Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) which is found in the blood of persons who have this disease. This form of hepatitis is much more likely than Hepatitis A to progress to chronic active hepatitis and eventually cirrhosis or possibly cancer of the liver. It is most often spread by contaminated blood products being introduced into the body, either from blood transfusions, accidental sticking with needles, or sharing needles by drug-users. Sexual contact, either heterosexual or homosexual, can also be a mode of infection.
Not everybody who gets hepatitis C, not even all of those who get some scarring in the liver, have a lot of difficulty with hepatitis C. Unfortunately we have no way to predict at the outset which one may be more likely to have severe liver damage and which will receive no damage at all. There are several things that will be very helpful with hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is difficult to treat, but we use hydrotherapy, exercise, a totally vegetarian diet with nothing between meals, and no free fats or free sugars but adequate numbers of nuts and seeds, whole grains, and beans.
Maintain proper nourishment using a totally vegetarian diet, principally consisting of fruits and whole grains with adequate amounts of nuts and seeds, and beans. Breakfast should consist of fruit and whole grains, and lunch should consist of vegetables and whole grains. Either meal should also have nuts, seeds, or legumes. Do not overeat or anything else that will put a burden on the liver. Use no more than three dishes at a meal.
Take flaxseed daily (two tablespoons freshly ground each morning on cereal or at lunch sprinkled on salads or rice, etc.).
Avoid free fats and oils, as in margarine and salad oils. Also avoid heavy protein foods, even though vegetable in origin, and all free sugars. Do not use spices, vinegar, baking soda, baking powder, caffeinated beverages, or alcohol.
You should also be taking high-potency lecithin (get it from Twinlabs)"50% phosphatidyl choline" 1 teaspoon per day.
We also advise that individuals with Hepatitis C take certain herbal remedies such as Silymarin and ginkgo. Take the silymarin, derived from the milk thistle, one cup of tea or two capsules three or four times a day. In chronic active cases, it should be continued indefinitely.
Japanese clinicians have used glycyrrhizin, an extract of licorice, for over 20 years in hepatitis with good results. Since the extract is not currently available in the U.S., licorice tea may be used. Caution: Long-term use may cause salt and fluid retention, and increased blood pressure. It should be used with caution in people with hypertension; and probably should be used only two weeks of the month in those with normal pressure.
Phyllanthus urinaria increased antibodies from 51% to 89% over a three-month period in one study. It is believed this herb can be of help in hepatitis. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 126(4):350;1995.
Astragalus root, licorice root, and turmeric are all good herbs to use in hepatitis C. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 3:77;1997. Goldenseal and echinacea are also recommended.
Gently boil one and a half quarts of water to which has been added half a cup of Echinacea purpurea root; three tablespoons of milk thistle seed; two heaping tablespoons of Oregon grape root; and two tablespoons of dandelion root. Remove from the heat after 25 minutes; strain. This is one day's dose. Give it in small divided doses scattered throughout the day. If the patient tolerates it all right, the second day the dose should be doubled.
Eurocel, an herbal blend beneficial in Hepatitus C cases is available from Nutricology Allergy Research Group (800-545-9960). This product helps to cause HCV-RNA to return to normal. The liver enzymes become low again. The herbs used are Patrinia villosa, Artemisia capillaris, and Schizandra fructus. Artichoke capsules, two capsules three or four times daily, are liver protective.
The herbal program can be directed by Dr. Christopher Deatherage, tel: 417-683-1300.
Hydrotherapy should be given in the acute phase in the form of hot baths and fomentations over the liver. The hot baths can be used to elevate the mouth temperature to around 102° F for 15 treatments (see instructions in this book). The fomentations over the liver should be kept hot for 15 minutes and followed by a cold compress for one minute and repeated three times each day = 45 minutes. In chronic active hepatitis, artificial fever treatments two or three days a week with fomentations over the liver on the off days can be beneficial. The hydrotherapy is described in our book Home Remedies under fomentations to the abdomen.
Charcoal compresses and charcoal by mouth (one tablespoon three to four times daily) as well as wheat bran by mouth (one tablespoon with each meal) can reduce the amount of bile salts and the degree of jaundice.
Treatment for Jaundice
The European Journal of Clinical Investigation, 28(5)359-363, May 1998, states that when jaundice produces itching it can be relieved by giving guar gum.
Other Suggestions for Hepatitis C
It is quite proper even in the acute phase to be active, but avoid becoming overly tired. Prolonged bed rest can lead to increased symptoms and weakness.
Drink water generously. Avoid constipation and any other toxic condition.
Avoid any kind of toxic fumes, cleaning compounds and drugs, including birth control pills, aspirin, and corticosteroids (such as cortisone and prednisone) as they encourage later relapses.
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30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875