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A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Hepatitis

The disease known by the name hepatitis often develops from a virus infection - the main symptoms of the condition is severe inflammation in the liver. There are two forms of the condition, an acute form and a chronic form; the acute form of the condition responds better to treatment with conventional remedies. As a condition, hepatitis is brought about in the body by a group of six viruses, often classified as A, B, C, D, E, F, and G forms. The most common infection occurs from the hepatitis A, which is also highly contagious and is rapidly transmitted. This form of the condition does not cause long lasting damage but it does produce very acute flu like symptoms in the body of the affected individual. Very few or no symptoms at all are produced during hepatitis B and C, though the infection itself often lingers for years at a stretch. However, these forms of the condition can in some cases cause irreversible liver scarring or cirrhosis and even bring about liver cancer in the affected individual. The occurrence of the types D, E, and G hepatitis is rare and these forms do not cause as much damage due to their rarity. The most serious consequence of any form of hepatitis is felt by the liver, the disease impairs the livers ability to process sugars and carbohydrates obtained from the diet, it also disrupts the body's ability to secrete the fat - digesting compound bile, and lastly it impairs the ability of the liver to rid the body of accumulated toxins and metabolic waste products. Because of their potential to cause terminal liver failure, the chronic forms of hepatitis infection are considered to be the most serious and dangerous.

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Hepatitis A infects a person through contaminated food or water; it is also contracted through blood transfusions, and via infected hypodermic needles. Types B and C are contracted through sexual intercourse between an infected individual and an uninfected person, on the whole most cases of hepatitis are caused by a viral infection transmitted by various means from one person to another. Hepatitis can also come about through unregulated use of certain classes of medications, via toxic chemicals, and from years of alcohol abuse which has weakened the liver. The presence of an autoimmune disorder or dysfunction - in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues can also result in hepatitis like conditions in rare cases. No immediate cause can be determined for hepatitis infections in some cases.

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Supplements and herbs

As far as the more lethal chronic form of hepatitis is concerned, the use of conventional medicines has achieved only limited success and modest success in the treatment of hepatitis. All of the natural supplements and herbs that are given here are intended to function in the supplementary supportive role and will help protect and strengthen the liver, while boosting the general immunity and resistance in the body of the affected person. Till such times as symptoms felt during acute hepatitis disappear, these supplements must be used along with the conventional medications, in a supportive capacity. It will take up to a week for the benefits to become noticeable in the patient. The long term use of these supplements is suggested for the treatment of all chronic hepatitis cases.

The liver can be strengthened by supplements of the vitamin C and vitamin E, these powerful antioxidants taken together will help protect the liver cells from damage caused by free radicals released in the body-these two vitamins act together to bolster the body's immune system functioning. Antioxidant protection is also given by the nutritional supplement alpha-lipoic acid, the use of this particular supplement will also increase the potency of both vitamins within the body-it will thus increase their effectiveness. The liver is also protected by herbal supplements of the milk thistle; this supplement will also promote the growth of new liver cells and will generally boost liver function in the patient.

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The antioxidant and antiviral properties of the licorice can also be utilized to effectively protect the liver-this herb contains many compounds which have both antiviral and antioxidant properties, the root of the dandelion herb can also be used to great effect in this way. The dandelion is also available in the form of a liver-detoxifying combination product-a lipotropic combination, which is fortified by additions of the B vitamins, the compound choline and inositol, as well as herbal extracts of the milk thistle. The liver is helped by this herbal combination, it speeds the flow of bile and eliminates cell-damaging toxins from the liver - it thus strengthens liver tissue functioning.

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Additional things you may do

When traveling in countries or areas where the sanitary conditions are poor, it is very important to carefully regulate the things that you eat and drink-this is especially true if the disease rates in such areas are high. In such cases, eat food which has been cooked well and drink only bottled water. For up to a month after having an acute disease, you should refrain from all alcohol, and alcoholic drinks must not be consumed during the illness itself. The best solution is not to drink until your doctor tells you that your liver is functioning normally again. If you are having acupuncture sessions done, or if some body piercing, tattooing, and similar procedures are going to be performed on you-make sure that only sterilized or disposable needles are used during the procedure.

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Usual dosage

  • Dandelion root, 500 mg two times daily.
  • Licorice, 200 mg thrice daily for a max of ten days. Licorice can raise blood pressure. Do not use DGL form.
  • Milk thistle, 150 mg thrice daily.
  • Vitamin E, 400 IU daily. If you take anticoagulant medications, check it with a doctor.
  • Vitamin C, 1,000 mg thrice daily. If diarrhea develops, reduce the dose.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid, 200 mg thrice daily.
  • Lipotropic combination, two pills two times daily. It should contain choline, milk thistle, inositol, and other ingredients.

For kids

See age-appropriate dosages of herbal remedies

The root of the dandelion herb is traditionally used in strengthening liver function. Children can be given a single dose of the herb in the form of an herbal tea or as an extract, thrice every day, for up to a month of continuous treatment during hepatitis infections. The Echinacea and goldenseal combination herbal formula can be given to children to help boost their immune system functioning-these herbs boost the immune systems performance. In addition to this affect, both the herbs used in the herbal combination formula are antiviral and bactericidal in action. Children can be given a single dose of the formula, two times every day, for a treatment regimen lasting a week. After this initial week has passed, the treatment must be discontinued. The treatment using the same dosage can be repeated again in cycles of one week each for up to two months of repetitions. If hepatitis has been brought about because of the consumption of toxic mushrooms, herbal extracts of the milk thistle - botanical name Silybum marianum, can be effectively utilized - all other types of liver inflammation and disease can also be treated using this herbal extract. Children can be given a single dose of this herbal formula, either in capsule or tincture form, thrice daily as treatment during the acute phase of hepatitis. Once this stage has been crossed, dosage of the herb can be dropped to a single dose taken every day for a month to help recovery and tissue renewal. The functioning of the immune system can also be strengthened and bolstered by the herbal remedy made from the minor bupleurum during infection from hepatitis. Liver function is also known to be specifically promoted by this herb. Children can be given a single dose of the herb, two times every day, for a treatment period lasting two weeks at a time.
For your information: children who are down with a fever or suffering from any other sign of an acute infection must not be given minor bupleurum in any manner. The herb must be used as an herbal supplement only during the recovery phases from the disease.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C, D, E, F
Hepatitis G

Other beneficial herbs

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