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Avatar universal

Herbal Treatments

I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C back in 2005.  I spent about 3 years driving around the country to many doctors who promised to cure this illness with different alternative medicine ie herbal medications and many other things. Although in some cases these treatments and/or herbal medicine did lower the ALT liver levels it was only temporarily and definitely did not cure it. I ended up doing the Interferon/Riboviron treatment in the end and was thankfully cured.
For those thinking which path to take please do not waste your time and money with herbal treatments and give yourself the best chance there is.  I only had side effects the first day and was absolutely fine after.  Good luck and God Bless!!!
35 Responses
Avatar universal
Glad to hear your were cured.

Good to hear good news once in awhile.

Also great advice about seeking conventional treatment for HCV instead of alternatives. Some heated discussions have taken place in this forum regarding "snake oil" cures.

No reason not to treat now with the new drugs. The odds are better with shorter durations. Should be a no brainer......
766573 tn?1365170066
Three years? What a road trip. Glad you cleared the virus!
3230925 tn?1397619565
Good for you Owen,Congrats on your cure.

On your journey did you try the heptech products?
Avatar universal
   This is a great message, which I whole-heartedly agree with
Avatar universal
Your story is a familiar one.  I have seen this same scenario many times and in the end the pocket book of the infected person is a whole lot lighter, their liver damage worse and the alternative medicine bank accounts keep growing by leaps and bounds.  Big pharma is rich too but they do cure us.

Very happy you are SVR.  
Avatar universal
I am non responsive after Interferon/Riba and currently looking for information related to supplements helping reverse fibrosis as mine is at 3on4 in 4 scale. My strategy it to buy time waiting for better medical cures. Therefore Heptech products are interesting but I am still looking for more information from those who took Heptech supplements.

Certainly there are many "snake oil" cures and clever guys getting much money on it. But common people, making equation between guys offering herbal treatments and big pharma is totally wrong, lightly saying. This is to compare ants to elephants. If someone is doing such comparisons is either naive in reality perception, ignorant or is an associate of big pharma. Big pharma take billions of dollars on interferon/riba and wishes to earn more on newer cures. I know many people working for big pharma in sales and you have no idea what corrupting, lobbying, influencing practices some of them have in their agenda to get things done, I mean to sale more.

The thing is that everyone sick should take its own health in his own hands. It doesn't mean forget about doctors, rather use different sources of information which can help you be cured or maintaine better live since awaiting for appropriate cures.  Read everything possible from different sources and take your own informed conclusions. Check solutions which may help lower side effects from Interferon/riba or lower ALT/ASP levels to normal through some herbals. I was trying many different herbals and for me Eurocell is the one which lowered mine ALT to normal. ASP was also lowered but still elevated. I tried also specifics from Dr Zhang from NewYork which for me worked in a similar way improving ALT/ASP. Both formulas have Schisandra herb which is probably the best in lowering ALT. Every person is different so always observe yourself

Probably there are no herbals which can clear virus at least known to me and I studied many different sources of information including chinese natural medicine.
But from my experience what everyone can implement is to change your lifestyle by minimising your stress level, get organic food (very important) exercise daily, think positive and meditate as we as individuals can help ourselves a lot!
I speak mostly to those who were non responsive, because telling us take Interferon/Riba again with only 5% or maybe 10% success rate is not a good advice understanding how deadly these chemicals are. There are better cures up there with much larger success rate but still in clinical trials.

In health

Avatar universal
Agree entirely - the damage is too serious to try herbals instead of interferon. A study on milk thistle showed no effect in viral load or quality of life. Thanks for your post!
Avatar universal
There are 2 ways to clear the virus:  1: Your body immune system is blessed as one of the 15% who actually clear the virus on your own and never become chronic.   2:  You do a (medical doctor's) sanctioned treatment and obtain viral clearance through that method.     There is NO Herbal TREATMENT that will clear your body of Hepatitis C.  It does not exist no matter what snake oil salesperson may try and tell you.  All herbal treatments can do is help you to mentally think that you're cured when in fact if a viral load is checked (when only using herbal treatment and never having used a MD sanctioned medical treatment), you will always still be positive on your viral load count. Please don't be lured into the false sense of security and belief that you can get a cure using herbal supplements.  It is not possible.  I am sorry if that sounds harsh but it is the truth.  
Avatar universal
The vast majority of people who do not treat with interferon will never have any significant problems anyway.  

