In hepatitis C, an infectious viral disease, the liver is inflamed and slowly gets damaged. The infection is transmitted through contaminated blood – either through transfusion and organ transplantation, or more commonly by sharing of needles between drug abusers. Rarely, it can be transmitted through sexual contact.
Since there are hardly any symptoms during the early stages of the disease, it may be discovered only decades later when you undergo any routine lab tests. When symptoms occur, they are usually nonspecific, such as fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, joint and muscle pains, and upper right abdominal pain and tenderness. It is important that you seek appropriate treatment because it can lead to serious complications, such as cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
Herbal Remedies For Hepatitis C
There are several herbal remedies that have shown some efficacy in the treatment of hepatitis C. Some commercial preparations combine several herbs. Before taking any of these, consult your doctor.
Among all the herbal remedies for hepatitis C, this is the most popular. The extract is prepared from the seeds of the plant Silybum marianum. The active ingredient is silymarin, which is a flavonoid, and helps in fighting inflammation and halts liver damage. It is available as capsules, tablets and tincture. The dose is 1-2 tablets or capsules twice daily.
Tincture dose is 2-3 droppersful twice daily. Side effects can include headache, itching, allergy, indigestion, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, joint pains and lowered blood sugar levels. Safety in pregnant and nursing women is not established.
The root of licorice plant or Glycyrrhiza glabra has been used for a long time for various ailments. The active ingredient is glycyrrhizic acid or glycyrrhizin, which is anti-inflammatory in nature and also boosts immunity.
Use caution because glycyrrhizin can also cause high blood pressure, muscle weakness, fatigue and headache. Take 1 cup of its decoction twice daily or 1-2 droppersful of its tincture twice daily. If you want to take it as a tablet or capsule, consult the product label for its dosage.
Goldenseal extract is obtained from the rhizome of the plant Hydrastis canadensis. The active ingredient is rich in the following alkaloids: berberine, canadine and hydrastine.
These alkaloids help in hepatitis C because they are anti-inflammatory in nature and stimulate liver function. Consult the product label for dosage. Side effects are increased blood pressure, irritation of throat and mouth, nausea, digestive problems and increased nervousness. Pregnant and nursing women should not take it.
Liverwort extract is prepared from the aerial parts of the plant Hepatica triloba. The extract reduces inflammation because it is an astringent and demulcent. Consult the product label for the dosage. Never use fresh liverwort as it can be unsafe. Side effects can include diarrhea, irritation of stomach and kidneys.
Dandelion extract is got from the root of the plant Taraxacum officinale. The chemicals contained in the extract are anti-inflammatory.
It can be taken as decoction, 1-2 teaspoonsful thrice daily; tincture, 30-60 drops thrice daily; powdered extract, 500 mg 1-3 times/day. It is generally safe. Side effects can include allergic reactions, mouth sores, acidity, heartburn and increased urination.