Kellers in Africa

our life in Zambia

Nobody loves me, everybody hates me…

Guess I’ll go eat worms!!

Remember that song from summer camp? So cute.
“Long, thin, slimy ones; short, fat, squishy ones; itsy-bitsy, fuzzy-wuzzy worms!!!!!!”

Well, it’s all fun and games until you see them in the toilet!

Roundworms can be passed from our furry friends.
They cause severe bloating, intestinal pain, lethargy, etc.
They are disgusting and they can be living in YOU.




Ah yes. While parasites are common in EVERY part of the world (yes, friend, you too could have them!), they are a particular menace in Africa. Parasites seem to cling to every leaf, rock, crevice, droplet, hair, and fiber.

You’ve seen a dog frantically scratching it’s rear on the grass right?
These bad boys are known for causing, ahem, “perineal itching”
Good times.

But, wait! There’s more!!!

so many options

So what’s a mom to do? Well, there are a few great anti-parasitic medications out here, but you just can’t take them as often as you get exposed (infected!) with the nasty little buggers.

ah, Albendazole, my friend. By the time a year lapses we are soooo ready for you.

too bad it’s also REALLY toxic for humans!

Fortunately there are many other safe options. We’ve tried all kinds of herbal concoctions and have our favorites.

Paragone… it tastes likes strawberries and the capsules are TINY. Need I say more?? Even Olivia will beg for this one.

Yes, he is wearing elephant pjs. I’m lucky if he lets me wash them.
Down the hatch, Freddy!

Raw pumpkin seeds paralyze tape worms.
Puree a big handful with some honey & eat a generous helping on an empty stomach.
You’ll find out what’s on the inside.
Try it. I dare you. 🙂

Homemade wormwood and black walnut capsules. When I made these I wasn’t sure they’d be worth the effort………… oh, they so are.

You see where it says “1/2 pound”. Notice how much of that we’ve already consumed? Before making our home here in Zambia I didn’t know it was humanly POSSIBLE to put down that much clove powder. Desperate times, desperate tummy aches…. hey, Christmas flavored burps- can’t go wrong!

But the best, the strongest, the all-time heavy weight champion:

Oh yes. It burns going down. It burns its way through. It burns coming out again. But it burns those parasites too….
DEATH… by cayenne pepper.

bottle half empty
in the 4 years we’ve lived here I’ve bought nearly a kilogram of cayenne pepper.
That’s over 2 pounds.
And it’s almost all gone.
Burn, baby, burn!

Down goes the first one, down goes the second one……….
oh how they wiggle and squirm!

Actually, though, we’ve been pretty lucky. We have our occasional outbreaks of ringworm and pinworms, we’ve had a few rounds with giardia and amoebic dysentery, oh, and I suppose Tim has had roundworms a few times. And tapeworms… but considering our level of exposure…. I’m grateful it hasn’t been worse.

Don’t even go there, Mom

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a wife, a mommy, a missionary, a teacher, a writer. I'm living a colorful life in Africa.

Latest posts by Ashley Keller (see all)


  1. Ash- I can’t tell you how excited this makes me to come spend time in Zambia. HK just loves spicy food, so I’m sure he’d adore the cayenne cure. Me? I’ll take the pumpkin seeds, if you please. Oh go ahead– season them with some cloves…

    I will email you with questions– lots of them— this week.

    Much love to all the Kellers-


  2. Yay! Let’s start planning!!! 😀

  3. This is so interesting – how toxic is the deworming medicine? On the advice of our doctor we’ve been giving it to our kids every six months!! I might have to check out the paragone you recommend.

  4. Albendazole has some really serious side effects particularly in the long term. It doesn’t just destroy worms, it decimates a great deal of your intestinal flora. This quickly leads to food allergies & leaky gut which, aside from being annoying and painful, can further lead to toxic damage (it’s not just protein that “leaks” through). It’s hard to research this because so little is out there on long term intestinal effects of pharmaceuticals (judging from the sugar posts on your blog, you already know this!) 🙂

    Metronidazole can be catastrophically damaging, even with short term usage.

    That being said… we’ve used both when ABSOLUTELY necessary. An example would be a CHRONIC pinworm infection with all three of our kids. I tried every natural remedy I could find. I think if they were old enough for me to insist that they consume an artemesia/wormwood tincture in high dosage or cayenne pepper capsules we could have stopped it (that worked for DH and myself). However… 18 mo babies and cayenne pepper don’t mix. SO, we resorted to the albendazole, and then a week later 1/2 dosage albendazole. 🙁 They all had nausea, diarrhea, etc that somes with albendazole, but we followed up with home-brewed probiotics and high strength probiotic capsules.

    I’m not really experienced in naturopathy, but my long term goal is definitely to avoid the albendazole.

    I’m also considering the possibility of some worms having a beneficial aspect, and management therewith. (Think of ticks/tick fever. If ticks are COMPLETELY eliminated from the dogs via pesticidal or pharmaceutical means, the dogs (or cows) have a very serious decline in immune function.)

    So that’s a lot of “outloud thinking” on my part. Like I said, I really don’t know what I’m doing… just trying different things. : ) If you have access to supplies from the States, I can HIGHLY recommend Paragone. It works! But your kids need to be able to swallow capsules (they are small)

  5. Tabwa/umunkoyo would be a local consideration for 2 reasons:
    1) mealie meal has shown anti-vermicidal effects
    2) high in fermentation sourced probiotics

    Course… you have to be able to keep it down, lol. 🙂

  6. Thank you – it’s so good to hear this now and find out about some alternatives.

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