Avatar universal

End-stage liver disease (cirrhosis) due to chronic hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection has become the leading indication for liver transplantation (LTx) in the United States.

You have made it known how you feel about those people though..
Avatar universal
Hi susan, always nice to see you around here... and as always your post is spot on............. Hope you have a great xmas.
163305 tn?1333672171
And, hep C is now responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDs in the US.

I wanted desperately to go the herbal route rather than do interferon treatment.
Instead I landed up almost dying, getting a transplant and finally getting rid of the virus thanks to interferon.
There is no known herb that will kill the virus. None.
3230925 tn?1397619565
I guess  OP was a hit and run poster.the pharma corps. have us to promote their wares,Though there is no known cure for hep c with the use of alternative means.Lets not all through the baby out with the bath water.It's not a us against them rivalry.There are some natural products/herbs/supplements/diet ect someone with chronic hep c can take to help stop progression of liver damage and even regress it.
163305 tn?1333672171
Good point.
I saw an hebalist, who is an  MD, along with my hepatologist. She prescribed various herbs and supplements. Though I can't say for certain how much they helped or didn't help I do know that despite my condition I did not suffer many of the symptoms that others with ESLD ( end stage liver disease) go through. Between eating well, exercise and the supplements, I may indeed have had an easier time of it than if I'd not used them at all.
3230925 tn?1397619565
I'm sure it helped OH,you're living proof.But once you are at end stage/decompensated liver it's another ball game.

Cancer is finally cured in Canada but Big Pharma has no interest. The fact that the international drug & medical industry have no interest is because the cure is really cheaper than a chocolate bar and it won't get them to gain any profits at all. Besides, if people had the cure so easily, how will these medical companies make money out of that?

163305 tn?1333672171
I heard a program on the radio years ago about how they weren't even trying to find a cure for cancer. There's too much money to be made treating it.
Avatar universal
Hep c is certainly the leading cause of liver transplant.  Nevertheless, the VAST majority of folks w/ hep c will never need one.  


Hep C Advocate provides a wealth of good info on hep c and treatments.  It fails, however, to meaningful address or discuss the very substantial risks of permanent life-altering injuries caused by the drugs.  Its website states:

"Programs at the Hepatitis C Support Project are made possible through generous grants from the following Corporate and Foundation benefactors:

Boehringer Ingelheim USA
Genentech, Inc., a Member of the Roche Group
Gilead Sciences
Merck & Co.

at the bottom of this page  

1747881 tn?1546179478
"Hep c is certainly the leading cause of liver transplant.  Nevertheless, the VAST majority of folks w/ hep c will never need one."

That's all fine and good IF your 1 of those people, however there is NO WAY TO PREDICT who will progress that far and who won't. I'm 47 and already at stage 3, I think my chances of not progressing that far were pretty slim so I chose to treat, UND at 3 months and NO LINGERING SIDE EFFECT after 48 wks with incivek
Avatar universal
It is a calculated risk either way.
It seems that more people than not will clear the virus from TX w/o lingering effects.
Hopefully the new orals will soon make this a non issue.
Avatar universal
I do not put much stock in "herbs."  

Having watched my liver enzymes bounce in and out of normal range for the first time in 20 years once I started juicing (emphasis on organic kales / spinaches / greens) to treat my interferon-induced psoriasis / arthritis / myalgia, I put a lot of stock in the principles enunciated in Pollan's "In Defense of Food."  

Whatever substances are contained in juiced organic greens and other vegetables are utterly magical.  That medical science has not yet discovered the "what and why" of them does not take away from their magic.

Kind of off-point, but I think it should be malpractice for a rheumatologist to prescribe Enbrel etc for arthritis without first demanding that their patients attempt alterations in diet.  The expensive immunosuppressives are very dangerous and diet often works.

Maybn on-point, because the same principle might apply to hep c.  And yes, I know it won't clear the virus, but it also won't cause brain fog, fry your thyroid, give you arthritis, or induce severe depression.

