• Dr A A Mundewadi

Hepatitis – Modern (Allopathic) Versus Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Inflammation of the liver is known as hepatitis, which can be either acute, or chronic if lasting for more than six months. Causes for this condition include viral infection, drug reactions, drug abuse and overdose, exposure to chemicals, and chronic alcohol abuse. Jaundice is a direct and visible effect of acute hepatitis; this can be as a result of bile pigment overproduction (due to excessive breakdown of red blood cells as seen in malaria) or bile flow obstruction (due to bile duct blockage or actual liver cell inflammation).

There is no specific medicine in the modern (Allopathic) system of medicine to treat hepatitis and actual liver damage. However, modern medicine does have antiviral medications to treat the various types of liver viral infections like Hepatitis B and C. In addition, modern hepatologists use immune modulating drugs like interferon to reduce inflammation in chronic liver damage and improve immunity. Most of these medicines need to be taken for prolonged periods or even life-long. These are mostly quite costly and toxic, and may potentially cause damage to blood cells and kidneys, and may even prove ineffective in the long run. On the positive side, modern medicine does have a highly effective preventive vaccine for Hepatitis B, and treatment for two months with antiviral medications can effectively cure hepatitis C. Patients with irreversible liver damage or liver cirrhosis can be offered an option for surgical liver transplant, though this can prove to be a very costly and potentially risky procedure.

Ayurvedic herbal treatment for hepatitis is aimed at giving specific treatment for the inflammation and damage in the liver cells as well as treatment for any known causes for the condition. Ayurvedic herbal medicines are considered to be very useful in the management and treatment of both acute as well as chronic hepatitis. There are several well-known herbal medicines which specifically act on the liver and reduce inflammation and swelling of the liver cells, and bring about a reversal of the damage and dysfunction in the liver. Herbal medicines also normalize the flow of bile through the liver as well as within the bile duct.

Ayurvedic herbal medicines can also be given to treat and reverse damage due to drugs and chemicals as well as alcohol. Herbal medicines which act on the liver as well as other vital organs such as the kidneys and heart need to be given in combination to treat such situations. Chronic alcoholism also needs to be treated aggressively so as to help in an early remission of chronic hepatitis. Acute or chronic hepatitis resulting from viral infection also need specific treatment with Ayurvedic anti-viral herbal medicines which are very useful in the treatment of viral hepatitis.

Most individuals having chronic hepatitis also need treatment with herbal immunomodulatory agents so as to improve the overall immune status and to maintain the health and vitality of the patient. Chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis of the liver which results in permanent damage and long-term complications which can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Hence, early institution of Ayurvedic herbal treatment in the management of chronic hepatitis is very important so as to provide early remission from the condition and prevent long-term complications.

Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment, herbal medicines, hepatitis, Cirrhosis

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