Natural Home Remedies for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that inflames the liver and can cause serious liver damage. Transmission of the virus is through contaminated blood. A person with Hepatitis C may be asymptomatic.

Baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965 are particularly at risk because of lack of screening capabilities for blood supplies at the time.  Another reason is that baby boomers as a group engaged in injection drug use throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

It is possible, but rare, to contract HCV through unprotected sex with an HCV-positive partner.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • There may be no symptoms
  • Abdominal fluid retention
  • Bleeding easily
  • Bruising
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Itchy skin
  • Jaundice
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Poor appetite, nausea
  • Stomach pain

PREVALENCE

From the CDC: An estimated 2.4 million people in the US were living with Hepatitis C during 2013-2016.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Since a person can be symptom-free, it is recommended that everyone is screened because if left untreated, the virus can cause cirrhosis or cancer of the liver, and liver failure.

The virus is treated with antiviral medications taken for 3-6 months.

SELF TREATMENT

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and inflammation.  To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat.  The Zone is an excellent nutrition plan.

FOODS FAVORABLE TO LIVER HEALTH (in addition to the above advice)

  • Beetroot juice
  • Blueberries
  • Coffee
  • Cranberries
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Fish from cold waters
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Nuts
  • Oatmeal (best is steel cut, slow cooking)
  • Olive oil
  • Prickly pear
  • Spinach

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE

  • Alcohol
  • Fatty or sugary foods are hard on your liver.
  • Herbal supplements (sources differ on what is unsafe so check with your doctor):
    • Aloe vera
    • Artemesia
    • Black cohosh
    • Cascara
    • Chinese skullcap
    • Comfrey
    • Comfrey
    • Ephedra
    • Germander,
    • Gordolobo tea
    • Greater celandine
    • Haparral
    • Heliotropium
    • Jin bu huan
    • Kava
    • Kombucha mushroom tea
    • Margosa oil
    • Mistletoe
    • Pennyroyal
    • Sassafras
    • Senna
    • Shark cartilage
    • Symphytum
    • Tansy ragwort
    • Valerian root
    • Yerba mate
    • Yohimbe
  • Large doses of iron and vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • Processed foods
  • Raw shellfish may cause bacterial infections that are exacerbated by Hepatitis C.
  • Recreational drugs (duh)
  • Reduce iron rich foods because the livers of people with chronic hep C may not release iron easily (liver, red meats, iron-fortified foods, lentils, et. al.)
  • Salty foods if you have fluid retention
  • Tobacco products (which are bad for your liver, and every other cell, organ and system in your body) https://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/latest-news/infohep/3217864/smoking-threatens-health-gains-hepatitis-c-treatment-us-researchers-warn
  • Tranquilizers
  • Weight loss aids

TEAS, HERBS AND SPICES (possibly favorable but still ask your doctor)

  • Artichoke
  • Astralagus
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Coffee
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Dandelion
  • Green tea
  • Labrador tea
  • Milk thistle
  • Oregano
  • Schisandra
  • Turmeric

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil  (coconut, almond, olive, etc.), or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress.  Find recipes for blends on the web or create your own.

  • Bergamot
  • Carrot seed
  • Fennel
  • Geranium
  • Helichrysum
  • Laurel
  • Lavender
  • Liver Rebuild (by Original Swiss Aromatics made of Greenland Moss, Everlasting and Carrot Seed)
  • Niaouli
  • Ravintsara
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet orange
  • Thyme

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.  Many supplements can interact with medications or be harmful because of underlying health conditions.  We could find no promising evidence that supplements have a positive effect on Hepatitis C, though there are several that laypeople have promoted.  There are herbal formulas used by TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

EXERCISE

Exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight which in turn will decrease the fat in your liver, making it more difficult for the virus to replicate.  Exercise will most likely help you combat the fatigue and depression that is common to Hepatitis C. Exercise will strengthen your bones, build muscle (which will strengthen your back), strengthen your heart, help your digestive system to work properly, improve libido, improve your balance and brain power, and help you sleep better at night. That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

HYDRATION

Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body.  Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Water transports nutrients throughout the body, protects the eyes and mouth, lubricates joints, burns triglycerides, regulates your body temperature, regulates insulin, and removes waste from your body. Water cleanses the system of toxins, making it easier for the liver to do its job. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough?  There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients.  If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ to one ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

SLEEP

Studies show that lack of quality sleep affects the production of disease-fighting antibodies.  Quality sleep is required for a healthy immune system.  People with Hepatitis C may have more trouble than usual getting a good night’s rest so it’s especially important to do the things that help you sleep well: regular bedtime, a dark, quiet room, a comfortable bed, etc. If you wake in the morning after 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep feeling unrested, you aren’t getting enough sleep.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

The Hepatitis C Trust discusses the importance of cultivating a good mental and emotional attitude to help in the healing process: http://www.hepctrust.org.uk/information/living-hepatitis-c/mental-and-emotional-attitude.

Anxiety undermines health.  Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend, meditate.  Do what works for you to stay mellow. Some of the relaxation methods below be helpful for you.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Avoid toxins that increase the job your liver has to do.
  • Maintain a healthy weight (Too much fatty liver tissue can become inflamed. Obesity alone can cause cirrhosis.)
  • Wash your hands often to keep germs at bay.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

As mentioned above, this can be a serious disease if left untreated.  Self-treatment carries some risks because natural substances may interfere with medications or with one another.  Some herbal remedies can be harmful in certain conditions.  Please talk about your self-treatment plan with a doctor.

 

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