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Hepatitis

General characteristics

General characteristics

Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver. As a result of the inflammation the liver becomes congested with mucous and toxins. This state of turmoil in the liver is also a cause of depression.

Liver inflammation can result from a variety of conditions such as the body being overloaded with toxins, excessive alcohol, recreational drug use, prescription and over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol and statins, autoimmune defects, environmental pollutants, household chemical cleaners and the like, viral, bacterial and amoebic infections, 'toadstool' poisoning and infection with the actual virus responsible for hepatitis (A, B, C, D or E). These latter types are classified as infectious and usually arise by coming in to contact with contaminated food, body fluids or objects.

When the liver is inflamed certain enzymes are released into the blood in increased amounts and this can be detected by a blood test. If infection is due to one of the specific strains of hepatitis then traces of these will also show up in blood samples.

Hepatitis A is spread through contact with infected faecal matter and is the most common form after the chronic, non-infectious kind. It symptoms range from mild flu-like illness to jaundice, fever, abdominal pains and loss of appetite. It can last for a few months and can run its course without treatment if no complications arise. It is unlikely to get it again.

Hepatitis B is a bit more serious and is contracted through contact with infected body fluids like blood, semen and vaginal fluids. The symptoms include sickness and nausea, loss of appetite, jaundice of skin and eye whites, flu like symptoms and darkened urine. Infection can be acute and last for a few months or be chronic and last for 6 months or much longer. Chronic hepatitis sufferers can remain relatively symptom free but pass on the infection to others. Permanent liver damage can result from chronic hepatitis and result in reduced liver performance.

Hepatitis C is a notifiable disease. It is spread the same way as for Hepatitis B. Symptoms can be barely noticeable but may present with a flu-like illness. Up to 85% of those who develop it will go on to have chronic, long term hepatitis with liver scarring and more permanent liver function decline.

Hepatitis D and E are quite recent additions to the family and are thought to be a mixture of other hepatitis type infections.

Healing objectives are to reduce inflammation, boost immune activity, cleanse and very gently stimulate the liver, reduce any aggravating factors (eg. through dietary changes drug reduction, environmental avoidance) and to repair and revive any damaged liver cells where possible.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Take a tablespoon of organic extra virgin olive oil on a n empty stomach each morning.

Globe artichokes cleanse the liver so include some every couple of days in your meals.

Consider having a short break from solid food by going on a juice fast for a day or two. Fresh, organic carrot juice is very beneficial and cleansing to the liver, add to that apples, beetroots or celery for a nutritious and healing meal in a glass.

Drink a glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice each day. Fresh grapefruit juice is especially effective for hepatitis C. Lemon and lime juices are also helpful and also contain with anti-oxidants and vitamin C.

Include plenty of raw garlic in your daily meals.

Avoid processed foods of any kind, especially fatty, baked or fried foods as these stress the liver further.

Avoid meats and animal products as they require greater energy to digest.

Avoid refined carbohydrates (white flour products) and sugary foods.

Avoid caffeinated and fizzy drinks as these will overstimulate the liver, stressing it further.

Make meals small and light, with plenty of fresh salads, wholegrains and fruits, freshly squeezed juices and nutritious herbal teas. These will provide plenty of anti-oxidants to help reduce inflammation and improve the immune system. It will also mean very few unnatural and unhealthy chemicals are entering the body.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

The seeds of the milk thistle plant are known to be protective against viral toxins and free radical damage and in some cases is regenerative to the liver cells, particularly if taken at the earliest signs of inflammation or infection. Take up to a teaspoon of the powdered seeds in water or on food up to 3 times daily.

Artichoke leaf is a well respected and traditional remedy for protecting and detoxifying the liver whose properties have been shown to be founded in solid science. Take a teaspoon of leaves in tea form, 3 times daily.

A few drops of blue flag root tincture can be added to water and taken up to 3 times daily for its powerful detoxifying action on the liver.

A useful formula to use in all cases of hepatitis could include dandelion root, burdock root, barberry, liqourice, gentian root, astragalus root and turmeric powder. Use equal parts of the dried herbs, except the turmeric powder. Add 3 heaped teaspoons of the mix to a pan and add a pint or so of water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes, turn off the heat, add 3 teaspoon of turmeric powder and cover. Strain off a glassful and drink over the day around meal times. Start with one dose a day to begin with if the hepatitis is severe and slowly progress to the full dose over a couple of weeks.

Echinacea tincture can help to assist the immune system. A high dose such as 1 teaspoon in water 4 times daily may help.

Chickweed tea may also prove useful for hepatitis B.

Schisandra berries are excellent in most cases of hepatitis. Fighting infection and protecting from damage to the organ itself.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Take a teaspoon of good quality flaxseed oil twice daily for its beneficial effects on the liver.
Castor oil packs placed over the right side of the abdomen, just under the ribcage can help to clear congestion from the liver and soothe abdominal pain. Soak a cloth in warm castor oil and keep in place with a hot water bottle for up to an hour. Wash any excess oil from the skin after.

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