How Hookworm Can Cure Asthma

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Another great moment in medical science.

This is my personal account of curing my asthma and hay fever by deliberately infesting myself with the intestinal parasite hookworm. It isn’t for the faint hearted and for some should not be read while eating. It involves a great deal of research, a trip to Cameroon and a lot of barefoot walking in open air latrines in west Africa.


Continuing yesterday’s theme of weird self-experiments, now we find a Mr. “Luckbeaweirdo” walking through shit in Cameroon to cure himself of Asthma.

The history of this odd experiment lies in a cliché story about the dangers of smoking. L’s abuse of his body with cigarettes in his teens and twenties led to adult onset asthma. This he treated with escalating volumes of prednisone though not with complete success: he had numerous frightening trips to emergency and was eventually denied health insurance.

Enter the power of the internet. Online research and consultation with medical experts led him to the conclusion that an infestation of hookworm could be the cure to his ills. Unfortunately, getting a dose of hookworm is not quite like picking up aspirin even in the affluent USA. The worm would have to be sourced elsewhere. Eventually, further research prompted a trip to Cameroon, one of the poorest countries in the world.

the worm from dune?
Hookworm or Dune?

Lifecycle of a Hookworm
Hookworm larvae penetrate the skin, lodge in the lungs and then, after a fairly nasty bout of coughing, work their way through the esophagus to find home in the intestines. The cycle repeats as hundreds of thousands of larvae escape daily in the faeces.

So all L needed was to come in direct contact with the hookworms. So, off he went to tip-toe through some suspect faeces. Oddly, his walking around barefoot in people’s latrines caused a certain amount of aggression and even provoked one man to approach him with a machete. Nevertheless, he was successful and within days L suffered the tell-tale coughing fit which marked the parasites’ presence. Nevertheless, to play it safe, he made sure to continue walking in shit for the full 2 weeks of his stay.

Six weeks later, and back at home, L was finding that a single dose of hookworm was insufficient to cure his asthma. He needed to up the parasite load. Using a clean method of reinfecting himself (which involved separating the parasites from his own excrement using a bilayered material and the hookworm’s instinct to climb), his hookworm colony was soon large enough that his asthma was gone.

Apparently this method also works for Hay Fever and Crohn’s Disease. And given L’s breakthrough work, you needn’t fly all the way to Cameroon for the cure. For $500, Mr. L offers a 5 day course and no doubt a starter colony to get you going. Just visit his website.

For those of you who live in the tropics as I do, you may be able to get your own starter kit by asking around…