It is my fantasy that some Hep-C positive folks who read this will try a rigorous course of juicing and report back on their enzyme levels, prior to undertaking INF therapy.  
Avatar universal
Congratulations!  That's wonderful.
Avatar universal
I'm glad you think so, more power to you.  I however, personally, think it's a bunch of malaky, poppycock, snake oil, whatever.  I have had friends who sweared by only doing the vegan organic lifestyle and exercised like crazy and then, wham, they up and died of cancer.  Nobody can say that living the vegan, organic, juicing lifestyle is going to prevent diseases, or cancer, all the time.  Just as nobody can claim the all medicines work for every disease.  Personally, after having tried some of herbal so-called 'cures' for Hep C and feeling worse afterwords, I'm going to pass on that-thank you very much.  Somebody claimed to me that this nasty tasting organic herbal tea would 'cure' me of my Hep C and that I needed to drink it several times a day.  Boy I tell you, I've never felt so sick, sick to my stomach in my entire life. No thank-you.  Did the organic juicing thing for awhile-bought the juicer, the whole nine yards - made a huge mess in my kitchen all the time-which was extra work for me and also-gave me a bad stomachache.  So, I'll still with my normal reasonable diet (not organic/not vegan) and just do my daily exercise regimen, because you know what-it works for me.  I don't have to feel sick to my stomach from some kind of crazy herbal organic 'cure' that doesn't cure me, just makes me feel sick.  I, BTW have tried 10-11 medically approved HEP C treatments and I did not feel as sick on them as I did on the herbal natural stuff.  Unfortunately, I was unable to clear the virus, but I will give it another whirl when the all oral FDA approved treatments become available.  For now, my liver is doing great on my normal regimen. NO herb, just normal diet, exercise, do drink 1 mug of green tea every day and drink my caffeinated coffee every morning.  Abstain from all alcohol, illegal drugs and that's about all I do.
Avatar universal
Hi, Can-do-man         Merry Christmas/Happy New Year to you, too!

Avatar universal
Hi!  Merry Christmas.  

I was speaking more of kale, spinach, beet greens, red lettuce, cucumbers, stuff like that.  Juicing a head of red lettuce is refreshing, tastes pretty good, and real anti-inflammatory.

You are right, sometimes the super greens (ie - kale juice) will upset your stomach.  A small bit of ginger and an apple or some carrots cut that chlorophyl taste.

Here's my favorite, but I can't drink it anymore from psoriasis, and its actually not a juice.  In summertime, a tomato, a lime, a half a jalapeño, two or three garlic cloves, water all in a magic bullet or a blender.  

blend it drink it.  15 minutes later you are absolutely buzzed with energy in your blood.  I mean, high.

The greens do the same thing, but with a little less rush and not such a peak.  
Avatar universal
I have read warnings on this site, too , about too much iron from greens juicing.  I don't know if that is a big concern or not for hep c sufferers.
163305 tn?1333672171
I know one guy who went on an all juice diet and it messed up his digestion big time. We need the fiber. Don't get me wrong, I have a juicer and use it.
But it's healthier to eat the whole plant~ think big salads. My juice is in addition to my meals, not in place of them.

If you have liver damage, avoiding too much iron is important. I'm sure not all greens have the same amount of iron though.
I stopped using cast iron pans and didn't eat spinach although some say it's okay.

Personally, I think it's about dietary balance~ all things in moderation.

Rambleon~ Herbs are merely plants, some have medicinal properties.
I used herbs and supplements while I was cirrhotic.
Turmeric, a common spice,  is actually a root,  and is supposed to be great for our livers.
My general thought was it couldn't hurt and it could help.
4173379 tn?1355360151
Iron is a HUGE concern for Hep C sufferers...viruses and cancer need iron to thrive and replicate...HIV and HCV are two of the ones that favor iron, as well as cancers. Anyone with liver disease or infections or viruses that affect the liver need to absolutely be concerned with iron. Excess iron loads into liver first and although there are two types of iron, heme and non-heme (non-heme from fruits and veggies and grains, heme from animal protein) the non-heme iron is not readily absorbed, so a diet rich in plants and less on animal protein is a very good idea...reduction or elimination of mostly red meats is a good idea. The more we can do to keep our liver functioning the best it can under the circumstances with an active virus which affects its function, the better...whatever that means.

