Hepatitis

Hepatitis B and C are liver inflammations caused by viral infection (some people are symptomless carriers). No orthodox treatment is currently available for either. But several alternative treatments are thoroughly effective.

Well established homoeopathic remedies include Convolvulus duartinus (Ipomoea) (The Homoeopathic Recorder, 1940; 50: 25-34) and Chlorpromazinum (Acta Homoeopathica, Nov-Dec 1969: 6). These are used to treat different types of jaundice.

In parts of Africa, a preparation of Phyllanthus discoides (an Euphor biaceae) is rubbed in when ritual scarifications are made. This seems to provide excellent protection against hepatitis infections (Annales Pharmaceutiques Francaises, 1953; 11: 364). Its close relative, Phyllanthus amarus, can reverse the carrier state in hepatitis B (Lancet, 1988; ii: 764-6; Cancer Detect Prev, 1989; 14(2): 195-201; Vaccine, 1990; 8: S86-S92).

The dietary rules for hepatitis B or C are: avoid sugar, alcohol and all food allergens.

Silymarin is the flavono lignan complex of Silybum marianum (mary thistle or milk thistle). This is a powerful antioxidant. People with hepatitis B and/or C were given 120 mg silybin (the active component of silymarin) for two months. Statistically very

significant benefits were recorded (Curr Ther Res, 1993; 53: 98-102; Arzneimittel Forschung, 1992; 42: 964-8). In Europe, Madaus markets 140 mg sylibin capsules under the name Legalon.

Hepatitis B is a frequent cause of virus induced urticaria (J Allergy & Clin Immunol, 1983; 72: 193-8). Quercetin, another flavonoid that is abundant in rooibosch (red bush) tea, is an astonishing anti allergic agent. On top of that, it is a potent antioxidant (Planta Medica, 1985; 51: 16-20).

Catechin is another flavonoid, abundant in Uncaria gambier (pale Cutch) and Acacia catechu (black Cutch).

It has been used extensively in Europe to treat viral hepatitis, although in rare instances it can induce auto immune haemolysis. (Royal Society of Medicine Symposia Series No 47, Academic Press, 1981; Hepatology, 1984; 2: 331-5; Gut, 1985; 26: 975-9).

Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) can play a subsidiary, but very important, role in treating chronic, active viral hepatitis such as hepatitis due to chronic mononucleosis or Epstein-Barr infection and in inhibiting potentially serious allergic reactions (Asian Med J, 1983; 26: 423-38). But if taken in large doses (about 12 g of the crude herb daily) for a long time it can lead to hypertension, fluid retention and suppressed urine levels.

Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) is a traditional and effective liver remedy in Europe and India (Pharmazie, 1958; 13: 423-35). It is often eaten as a vegetable. Another vegetable with a long folk history in treating all kinds of hepatitis is Cynara scolymus (globe artichoke) (Natural Products as Medicinal Agents, J L Beal & E Reinhardt (eds), Stuttgart: Hippokrates-Verlag, 1981; Arzneimittel-Forschung, 1966; 16: 127-9 and 1968; 18: 884-6).

Finally, there is Curcuma longa (turmeric) or, more precisely, curcumin (its yellow pigment), which also has a long history in the treatment of hepatitis and gall bladder disorders (Planta Medica, 1983; 49: 185-7).

In the early stages of hepatitis B and C, joint pains will appear. Later, disturbances are often found in the thoracic or upper cervical spine, which can affect the autonomic nervous system.

Osteopathic, chiropractic or naprapathic manipulation are all very valuable (J M Hoag, W V Cole &

S G Bradford, Osteopathic Medicine, McGraw-Hill, 1969: 611-2).

!AHarald Gaier

Harald Gaier is a registered naturopath, homoeopath and osteopath.