Nutrition with Herbs and Vitamins

Can Hepatitis C be cured or controlled "naturally" without the use of doctors or drugs?

This is a valid question that many people ask. Some persons with Hepatitis C swear by their herbal regimes and have a feeling of being able to help themselves by using them. Some have found them of no use at all in treating symptoms or slowing down their disease. But do they really work? The answer: maybe. The fact is, we just don't know without well-controlled and duplicated clinical studies. Does that mean you should stop taking the herbs you may be using? That question must be answered carefully.

First, be sure you are not taking any herbs or mega-dose vitamins that are actually hepatotoxic (destroy liver cells and tissue). Some known herbs that have reported hepatotoxicty include: Comfrey, Coltsfoot, Gordolba yerba, Chinese tea, Chaparral, Ma huang, Kompocha mushroom, Pennyroyal and Margosa oils, Apiol, and Mate. Liver damage has also been reported with the use of Tonka beans, Melilot, Woodruff, Vinca, and Thread-leafed groundsel. There may be other hepatotoxic herb preparations or combinations that are not yet known. This is reason alone to consider carefully

what you take, and more importantly to tell your doctor about every herb or nutrient preparation you may be taking. Even higher doses of vitamins may be hepatotoxic. Vitamin A taken in higher doses has been reported to have caused permanent liver damage.

Second, many herbs can be helpful. For instance, peppermint tea can soothe a stomachache. Milkthistle contains antioxidants and a chemical called silymarin, which has been found in some studies to promote the regeneration of liver cells. Milkthistle has not, however, been found thus far to be a cure for Hepatitis C. Dandelion root tea has been used over the centuries as a diuretic, the French naming it pissenlit, or "piss-in-bed." To understand more about herbs, the following are excellent resources :

The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D.;
Rodate Press; 1997.
Herbs of Choice by Varro Tyler, Ph.D.;
Haworth Press; 1994.
The Honest Herbal by Varo Tyler, Ph.D.;
Haworth Press; 1993.