Written by Sheree Anderson 4/8/2021
Introduction and Etiology
Krimi is the Sanskrit word for parasites.1 A parasite is an organism that lives by necessary means such as on or in a host organism and survives by feeding from or at the expense of that host.2 The term Krimi has adapted a wide interpretation in ancient literature and includes all pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms covering a vast range of infestation and infection caused by a host of agents from worms to viruses. Parasitic diseases, Krimi Roga, have been with mankind since the beginning of time. Even currently, these diseases remain among the major causes of human suffering and death in the world and are significant obstacles to the development of less economically favored countries.3 Parasitic infections are a significant issue in tropical and subtropical regions of the World including the United States.4 These infections are caused by protozoa, helminths and ectoparasites.5 Worm infestations present in groups of all ages, but they are much more of a problem in children who are just beginning to learn to cope with parasites.6 Ayurveda classically defines two general categories of parasites, internal krimi and external krimi, abhyantara and bahaya. We will focus mainly on abhyantara krimi and the treatment of these infections through the lens of Ayurveda.
Western Interpretation of Classification and Pathology
There are many pathogens that we know of in the world today. Some of these parasites do not noticeably affect its host. Others will reproduce, grow, and invade their host organ systems making them varying degrees of ill resulting in parasitic infection. These are classified as protozoa: a single-celled organism that can thrive and multiply inside your body such as giardia. Helminths: a multi-celled organism that can live inside or outside of your body, also known as worms and include tapeworms, roundworms, and flatworms. And Ectoparasites: a multi-celled organism that live on or feed off human skin such as mosquitos, ticks, and mites.7 A chart is given below to summarize some of these more commonly known pathogenic organisms affecting humans. Listed is their epidemiology, mode of transmission, signs, and symptoms of infection in the body, and a brief look at the western treatment and prevention. Many of these parasites charted are specific to, but not limited to, the intestines.