Are you searching for natural solutions for Hepatitis C? Herbs, diet and lifestyle can powerfully effect liver health. We'll examine all of these in this article.
Hep C is a viral infection that causes inflammation and scarring of the liver. The prognosis of someone with this disease varies greatly. Some people are able to get rid of the disease entirely, some are able to live symptom free for decades and others have many more complications early on. The difference in quality of life can greatly depend on the overall health of the person. Holistic health can support the health of people and the health of their liver for increased quality of life.
Acute infection: When hep C is first contracted the person may experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, weight loss, decreased appetite, fatigue, muscle and joint pains. These symptoms are generally vague in nature.
Chronic infection: An estimated 80% of people with hep C will go on to develop chronic liver disease. Many people with a chronic infection are asymptomatic for decades. However, these infections are associated with increased risk for cirrhosis of the liver and certain types of cancer.
Cirrhosis of the liver is when the liver is scarred. Cirrhosis of the liver cannot be reversed and advanced cirrhosis can cause permanent liver damage and a liver transplant may be required.
Hep C is a blood-born virus. Before the virus was discovered in 1988 it was accidentally spread through blood transfusions. Now the most common way it is spread is through shared needles. It can also be spread through sex (the CDC says it is the case in 15-20% of cases). Also there is a 4-6% chance of a mother spreading it to her child; however, the mechanism for this transference is not understood.
The following graph illustrates how the virus is currently spread in the US. This information is from the CDC.
The most important protocols are to encourage a healthy lifestyle that specifically supports the health of the liver and the immune system. It is especially important for people with hep C to take care of any other health issues that arise to avoid further complications with the infection.
Herbs (and foods) can have a dramatic effect on liver health. They can support liver regeneration, protect the liver from harmful toxins and support healthy liver functions.
There are two basic categories of herbs for the liver that can be beneficial for people with hep C. One category is hepato-protective herbs. These herbs dramatically support the health of the liver and protect it from damage.
The other category is cholagogue herbs, which support liver function. Both of these herbal categories can reduce inflammation and heat in the liver.
Immunomodulating herbs help to support the immune system. Having an optimally functioning immune system is especially important for those with chronic infections. A weakened immune system can lead to a stronger viral presence.
Antiviral herbs are often used to help decrease the viral load.
Adaptogen herbs support the overall health of the person. The stronger the health of the person infected, the less likely they will have serious complications later on in life.
Such a diet contains nutrient-rich foods that support the liver as well as overall health.
People should especially avoid:
The best source of vitamins and minerals is found in a nutrient-rich diet. Sometimes, getting ideal amounts of certain nutrients in the diet can be difficult due to nutrient-deficient soils or improper metabolism in the body.
The following is an overview of vitamins for hep C. A person may need more or less of these depending on their diet, digestion and personal circumstances.
The diagnosis of hep C can be very scary. Living with a chronic infection can feel overwhelming with uncertainty about the future. However, if you are willing to lead a healthy lifestyle and take pro-active steps towards supporting the health of your liver and your immune system, you can live a long healthy life.
Learn about how to support natural liver detoxification here.
Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and the Education Director for LearningHerbs. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.