergy. May 2010

Dirt, Disease, and Depression: the hygiene hypothesis clears up a diametric difficulty. An interesting blog article suggesting major depressive disorder (MDD) is not a mental illness at all—that is, one resulting from an unbalanced brain—but is in fact a mental symptom of a dysregulated immune system and might therefore be successfully treatedby helminthic or worm therapy. For further comment.

Hookworm Honeymoon. John Scott discovers that a new relationship was all that was required to relieve his longstanding total food intolerance and reduce his chronic fatigue, but this was no ordinary relationship. November 2009

The genetic evolution of immune system may have been heavily influenced by parasites. July 2009

Two blogs from Crohn's patients who have had successful helminth infections and feel they have 'got their lives back'. Check Crohn's person and Brittany

John Scott brings us up to date on his romance with his worms
-August 2009

Autism and allergies dramatically improved by pig whip worm
May 2009

Helminthic therapy: Replacing lost worms to regain health – John Scott 2009.

Horizon allergy report: For those who did not see it, a report on the recent Horizon programme on allergies – Micki Rose 2009

An Appetite for Worms - 2008
John Scott investigates worms and parasites and their possible therapeutic uses in respiratory and gastrointestinal disease, and in allergy.

How I maintain a vibrant hookworm colony.

How I maintain a vibrant whipworm colony.

A Survey of Self-Treatment with Helminths: Practices and Outcomes. William Parker PhD. May 2013

NB Information on this site is not a substitute for medical advice and no liability can be assumed for its use.

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Research Reports

The mechanisms behind helminth's immunomodulation in autoimmunity. September 2014

Helminthic therapy and pregnancy with reference to the possibility of preventing allergy/autism in the child - an overview of the research on John Scott's blog. April 2014

Schistosomiasis, a chronic helminth infection, elicits distinct immune responses and is associated with dampened allergic reactions within the host. July 2014

Chronic worm infection in pregnant mothers appears to protect the child from eczema and wheeze. May 2011

Sugar derived from parasitic worms reverses metabolic syndrome in mice. January 2013

High intensity of helminth (parasite) infection can reduce allergy
March 2012

Genetic evidence for worms preventing diseases such as asthma
Febuary 2011

Can helminths help cure Crohn's disease?
July 2009

The therapeutic helminth?
January 2009

The broader implications of the hygiene hypothesis
October 2008

The use of Trichuris suis and other helminth therapies to treat Crohn’s disease
January 2007

Helminths may help combat allergic asthma
November 2005

The hygiene hypothesis and atopy. Bring back parasites?
January 2006

Parasites in the gut have an essential role in developing a healthy immune system
June 2010

The worm has turned
November 2004

Trichuris suis therapy in Crohn’s disease
April 2004

The increased prevalence of allergy and the hygiene hypothesis: missing immune deviation, reduced immune suppression, or both?

A further paper showing that intestinal worms (helminth parasites) protect mice against anaphylaxis. Journal of Immunology 2004

Intestinal worms may reduce peanut anaphylaxis. Research dating from 2002 suggests that the reaction of mice who have been infected with intestinal parasites (helminths) to peanut IgE (which would normally produce a strong anaphylactic reaction) was significantly reduced, suggesting helminths may effectively block these reactions. Journal of Immunology 2002

Human hookworm infection in the 21st century. Although most of this section of the FM website is devoted to singing the praises of intestinal parasites as immune system modulators, a significant section of the scientiifc and medical community continue to seek ways to eliminate them from the human body on the grounds that, in many parts of the world, parasitic infections cause much ill health and, on occasion, wide spread mortality. This lengthy paper looks in details at parasitic infections worldwide.

Parasites represent a major selective force for interleukin genes and shape the genetic predisposition to autoimmune conditions – 2009

Multiple worms species better for immunoregulation
March 2008

Children with early infections of helminths appear to have less allergic disease
- 2008

Studies at University of Nottingham suggest that the louse polyplx serrata triggered an immunosupressive effect in wild mice. 06/09

Helminths and allergic disease in Vietnam

West Coast Crohn's patients on hookworm therapy swear by treatment
May 2009

Ethiopian study shows that people with hookworm infection only half as likely to wheeze as uninfected people
March 2009

In a Vietnamese study, individuals with the highest level of hookworm infestation were found to be the least likely to have an allergic response to house dust mites
March 2009

Pig whipworms (Trichuris suis) found to be safe and effective in the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, especially Crohn's disease
March 2009

Parasitic worms and inflammatory diseases
March 2009

Worms as a treatment for autism 1
(March 2009

Worms as a treatment for autism 2

Parasitic worms may lead to treatment for multiple sclerosis
Hook worms in MS trial
March 2009

A little dirt is good for you!

Are worms vital to human health?
March 2009

Original paper - safety trial at Nottingham University for hookworm infection in individuals with measurable airway responsiveness but not clinical asthma.

First clinical trails of hookworms to treat Crohn's disease take place at Nottingham University in the UK.
July 2008

Early experiments with pig whipworms and Crohn's disease by Dr Joel Weinstock at the University of Iowa
June 2008

Could a gut parasite hold the cure for asthma?
June 2008

Exploring the causes of immune system meltdown.
March 2008

Worms - 'drug cabinet' of the future?
June 2008

Crohn’s disease: a new approach
Febuary 2005

The increased prevalence of allergy and the hygiene hypothesis: missing immune deviation, reduced immune suppression, or both? SergioRomagnani, Center for Research, Transfer and High Education MCI_DNENT, University of Florence 2004

First Published Febuary 2005


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