• Dr A A Mundewadi

Cirrhosis of the Liver- Modern (Allopathic) Versus Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Chronic damage to liver cells causes liver cell inflammation; this usually heals with scar tissue formation. This gradual degeneration and scarring of the liver is known as cirrhosis. This medical condition is mostly caused by chronic viral infections like hepatitis B and C, fatty liver, alcohol abuse, inherited metabolic disorders, exposure to environmental toxins, and strong reactions to medicines. Cirrhosis causes a gradual dysfunction of the liver as well as blockage of blood and fluids passing through the liver. Processing of nutrients, hormones, drugs, toxins, as well as production of proteins and other substances is seriously affected.

Confirmed cirrhosis is designated as compensated – when the liver function is well maintained - and decompensated – when the liver can no longer carry on its normal function – thereby causing symptoms such as jaundice, ascites, bleeding varices, hepatic encephalopathy, liver cancer, and concurrent disease of the kidneys or lungs. In the early stages, there may be vague symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss, while in the late stages there may be symptoms like easy bruising, and severe itching.

Modern (Allopathic) treatment consists of home care, medications and surgery. Treating or removing known causes such as drugs and alcohol consumption, and obesity, are essential to prevent further damage. Patients are advised to consume a low sodium and high protein diet, with adequate hydration. Routine vaccinations are recommended to be taken as per schedule. Medications are required mainly to reduce ascites, control hypertension, treat inflammation and infections, and for the specific treatment of hepatitis B and C. Abdominal tapping can be done as a temporary measure to remove excess of ascites fluid. Patients with advanced cirrhosis are recommended surgical liver transplant.

Ayurvedic herbal treatment for cirrhosis of the liver is aimed at bringing about a reversal of degeneration and death of the liver cells, and an increase in the blood supply passing through the liver. Ayurvedic herbal medicines which act on the liver cells and reduce inflammation and damage, and bring about a healing in the liver, are used in high doses. In addition, other herbal medicines are also used which reduce fibrosis and remove dead cells and damaged tissue from the organ. Toxins and unwanted material are removed through the kidneys and also the gastrointestinal tract. Medicines are also given to remove inflammation and toxins present in the circulatory system.

In addition, herbal medicines are also given to treat viral infections if present, and to reduce the effect of environmental toxins present in the blood. Alcohol abuse is one of the commonest causes for cirrhosis of liver, and alcohol dependence or misuse also needs to be treated concurrently along with the treatment for cirrhosis of liver. Most people affected with this condition need regular treatment for at least about eight to ten months, depending upon the severity of the condition. If treatment is taken regularly, most people affected with cirrhosis of the liver benefit significantly from treatment, with a significant increase in lifespan as well as considerable improvement in the quality of life.

Ayurvedic Herbal treatment can thus be judiciously utilised in the management and treatment of cirrhosis of the liver.

Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment, Herbal medicines, liver cirrhosis

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