Herbal remedies will not cure the virus, but it can certainly aid in helping the endocrine and gastric system draining and promote circulation throughout the body. Everything goes through the liver, so the less stress we can give it the better. Meds are hard enough on it, and in anticipation of my husband beginning treatment (he may decide not to treat, and wait for new drugs) he is on a prescribed regimen of a series of herbal drops that will bring his liver, kidneys and other organs to function the best they can in his circumstance. In a month we will retest his liver enzymes and see how they have reacted to the herbs treatment. Anything that helps bring down the inflammation is a victory in our book. A week into it and he already feels somewhat better...his abdomen bloating and swelling and energy levels are much better. When the liver isn't functioning, everything backs up into body and system, so if you can find something that helps that, wonderful.

Juicing is something we are going to get into again...also "clean eating"...we did that a time ago for about 2 years and felt great...nothing processed, refined, preserved...real food (if there is such a thing anymore!!!!). Life took a curve in the last year and we got away from it but now we have a good incentive to return to it! Iron from plants and grains is much less absorbed and is a healthy source of other vital nutrients and minerals and vitamins we need. Vitamin C helps body absorb iron so if taking supplements it is best to do so about 4 hours away from food. Other supplements that include iron are not a good idea either. There are supplements you can find without the iron. Others have mentioned that as well recently on this site.

Back to the iron issue, more people do not realize just how much this affects health...so many are wandering around not knowing the excess iron, from all kinds of sources...genetic (1 in 9 people of European descent are actually carriers of a mutated gene known to cause the body to store excess iron), environmental, lifestyle (diet, smoking...cigarettes contain high levels of iron)...is building to toxic and unsafe levels. Excess iron promotes free radical and oxidation activity which promotes cancer cells growth, auto-immune disorders, inflammation and infections, neurological and hormonal disorders.

As I said, iron loads onto liver first and does play a role in the Hep C treatment aspect as well. My husband's genetic condition he has that makes his body store iron, is doing as much or more damage to liver as the Hep C virus. At this point, he couldn't even begin treatment if he wanted to with his iron levels the way they were. Those had to come down first. And it will complicate his treatment if he decides to go ahead with it. Ribavirin is shown to raise the iron levels in the liver altering response to treatment.

So, I am glad for you that you have found something that helps you get through your situation. I'll let you know how my husband does with his herbal treatment in the coming weeks. Thanks for your perspective on going "green"!

Avatar universal
Hi -
Regarding your December 19th post:  
I too suffer from interferon-induced psoriasis.  Am thankfully SVR after HepC tx, yet I remain cirrhotic. Anything more that you can share of your experience with juicing?
By chance are you cirrhotic too?  And if so, has juicing helped to maintain (or to hopefully improve) your liver's condition?
Many thanks for any input!
Avatar universal
Hi!  I don't exist on juice, but I try and juice everyday (organic kale, beets, spinach, cukes, whatever!) and it makes a huge difference in my health.  Tonight a girlfriend and I had a juice party - we do this a lot - kale, spinach, ginger, cukes, rutabaga, lemon, ginger, cilantro.  Two red wine glasses full of green green juice.

Maybe iron is a problem. All I know is that 15 to 20 minutes post-juice, you can feel that stuff in your blood.  You relax, you get alert, your blood pressure drops, you just feel GOOD.  

Pollan in "In Defense of Food" theorizes that green leafy vegetables exposed to sun (they make anti-oxidants to protect themselves from the sun) contain substances about which nutritionists and doctors have no idea, substances that are good and healthful in ways we don't understand. He arrives at this conclusion based on an examination of 100 years of nutritionists pronouncing how things are, only to be proven wrong - we are still in that same process.

I think his theory makes sense.  

As to my liver, I am cirrhotic and have been since 2009 or so.  Damage progressed very rapidly in the six months of treatment (6/08 - 12/08) and the year following.  I had auto-immune hepatitis from INF and my doctor just shrugged - ha!   Spleen enlarged.

I feel a ton better now than I did in 2009 - 2011, when I thought I was going to die. I really really got hammered by INF. Many body systems were injured.  I felt 20 years older in December, 2009 than I did in January, 2008.  I never had any problems from Hep  C that I could tell.  I was lost in my mind, too.  I am much better now, but still have significant impairments such that even if the Hep C had been cleared (it was not) I would not have considered treatment a good thing.

Anyway, I started juicing and watching my diet (or trying to - I am not a saint about it) in late 2010 or so, in order to fight psoriasis and arthritis.  The crazy thing was that my liver enzymes have been normal a number of times since then.

