An herbal remedy for cirrhosis includes many common herbs thought to restore healthy liver function.
What is Cirrhosis of the Liver?
Chronic liver disease causes scarring, or cirrhosis of the liver. The liver is the largest organ in the body. It neutralizes toxins such as poisons and bacteria. Many byproducts of modern living, such as the breakdown of over-the-counter or prescription medicines, ingestion of artificial sweeteners, or drinking alcoholic beverages create poisons within the body, which circulate throughout the blood. These poisons are removed by the liver so that they don't accumulate and make you sick. The liver also produces many of the proteins that regular blood clotting, and helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
In the United States and other Westernized countries, the most common cause of cirrhosis is excessive alcohol intake. How much is too much? The amount varies by individual, and men tolerate alcohol better than women tolerate it. In general, cirrhosis develops over a long period of alcohol ingestion and abuse. An article by the University of Maryland Medical Center lists the amount of alcohol needed to cause cirrhosis and liver problems as 32 to 48 ounces of beer, four to eight ounces of hard liquor, or 16 to 32 ounces of wine every day for 10 to 15 years. Chances are, if someone is drinking this much every day for that period, he or she is an alcoholic. Approximately five percent of people in the United States are alcoholics; of those who are alcoholics, 10 to 15 percent will develop liver diseases such as cirrhosis.
While alcohol abuse is the most common cause of cirrhosis, other factors can cause it too. Viral diseases, such as Hepatitis B and C, can cause cirrhosis, as can infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases. Even medications and environmental toxins can cause cirrhosis, but fortunately this is a rare occurrence.
People very sick with cirrhosis complications need a liver transplant or other types of surgery. In the early stages, cirrhosis and the underlying conditions causing it respond to lifestyle changes, dietary changes, and herbal remedies. A simple herbal remedy for cirrhosis, used early in the course of the disease, can work wonders.
An Herbal Remedy for Cirrhosis
Medical authorities indicate that herbal treatments can support the liver and help it heal from the damaging effects of cirrhosis. Herbal remedies for cirrhosis may improve liver function, but they cannot reverse cirrhosis once it sets in.
Cirrhosis is a very serious condition and can be life threatening. Please consult your physician before trying these or any other herbal treatments. Be sure to tell your doctor about any herbs you are taking since herbs can interact with many prescription and non-prescription medicines.
An herbal remedy for cirrhosis will contain one or more of the following herbs:
- Celery seed (Apium graveolens): Ayurvedic physicians treat liver conditions with celery seed. Recent research suggests that properties in celery seed may reverse the damage done by excessive ingestion of acetaminophen, a non prescription aspirin substitute.
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officianale): The humble dandelion does more than ruin your perfect lawn. Dandelion functions as a natural diuretic, and helps the body release excess water caused by liver dysfunction.
- Ginseng (Panax ginseng): Preliminary research findings indicate that ginseng may encourage the growth of certain types of glandular cells within the liver, thus helping it to heal, but more research is needed to draw conclusions.
- Green tea (Camellia sinensis): Researchers have long touted the benefits of drinking green tea, but now they sing its praises in preventing cirrhosis. Green tea contains large amounts of Vitamin K. Since Vitamin K is lost during the early stages of cirrhosis, speculation is that green tea replenishes this necessary vitamin.
- Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Both Eastern and Western holistic physicians use licorice root to treat liver disease. Licorice root has powerful side effects, so take only as directed by a naturopath, holistic medical doctor, or other professional.
- Milk thistle (Silybum mariana): Milk thistle's restorative properties are legendary. Evidence dating back to Greek and Roman times indicates milk thistle's use in treating liver diseases. The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) researched milk thistle and discovered that its best effect occurs in the early stages of cirrhosis.
- Spirulina: While not exactly an herb, spirulina is a blue-green algae that grows in freshwater lakes. Used for centuries by indigenous peoples, spirulina's effects include removal of toxins from the body and providing amino acids and trace elements to support healing. If the thought of eating algae bothers you, relax--spirulina is sold in capsules or pills in most health food stores.
- Turmeric (Curcurma longa): Turmeric's health benefits are numerous, but now animal studies provide preliminary evidence that suggest turmeric clears toxins from the body, preventing damage to the liver.
In addition to trying an herbal remedy for cirrhosis, lifestyle and dietary choices can make you feel better. Following various diet plans, including the Diet for Cirrhosis is a great way to ensure healthy eating that provides maximum nutrition for your body.
- The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine has a free research report on alternative medicine treatments for Hepatitis C and cirrhosis resulting from this disease.