Herbal Treatments for Hepatitis C

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Herbal treatments for hepatitis C may include Yin-chen wormwood, dandelion root and and burdock root.
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Q and A expert Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa.
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Q and A expert Terry Willard.

Try these herbal treatments for hepatitis C, these safe and natural methods help reduce the body’s viral load and support liver function.

Read more about natural remedies for tinnitus: Herbal Treatments for Tinnitus.

Herbal Treatments for Hepatitis C

Could you please advise me as to what type of diet and which
herbs would be best for a 50-year-old man with type one hepatitis
C, with a viral load of about 1 million?
W.H.
Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

Willard responds: Hepatitis C has become a very
common problem in the clinic in the last several years. We use a
variety of herbs to aid in reducing the body’s viral load and to
support liver function.

The most prominent botanical that we use is a mushroom called
coriolus (Coriolus versicolor), or turkey tail. It has demonstrated
some great results. Most of the research on this mushroom
concentrates on the branch polysaccharides. There are more than 400
published studies on coriolus’ positive effect on critical health
problems, such as hepatitis and various forms of cancer. In the
clinic, we use an 8:1 extract of the mushroom at a dosage of 1,000
to 1,500 mg two to three times daily. The effectiveness has been
surprisingly high, with more than 50 percent of our patients
reducing their viral load substantially within a four-month
period.

We normally add a liver-support formula to the protocol that
contains maitake (Grifola frondosa) in a 4:1 extract, shiitake
(Lentinula edodes) in an 8:1 extract, dandelion root (Taraxacum
officinale
), milk thistle extract (Silybum marianum), black radish
(Raphanus sativus) and burdock root (Arctium lappa). The mushrooms
in this formula have proven success in Asia for various forms of
hepatitis, as well as other viruses. Dandelion, milk thistle, black
radish and burdock all are known to be liver-supportive herbs. The
dosage of this formula is also 1,000 to 1,500 mg twice daily.

Khalsa responds: Little is known about how to
specifically treat this controversial disease with natural methods.
What seems very clear, however, is that the process of the disease
can be halted, unless the patient is deep into cirrhosis. Liver
enzymes can be lowered. Every year, we get better at treating it.
Almost all natural therapies I use involve milk thistle, a
liver-supportive herb that seems to prevent further tissue
damage.

Yin-chen wormwood (Artemisia capillaris) is a cooling Chinese
herb that is used for inflammatory conditions of the liver. It is
showing promise in these cases. The Chinese dose is 9 to 15 grams
per day as tea. It tastes very bad, though, so you might prefer
capsules.

Chinese salvia root (Salvia miltiorrhiza), also known as dan
shen, protects the liver and helps restore normal function in
damaged microcirculation. Bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense) and
Chinese skullcap root (Scutellaria baicalensis), both cooling
herbs, may help lower the liver enzymes and prevent the disease
process from proceeding.

Along with these herbal measures, avoiding liver toxins, such as
alcohol and any unnecessary drugs, is critical.

Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) contains a sesquiterpene
lactone (cynaropicrin), which gives the plant its well-known bitter
taste. Cynarin, another component, promotes bile flow and has
anti-toxic liver functions similar to milk thistle. Artichoke
promotes liver blood flow and regeneration. It is also cooling.
Steam artichokes as a vegetable, or juice the globe. Supplements
also are available. Other foods that generally benefit the liver
include beets (root and greens), carrots and radishes (all
types).

I’ve seen several dozen people with hepatitis C stay healthy for
eight years or more, and it looks as though they have many healthy
years ahead.

Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa has more than 25 years of experience with medicinal herbs. He is a licensed dietitian/nutritionist, massage therapist and board member of the American Herbalists Guild. Khalsa’s book Body Balance is available on our Bookshelf, page 58.

Terry Willard is a clinical herbalist, president of the Canadian Association of Herbal Practitioners and founder of the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is the author of eight books and a CD-ROM, Interactive Herbal.

Please send your questions to Herbs for Health “Q & A,” 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; fax (785) 274-4305; or e-mail us at letters@herbsforhealth.com. Provide your name and full address for verification, although both will be kept confidential.

The information offered in “Q & A” is not intended to be a substitute for advice from your health care provider.

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