Hepatitis B and C are becoming increasingly common infectious diseases in the United States. These diseases are spread through the blood and body fluids. People at greatest risk of contracting these diseases are those involved in the medical field, intravenous drug users, those who received blood transfusions before there was screening for these diseases, and people involved in unprotected sex. The jury is still out, but getting tattoos may also be a risk factor.
The drug of choice for the treatment of these strains of chronic hepatitis is interferon. Interferon has many side effects, and it can be quite an ordeal to go through six to eighteen months of treatment with this drug. For certain strains of hepatitis C, the outcomes for interferon are not so good. Relapses are common.
Chinese medicine can be useful for managing the side effects of interferon. Some people also choose to use alternative medicine as their stand-alone treatment. Chinese medicine may be beneficial for improving liver function and returning liver enzymes to normal, but it is not always as beneficial for reducing the amount of virus present in the body.
Many essential oils are antiviral such as eucalyptus, lemon, oregano, and thyme, but since they are processed by the liver they must be utilized in much smaller dosages than usual. Ravensara essential oil has been used as a powerful antiviral agent and may work well for liver infections. Anything that can be used to support the function of the liver may help a great deal with hepatitis.
Milk thistle is a commonly used herb. Capillaris, white peony, and mint are commonly used Chinese herbs that have been shown to be beneficial to the liver. The Chinese herb, isatis, has been used in China as an antiviral agent.
Research in India and the Philippines has demonstrated that virgin coconut oil in its raw unrefined state has antiviral effects against the AIDS virus. The research demonstrates that a constituent of coconut oil, monolaurin, has strong antiviral properties. These countries are considering the potential uses of coconut oil as an inexpensive and readily available treatment for AIDS in their countries. Bitter melon is a commonly eaten Asian vegetable that also may have antiviral properties.
Colloidal silver may be beneficial when prepared correctly and taken in high enough quantities. Olive leaf extract may also be beneficial. Astragalus, schizandra, and licorice are other Chinese herbs that may improve the functioning of the liver. Bupleurum root is very beneficial for hepatitis and most liver problems, but it is contraindicated for people on interferon treatment because the drug and herb interact negatively together.