Liver is one of the busiest organs of the human body. It has to deal with the major metabolic processes controlling the body functions and is also the site of detoxification of toxic metabolites, processing of many nutrients and purifying blood.
Many a times due to disease like hepatitis, or prolonged alcohol abuse or other pathological conditions, the liver cells stop functioning due to the permanent damage of these liver cells that turns into nonfunctional areas of the liver having fibrosis and permanent scarring at that place.
SYMPTOMS OF THE DISEASE
Liver cirrhosis is a progressively damaging disease that occurs over the years with no initial symptoms. The patient may feel lethargic and weak with increased loss of appetite and fatigue at the same time.
These symptoms proceed silently wherein a stage is reached whenthe liver is no longer able to perform its functions properly. This is when grave symptoms like ascites, peritonitis, and hepatic encephalopathy and other disorders affecting the major organs in the body start appearing.
Liver cancer is one of the most dreadful and terminal stages of liver cirrhosis.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE MODIFICATIONS
Modern ways of treating the disease aim at controlling its progression of the disease and providing symptomatic relief. Other treatment lines include prevention and management of liver cancer.
A check on diet and an alteration in lifestyle are very much recommended when it comes to taking care of a patient with liver cirrhosis. This includes total abstinence from the use of alcohol and tobacco, making small but long term dietary changes like consuming a low sat diet to prevent water retention in ascites. Healthy vegetable proteins should be included in diet and animal proteins need to be maximally avoided.
Regular vaccination and other health checks are also required to prevent catching any kind of bacterial or viral infection as patients of liver cirrhosis are very prone to develop serious complications from infections that may be as common as flu.
HERBAL TREATMENTS FOR LIVER CIRRHOSIS
There are many herbal treatment options available that can improve the quality of life and maximize the remaining liver function.
Herbal supplements help to control the severity of the symptoms and improve general health and wellbeing. These treatment are not aimed at reviving the damaged liver cells but to reduce the chances of developing serious complications as a result of Liver Cirrhosis.
There are many herbs that have been studies for their beneficial effects on the liver and its various functions. Some of these are as follows:
It is an herbaceous plant that is found widespread in the tropical areas. It has a cleansing action on the liver and helps to open the channels in the liver to prevent diseases like Jaundice, calculus formation etc.
It helps maintain the secretion of the digestive juices and enhances metabolism to prevent overloading of the liver with toxic metabolites.
It is found to be very effective in the treatment of viral hepatitis B and C. It helps to lower the viral overload in these cases and controls the progressive damage caused by these virulent viruses.
Popularly known as “King of bitters” Echinacea is a potent liver stimulant. It has a very effective anti –microbial action and protects the body against any kind of bacterial, viral or fungal infections.
It strengthens the immune system, making the body very tolerant to seasonal variations.
It detoxifies the liver and spleen effectively and purifies the blood and lymph.
It is a great herb to improve general body strength and immunity. It is consumed in various formulations in powder form, decoction, capsules, tinctures etc.
It is a very popular herb in Ayurveda. It is commonly known as Licorice. The herb is a great hormonal regulator and has very soothing results on the respiratory diseases.
Licorice is a known natural anti –inflammatory agent. It boosts the liver and spleen functions and detoxifies the Liver in the most natural way.
Chinese medicine uses it to relieve palpitation and revitalize heart functions.
Licorice is a good herbal supplement for liver cirrhosis patients and can be consumed as a powder or in combination with other herbs.
Milk thistle (Sylibummarianum)
Milk thistle is a very effective liver stimulant. Many studies recommend that it naturally enhances liver functions. It is a very effective anti –oxidant and has very potent anti –inflammatory action.
In case of viral hepatitis, the anti-oxidant action of MILK thistle is due to the plant extract named silymarin which helps in combating the disease as a supportive therapeutic supplement.
Some studies suggest that it is very beneficial for people with alcohol related liver damage. This makes it highly useful for patients having liver cirrhosis due to alcohol abuse.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan is MD in Ayurvedic medicine and an expert Ayurveda doctor from Chandigarh and practicing in Mohali, India. He is spreading the knowledge of Ayurveda – Ancient healing system of India, not only in India but also abroad. He is CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Products, Planet Ayurveda Clinic and Krishna Herbal Company. Website – www.planetayurveda.com