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Can nicotine be used to treat worm infestation?

Q: In a programme on BBC World, they explained how they treated worm infestation in Uganda. They also said that people in Uganda drank water from tanks, lakes and rivers instead of wells as the well water tasted salty. In this connection I would like to point out that water obtained through a galvanised iron sand proof filter and hand pump is of better quality than the water supply in Delhi. If a proper filter is not used the water tastes salty. Furthermore, it is my experience that any kind of worm infestation in India can be treated by tobacco water. Simply put tobacco from a quarter cigarette into a glass of water, leave overnight and make into five portions, the portions have to be had at night and give sound sleep, apart from curing worm infestation including hook worms. I do not know whether the worms specified in the programme over the BBC can be killed with tobacco, but there is no harm in trying as it is safer than the strong drug recommended by BBC and much, much cheaper. Hand pump technology should be exported to Africa.

A:It has long been taught that all drugs are poisons - it is just a question of the dose. It would be appropriate to add that it is a question of the individuals susceptibility, and this applies to animals and plants as well as people. Tobacco extracts and nicotine are poisons for people and animals, including insect pests. Spraying with nicotine is a former pest-control measure that went out of fashion when more potent control agents of greater effectiveness and reliability were invented and promoted by industrial manufacturers. Nicotine is mainly known as a plant or crop protector against insects which suck plant juices. However, it proved to be hazardous to users and faded from general use. It may be worth re-evaluating this relatively cheap agent for other uses including water purification. The main issue would be whether the nicotine could be used economically and effectively without posing any hazard to users or consumers. The necessary research could be done, but it is very unlikely that industry would sponsor a high quality study.


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