Hepatitis C is a liver condition that occurs due to an infection from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection inflames the liver and can result in health problems such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Typically, a doctor will prescribe antivirals to treat the infection. Some herbs may also benefit the condition, but people should discuss their options with a doctor before using any natural herbal supplement.
Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne viral infection in the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally about
Usually, a doctor will treat HCV infections by using medications to control symptoms of the infection, reduce the viral load, and cure the infection before it leads to severe complications. In addition to antiviral medication, some people may consider using herbs to ease symptoms and protect the liver. However, while some herbs may be beneficial, others can be toxic to the liver.
In this article, we will discuss if natural herbs and remedies are beneficial for treating hepatitis C.
Some people may consider using natural herbs to help treat HCV infections. A 2014 study notes that
For example, the
Milk thistle, also known as silymarin, is the
However, other research suggests that milk thistle provides
Schisandra is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that some people may use to treat liver disorders such as hepatitis C.
Turmeric is a plant that is available around the world. It contains the active ingredient
Dandelion is a common medicinal plant that grows in many parts of the world. A
Green tea contains unoxidized leaves of the Chinese tea tree Camellia sinensis. People have used green tea for medicinal purposes for
Bupleurum is a traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine that people may use to treat a variety of illnesses, including liver disease. While more research is necessary, a
However, bupleurum may interact with certain medicines, and a few case reports note that excessive doses of the herb may cause liver damage.
Licorice root is an herbal medicine that has a long history of medicinal use in many cultures. It contains a compound called
Other natural dietary supplements that may show some promise
- Zinc: Zinc is an essential trace element important for a
number of functions. A person may also experience a zinc deficiency due to an HCV infection. While zinc supplements may help to reduce symptoms and correct deficiencies, more research is necessary. There is also a risk of zinc toxicity when taking excessive supplements.
- Silver: Colloidal silver is a suspension of
tiny silver particlesin a liquid. Some people may use it as a natural remedy to prevent infections. However, more research is necessary. Some evidence suggests it is not safeand can cause irreversible side effects, including a permanent bluish discoloration of the skin.
- Probiotics: These are live microorganisms that may provide some health benefits. Research does not yet suggest that they provide any benefits for HCV infections. They may also result in some side effects, such as digestive issues and skin problems.
Healthcare practitioners often use oral medications called direct-acting antivirals to treat individuals with hepatitis C.
The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases currently recommends two different regimens for hepatitis C treatment: glecaprevir (300 milligrams [mg])/pibrentasvir (120 mg) for 8 weeks or sofosbuvir (400 mg)/velpatasvir (100 mg) for 12 weeks.
According to the
Anyone who has untreated hepatitis C should speak with a doctor as soon as they can. The
If people who are at risk of exposure to blood containing HCV, such as healthcare workers or intravenous drug users, notice potential symptoms of HCV, such as abdominal pain, dark urine, or jaundice, they should contact a doctor.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease that occurs due to the hepatitis C virus. According to
To treat HCV infections, a doctor will likely recommend that people take antiviral medications, which are effective in treating most cases of HCV infections.