Viral Hepatitis Treatment: Herbs
A number of herbal and botanical supplements may help treat and/or alleviate some of the symptoms of hepatitis. Traditional Chinese herbal medicine has a number of treatments for hepatitis because hepatitis has long been common in China.
Many Ayurvedic herbs and combination therapies may also be effective:
The following may also be useful:
Note: Even natural products have the potential to harm the liver. Consult with your doctor before beginning treatment with any new herb or supplement.
Effect of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine on Viral Hepatitis
Chinese herbs, alone or in combination, may help treat hepatitis infections and alleviate some of the symptoms of chronic hepatitis.
Read more about Viral Hepatitis and Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Effect of Kamalahar on Viral Hepatitis
Kamalahar may help improve liver function in people with acute hepatitis.
Read more about Viral Hepatitis and Kamalahar.
Effect of LiverCare (Liv.52) on Viral Hepatitis
LiverCare (Liv.52) is designed for liver conditions and may help treat both acute and chronic cases of hepatitis.
Read more about Viral Hepatitis and LiverCare (Liv.52).
Effect of Picrorhiza on Viral Hepatitis
Like all plants, picrorhiza contains a variety of active chemicals, including picroside I, kutkoside, androsin, and apocynin. The herb may help speed recovery from acute hepatitis infections.
Read more about Viral Hepatitis and Picrorhiza.
Effect of Phyllanthus on Viral Hepatitis
Phyllanthus amarus may help treat chronic hepatitis B, and possibly acute hepatitis as well.
Read more about Viral Hepatitis and Phyllanthus.
Effect of Milk Thistle on Viral Hepatitis
Milk thistle may help treat both acute and chronic viral hepatitis, as well as alcoholic hepatitis. Standardized milk thistle extract includes many active chemicals. The most active of these...
Read more about Viral Hepatitis and Milk Thistle.
Effect of Licorice on Viral Hepatitis
Licorice may improve liver function and reduce mortality in people with hepatitis. The extract of licorice root is glycyrrhizin. This substance has anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties,1...
Read more about Viral Hepatitis and Licorice.
Effect of Lecithin on Viral Hepatitis
Lecithin contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine (PC) that is presumed to be responsible for its medicinal effects. Research has shown that PC enhanced the effect of interferon in people with...
Read more about Viral Hepatitis and Lecithin.
Herbs to Use Only With Caution
Many natural products have the capacity to harm the liver. Furthermore, due to the generally inadequate regulation of dietary supplements that exists, there are real risks that herbal products, at least, may contain liver-toxic contaminants even if the actual herbs listed on the label are safe. For this reason, we recommend that people with liver disease do not use any medicinal herbs except under the supervision of a physician. Here, we list some specific information to aid in your decision-making process.
A great many herbs and supplements have known or suspected liver-toxic properties, including but not limited to: barberry, borage, chaparral, coltsfoot, comfrey, germander, greater celandine, kava, kombucha, mistletoe, pennyroyal, pokeroot, sassafras, and some herbs used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
In addition, herbs that are not liver-toxic in themselves are sometimes adulterated with other herbs of similar appearance that are accidentally harvested in a misapprehension of their identity (for example, germander found in skullcap products). Furthermore, blue-green algae species such as spirulina may at times be contaminated with liver-toxic substances called microcystins, for which no highest safe level is known.
Some articles claim that the herb echinacea is potentially liver-toxic, but this concern appears to have been based on a misunderstanding of its constituents. Echinacea contains substances in the pyrrolizidine alkaloid family. However, while many pyrrolizidine alkaloids are liver-toxic, those found in echinacea are not believed to have that property.
Whole valerian contains liver-toxic substances called valepotriates; however, valepotriates are thought to be absent from most commercial valerian products,52 and case reports suggest that even very high doses of valerian do not harm the liver.53-54
- European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Valerianae radix. Exeter, UK: ESCOP; 1996-1997:2. Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs, Fascicule 4.
- Chan TY, Tang CH, Critchley JA. Poisoning due to an over-the-counter hypnotic, Sleep-Qik (hyoscine, cyproheptadine, valerian). Postgrad Med J. 1995;71:227-228.
- Chan TY. An assessment of the delayed effects associated with valerian overdose [letter]. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1998;36:569.