How to take
One of the most important herbs for the liver
There are ongoing clinical studies specific to hepatitis C (www.clinicaltrials.gov). Other clinical studies have shown some positive effects on treating cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, fatty liver, liver inflammation and gall bladder problems.
Enter -milk thistle hepatitis C - in the search box and you will get a list of trials using milk thistle.
Milk Thistle is thought to
* Aid the regeneration of damaged liver tissue protecting the liver from the effects of the virus
* Help restore liver function and inflammation of the liver and spleen
* Stimulate the production and flow of bile
* Support the immune system
* Help with fatigue and poor appetite
* Alleviate feelings of abdominal pressure
* Act as a mild antidepressant
* Help the liver make new liver cells
* Help repair liver cells
* Help stabilize cell membranes
* Help limit toxins entering the cells
* Increase bile flow
* Act as an antioxidant *Increase glutathione in the liver, which is thought to be responsible for detoxifying a wide range of hormones, drugs and chemicals.
As capsules or tincture (not very effective as a tea) Buy standardized good quality capsules containing the seeds and leaves too if possible (organic also if possible).
Take one 200mg tablet twice a day, important to take twice a day.
Tincture - use a low strength one e.g. with ratio of 1:5 (one part herbs to 5 of liquid). Start with only 5 drops at a time and build up to ½ teaspoon over a few weeks.
Avoid if you have breast, uterine or ovarian cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Avoid when pregnant
Can interact with certain drugs including:
Lipid lowering drugs
If you are taking any of these, check with your doctor before taking milk thistle
Is thought to:
*Help improve symptoms of hepatitis C
*Trigger the contraction of the gallbladder and the flow of bile into the digestive tract.
*Improve liver congestion.
*Help prevent fluid retention as it is a diuretic.
*Is also very rich in potassium.
(Also see Herb Tea chart)
The root can be bought and made into coffee. Can also buy the leaves as T-bags (the leaves do not have as strong an action as the root)
Can also buy as tablets and tinctures often from a combination of leaves and root. Follow the recommended dose on the bottle
Dandelion & Burdock mixed together
This combination of herbs for helping the liver has been used by herbalists for hundreds of years because it is thought to have a gentle detoxifying action on the liver and can help with skin problems caused by the virus, e.g. itchy skin and dry skin.
Recommended to take as a tincture Dandelion: 3 parts, Burdock:1 part
You can find in health food shops or ask a herbalist to make it up for you preferably with organic herbs
You may also be able to find it sold as tablets also in health food shops
Do not take Burdock on its own
Avoid Burdock during pregnancy
Burdock may effect insulin levels if you are diabetic
Turmeric is a root with a very distinct bright orange colour inside, used extensively as a spice in Asian cooking, (known as ‘haldi’). It is a traditional remedy in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, used for improving the function of the liver and for jaundice.
Is traditionally used for:
*as an anti-viral
*stimulating the production and flow of bile
*protecting against and assisting in reversing liver damage
assisting in removal of *excess accumulation of cholesterol in the liver
converting cholesterol into bile salts
*protecting against cancer
*stimulating the immune system
*acting as an antioxidant
*alleviating skin conditions
It’s very good to include turmeric in your cooking as often as possible. (Beware; it can stain your fingers and clothes)
Another simple and easy way to take it is to blend a teaspoon of powder in water and drink it. If you can’t stomach this you could try making small paste balls to swallow:
¼ cup of turmeric
½ cup water
Combine together in a small pan. Bring to a low boil and cook until it becomes a thick paste, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Store in the fridge and when needed, make into marble size balls. Swallow with water. Take up to 4 a day.
Do not use if you have a bile duct obstruction
Do not use if you have a stomach ulcer or excessive stomach acid
*stimulate immune system
*protect liver from damage
*act as an antiviral
*act as an antihepatatoxic
*help excessive sweating, including night sweats
*act as a diuretic
An easy way of using astragalus is to make a stock and use it for making soup or cooking rice. Used frequently in this way it is thought to enhance the immune system.
Method: Place 1oz sliced root and 1 pint of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1 or 2 hours. Remove the Astragalus and use the water to cook brown rice in, or use as a stock for making soups. It has a mild sweet taste.
May cause loose stool or diarrhoea.
