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Alternative Treatments for Hep C

Alternative Treatments for Hep C Alternative Treatments for Hep C Alternative Treatments for Hep C

Hep C, or hepatitis C, is a viral infection of the liver associated with symptoms like jaundice. However, the virus may cause no external symptoms while slowly deteriorating the liver for 20 to 30 years. The virus transmits via contact with infected blood, but sexual transmission is rare, according to the "American Journal of Gastroenterology." The side effects of available drugs to treat hepatitis C can be severe, but as of 2010 there is no substantive proof that alternative treatments are effective.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a flowering plant that contains silymarin, an extract with assumed medicinal properties, states the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, or NCCAM. Laboratory tests show that milk thistle may hinder, prevent or reverse ailments associated with hepatitis C, such as preventing liver damage through oxidation, reducing liver inflammation and promoting liver cell growth. Side effects are minimal, and include bloating, fullness, nausea, pain, diarrhea as well as allergic reactions. Those allergic to flowers like marigolds and daisies are most inclined to a milk thistle allergy. The herb is available exclusively in tablet form as of 2010.

Licorice

Licorice root yields an extract called glycyrrhizin. According to the NCCAM, studies indicate that intravenous administration of glycyrrhizin may reduce the effects the hepatitis C. Other studies suggest that glycyrrhizin is both antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Side effects from heavy and persistent use include hypokalemia-- or low potassium -- high blood pressure, sodium as well as water retention, and electrolyte imbalances. Glycyrrhizin may also prevent liver cancer.

Ginseng

Ginseng exhibited liver health benefits in animal studies, according to the NCCAM. However, studies comprising both human and animal subjects suggested benefits to the immune and lymphatic systems. There are many fraudulent ginseng products, so discretion is paramount when selecting a source for ginseng herbal supplements. The only true ginseng varieties are American and Asian ginseng, the latter which refers to Chinese, Japanese and Korean versions. All other varieties of ginseng, such as Siberian ginseng, are not true ginseng and will not provide assumed healthful benefits. Ginseng is most often ingested as a tea.

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