Natural Cures for Hepatitis C

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Hepatitis C is a serious, chronic liver diseased caused by a virus. Transmitted primarily though contact with infected blood, Hepatitis C has no vaccine and is the most serious of the six hepatitis viruses (the others being A, B, D, E and G), with many cases ending with liver failure, cirrhosis, cancer and death. While conventional treatment exists, there are also a number of alternative and natural methods deemed beneficial for liver health, thus weakening the impact of Hepatitis C.

  1. Symptoms

    • While the disease typically produces no symptoms in its early stages, its later stages can be characterized by symptoms, such as malaise, nausea, vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), a loss of appetite and fever. It is possible, however, for there to be no symptoms even in the later stages of the disease. When severe or left untreated, Hepatitis C can result in severe liver problems, many of which can lead to death.

    Millk Thistle

    • Silymarin, an extract from the milk thistle plant, has been used since the sixteenth century to treat a variety of liver disorders. Seemingly beneficial by aiding in the stimulation of the enzymes that work with the liver to attack dangerous toxins, only small studies have been performed to test its efficacy in treating liver conditions, none of which focused on the study of milk thistle and hepatitis C. A study performed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concluded that the benefits and efficacy of milk thistle are not clinically established, and as such more research is necessary.

      Possible side effects of milk thistle extract include nausea and diarrhea, the feeling of bloating or gas and possible allergic reactions. As such, it is always wise to discuss the use of milk thistle as a supplementary treatment for Hepatitis C.

    Other Natural Treatments

    • While milk thistle is seemingly the most effective natural treatment, the study of other possible natural treatments do exist. While these may be beneficial in treating the liver, there is no conclusive evidence concerning their efficacy and safety in treating patients with Hepatitis C.

      These include ginseng, thymus extract and colloidal silver, the latter of which can cause potentially serious side effects. Glycyrrhizin, an extract of licorice root that has been studied outside of the United States, and there is some evidence supporting it effectiveness; and the herbal extracts lactoferrin, TJ-108, schisandra and oxymatrine, all of which require further study to determine their effectiveness. A pilot study featured in the "Japan Journal of Cancer Research" identified lactoferrin as a potentially effective method of treatment, though further research is necessary. Additionally, a study found in the "Chinese Journal of Hepatology" suggested that oxymatrine is an effective anti-Hepatitis C agent in vitro, though further studies are necessary to prove its long-term efficacy.

    Lifestyle Treatment

    • If diagnosed with Hepatitis C, a number of lifestyle treatments and preventative measures can help stave off the effects of the disease. These include regular exercise and a proper diet, eliminating all alcohol, and avoiding potentially liver-damaging drugs, such as acetaminophen.

      Preventing the spread of the disease is crucial, and as such sharing toothbrushes and razors, along with ensuring the proper care of cuts and scrapes to avoid the blood from coming into contact with anyone else is of the utmost importance.

    Warnings

    • While these forms of treatment may help the symptoms and help to protect the liver, they should not be used as a substitute for conventional medicine. None of these treatments have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as treatment for Hepatitis C, and therefore should be discussed with a physician before utilizing any of them. Additionally, some herbal supplements have been known to actually damage the liver instead of promoting its health (kava and comfrey, for example), and as such all herbal treatments should be carefully researched.

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