Do not take if you have a fever
Siberian Ginseng(Eleutherococcus Senticosus)
The most gentle form of ginseng and viewed as a very useful herb for people with hepatitis C by herbalists. It is known as an ‘adaptogen’ which means it may assist the body physically and mentally adapt to stress without any harmful effects. This is seen to include all stress-induced reactions: physical, chemical, biological and psychological. In practice, its tonic effect has been seen to help after just one dose and continue working after stopping taking it
Is thought to:
*increase the body’s ability to resist infection
*be an immune tonic and potentiator (it is thought to stimulate B lymphocyte antibodies)
*act as an antioxidant
* improve brain function by helping neurological pathways to work better
*enhance liver protection and lessen liver cell degeneration
*as an anti-inflammatory
*aid mild depression
*balance blood sugar *help symptoms of chronic fatigue
*help with insomnia and difficulty in concentrating
*reduce the toxic effect of chemicals
*increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals from food
*strengthen both male & female fertility
*aid skin and hair problems such as dandruff, hair falling out, acne
*maintain cellular homeostasis
You can buy capsules or tablets; look for the ones with the least amount of other added ingredients (fillers).
Typical suggested dose: 1-2 capsules (325mg) twice a day
Do not take in pregnancy, or if you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure).
Has been used for centuries for liver problems
Thought to be useful for:
*stimulating cell division in the liver
*mobilising energy reserves
*increasing blood circulation, especially to the legs and heart
*aiding digestion *detoxification of the liver, especially of pollutants
*lowering blood cholesterol
*increases the formation and flow of bile thus aiding digestion/ constipation
*may help irritable bowel
*may reduce blood cholesterol through stimulation of bile production
You can eat both globe and Jerusalem artichokes - as well as the properties good for hepatitis C they have high potassium content and high quality protein and fibre.
Capsules or tablets and tinctures are available in health food shops. Buy standardized capsules or tablets with as few added ingredients as possible and organic tinctures if possible.
You can also buy dried organic powdered artichoke and empty capsules and make up your own capsules
Do not use artichoke where there is any blockage caused by stones in the gallbladder.
Has been used in Asia and China for centuries as a liver tonic and restorative for immune system
*protect the liver
*have a general tonic effect
*nourish the immune system
*act as an antioxidant *detoxify the liver
*reduce liver enzymes *enhance glutathione production
*help with fatigue, insomnia, weakness, depression & forgetfulness
The red berries are made into a tea. I teaspoon of berries to a mug of boiling water
Can be toxic if taken in high amounts
Herbs Helpful For Digestion
Slippery elm is considered to be one of the most useful herbs for treating digestive problems due to its very soothing properties. In practice, it is found to be extremely helpful in giving relief to a variety of digestive problems that are common in hepatitis C including
*helps with over-acidity
*soothes irritable bowel
*soothes any inflammation or irritation of the digestive tract
You can buy it in capsules or tablets of powdered bark or as a powder which you mix with water.
For the powder: mix 1 tablespoon with a glass of water and take before meals. A good way to mix this is to put in a jar with a lid and shake it until mixed, or use a blender. Alternatively mash the powder up with a banana and eat.
For the tablets or capsules: t ake 1 or 2 capsules 300mg strength 2-3 times a day
The mucilage-rich husks and seeds are considered useful for soothing the whole of the digestive tract. The seeds and husks have been found to contain high levels of fibre that expand and become highly gelatinous when soaked in water.
Psyllium can help:
*constipation – for which is most commonly known
You can use the seeds or the husks:
Using seeds: For constipation mix 20 gms of seeds in 200ml of water for 10 hours. Drink at night.
Using the husks, mix 2 teaspoons –1 tablespoon in a glass of water and drink immediately, followed immediately by another glass of water, or they could potentially have a blocking effect.
Drink lots of water throughout the day if you are using psyllium.
Do not use where there is oesophageal stenosis, abnormal intestinal narrowing or bowel obstruction, due to bulk forming effect which may cause or further complicate impaction.
In cases of insulin controlled diabetes dosage may require alteration with use of this herb.
There may be reduced absorption of all oral drugs when combined with this herb.
There have been rare cases of allergic reactions known with this herb.
Aloe Vera juice
Is thought to be good for
*enhancing the internal flora
*soothing and improving the digestive system *encouraging the flow of bile
*as an anti-inflammatory *enhancing the functioning of the immune system
*enhancing detoxification *enhancing the elimination systems of the body
*relieving joint pain and arthritis
*as an antioxidant
Buy organic cold pressed, whole leaf, aloe vera juice if possible that has not been heat treated (heating seems to kill some of its beneficial properties). Also make sure it has all the aloin taken out, as this is a laxative and can irritate the bowel.
Typical suggested dosage is 4oz twice a day, on an empty stomach, before meals.