I asked my doctor :"Hey doc, can they be normal because I just don';t have that much liver left to be damaged?"  He said no, I would otherwise be very sick if such was the case.  

The docs gave me INF to ramp up my immune system.  Then they gave me Enbrel to slow it down. My enzymes went very high. I told my rheumatologist that they were all out of their minds, which I still believe.  Whereupon he told me to read In Defense of Food and take tumeric.      

I did not take the tumeric until recently, when I had to quit taking NSAID sulindac due to heart palpitations like i used to have before i quit smoking.  I take 1500 mg in the am and 1500 mg in the pm.  

I also recently started using neem oil for the psoriasis and i HIGHLY recommend it.  

I do not know if it is happenstance or just a cycle or what, but since I have started using neem oil and taking turmeric, my arthritis symptoms have just about completely disappeared.  My psot=riasis has calmed way down, also. It's literally amazing.  The  neem is for psoriasis, but I understand that the Indians (from India) drink it and I suspect it goes into my system through my skin. It is an amazing substance.  It is also an organic insecticide!

They say tumeric helps the liver, too.

So there it is as I know it!

Good luck!
Avatar universal

One can juice a head of lettuce by itself, too.  Very refreshing.    Romaine, or red leaf.  darker and more organic the better.

Red leaf is very anti-inflammatory IMO.
253566 tn?1219683299
I miss San Francisco sooooo much.

Whenever the economy of the city allowed me I would swing more toward vegetarianism and always felt healthier and never ever got even a cold... Bigger cities always had more options for viggies with small mom & pop shops but then I moved to Tokyo and shockingly enough fruits and veggies were crazy expensive even with all the mom & pop shops on every other corner?!?!

I think the only cheap thing available was daicon (sp) enormous large root radish - which I am sure would make a great addition to a juice but then you have another two feet lol...

I found this great SF shop in the Mission District which would sell bruised produce. Never knew what was going to be there one day from another which was GREAT!!! I would pick up two bags, about all I could carry (being a cyclist - never had a drivers license) about 5 lbs of fruits &/or veggies / bag at 25 cents per bag!!! So much of San Fran really was heaven.

Some of the stuff I was juicing I ddnt even know what it was but it tasted fantastic and made me feel so great. We had a monthly group bike ride with hundred of riders... I was probably one of the older riders in that ride with one of the older bikes - a single gear at that also... but could keep up with the younger most muscled, geared out cyclist - and unknown to me a hepCer to boot!

Mom having this accident in the hospital back in this small PA town brought me back here where the big box markets run everything and nothing is cheap... the average age is on medicare so it is a doc town and that is where I was pushed into treatment (though it was my choice).

Still a cyclist which makes it hard to get around to the Amish (since they dont drive around either (double lol ugh)) but feel like I really need to be doing something different with my system...
Avatar universal
Man, thanks a lot!  I call that a 'generous' response, a helpful one - and I appreciate your input.  I keep track of my iron - and it's okay; serum ferritin is 120 - I'm shooting for optimum, which is under 100.  I've had normal liver functions (AST, ALT, ALP, GGT - everything) for several yrs and wondered the same thing:  is it because I've destroyed 90-95% of my liver - and the remaining 'sliver' isn't enough to generate any enzymes??   I do not feel sick, so (at least per your doctor) apparently not?!
Have your platelets rebounded/returned to normal since treatment??  Mine have been 220K-240K ever since treatment several yrs ago.  
The liver's a darned remarkable thing - and apparently no two cases are identical.  
4733935 tn?1359330604
In 2008 I was admitted to Hospital with Hepatitis C and in a very bad way. The attendant weakness lasted for almost two years with my wife having to manage the duties of driving any long distance.

I began a program where I would use at least two liters of water each day, regular servings of fresh fruits, greens and vegetables, and fish rather than red meats.

What I  found useful was the juicing of specific items such as apple, cucumber, carrot, celery and  beet. I've also included pineapple although the beet already gives it flavor.I still use a variety of nuts, bananas, watermelon and pawpaw.

Possibly my recovery was aided by the fact that I try to walk at least 2km each morning and often more and have been in recovery from substance addiction for now 35 years.
179856 tn?1333550962
Also please note HCVers are to limit vitamin A and K they are also stored in the liver.
Avatar universal
Rambleon40 -
Thank you again for your feedback and that excellent information.  I'm also sending you a P.M. today.
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