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5.1.0 Herbal Treatments and Vitamins

5.1.0 Herbal Treatments and Vitamins

5.1.1 Kombucha Tea

There have been quite a few warnings posted about serious adverse effects from Kombucha Tea in Australia and the United States.

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5.1.2 Medicinal mushrooms (Reishi / Maitake, Shitake)

Medicinal mushrooms may stimulate many aspects of the immune system, including the production of interferon.

In the Orient, Reishi is considered a Fu Zhen herb (immune modulation).

Presently, Reishi has various applications including lowering or raising blood pressure, stimulating liver actions, blood cleansing, and acting as an adaptogen in helping the body fight the effects of stress.

Chinese herbalists prize it for its abilities to regenerate the liver. In high doses, and to some degree normal doses, Ganoderma may be classified as a liver detoxicant and protectant.

Toxicity studies show no toxic effects on humans. In research, patients are given much higher doses, as high as 10 grams of extract per day, with no ill effects.

The potency of Reishi mushrooms is usually based on its level of triterpenoids. One can determine the level of this by tasting it. The more bitter it is, the higher the level of triterpenoids.

Because Reishi is a polypore, (a group of hard, woody, bracket-like mushrooms) it is not eaten, but cut into pieces and made into a tea. In China, the average dose is 3 to 5 grams a day. Other popular forms of delivery are the water/alcohol extracts and powders. (“Reishi: Ancient Medicine is Modern Hope”, Linda McGlasson, Health Foods Business Consumer Education Series, January 1992.)

A study of Ganoderma undertaken at Cornell University found that there was a good argument for the use of this substance in conjunction with other medicines in the treatment of cancer. There was no mention in the literature of HCV. (Role of Ganoderma Supplementation in Cancer Management Meridian Medical Group at the Institute of East-West Medicine and Department of Medicine, Cornell Medical College Raymond Y. Chang, 1997).

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5.1.3 Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

The name dandelion is sometimes loosely applied to other milky-sapped weeds with fluffy yellow flowers. But true dandelion is that ubiquitous weed growing prolifically in millions of lawns, backyards and pastures throughout America. This perennial herb has deeply cut leaves forming a basal rosette in the spring and flower heads born on long stalks. All leaves and the hollow flower stems grow directly from the rootstock. The creator of the comic strip “Marvin” once had his adorable diapered hero surveying a clump of dandelions and then thinking to himself, “Dandelions are Nature’s way of giving dignity to weeds!”

The late naturopathic physician, John Lust, stated in his Herb Book that dandelion root is good for all kinds of liver problems, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice and toxicity in general, as well as getting rid of gallstones. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil, reduce heat to low and add about 20 tbsp. of fresh dandelion leaves, stems and clean, chopped root. Simmer as long as it takes for the liquid to be reduced to just a pint, then strain. Dr. Lust recommended taking 3 tbsp. six times daily.

For those desiring something more convenient in capsule form, there is the AKN Formula from Nature’s Way, which contains considerable dandelion root and other cleansing herbs. It can be obtained from any local health food store. - Heinerman Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs, John Heinerman, Parker Publishing Company

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5.1.4 Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle (Silymarin) is reported to be an anti-inflammatory and mast cell stabilizer that helps protect the liver against toxin, drugs, and the affects of alcohol (Better Nutrition for Today’s Living, March 1993 ).

Use extract of milk thistle (Silybum marianum). “...European research shows that it stimulates regeneration of liver cells and protects them from toxic injury” Usually stocked in health food stores under the names milk thistle, silybum, or silymarin.

Take two capsules two or three times a day until liver function returns to normal.

Contains the active flavonoid Silymarin and is used for all liver disorders such as jaundice and hepatitis. Milk Thistle contains some of the most potent liver protecting substances known. Milk thistle prevents free radical damage by acting as an antioxidant, protecting the liver. Stimulates the production of new liver cells and prevents formation of damaging leukotienes.

A serious study in test tubes, has shown that milk thistle, widely used among Hep C sufferers, is an anti-inflammatory and possibly has antiviral effects. The main problem is that milk thistle has not been standardized. This study used standardized Silymarin extract (MK-001). Better antiviral results were obtained by combining MK-001 with IFN-N1 than by using either alone. Silymarin bought in stores showed some antiviral effects, but not as much as MK-001. The most effective “ingredients” in milk thistle seem to be silybin A, silybin B, isosilybin A, and isosilybin B.22. (www.natap.org Original article: Gastroenterology, May 2007, Volume 132, Issue 5, Pages 1925-1936)

Results of a small study with 16 nonresponders to standard therapy who were retreated with 10 mg/kg silibinin monotherapy, an ingredient in milk thistle, intravenously during 4 hours a day for 7 consecutive days, showed a decline in viral load and ALT levels. This product may be beneficial for nonresponders, and more studies are needed. (www.natap.org/2008/EASL/EASL57.htm)

In a 2011 study, silibinin was given intravenously to a patient post-transplant without any other antiviral. The patient still had un-detectable virus at his 5-month follow-up. The researchers believe that IV silibinin should be researched especially in non-responders to standard therapy or in those who cannot tolerate standard therapy, perhaps in combination with a protease inhibitor. (www.natap.org/2011/HCV/02161106.htm 02/16/11)

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5.1.5 Artichoke (cynara scolymus)

The artichoke has a long folk history in treating many liver diseases. Recent evidence supports this longtime use. The active ingredient in artichoke is cynarin. this compound is found in highest concentrations in the leaves.
Cynara extract has demonstrated liver-protecting and regenerating effects, and promotes the outflow of bile from the liver to the gall-bladder. This is very important because if the bile is not being transported adequately to the gallbladder, the liver has an increased risk of being damaged.

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5.1.6 Licorice root (glycyrrhiza glabra)

Studies have shown a component of licorice to be effective in treating viral hepatitis, particularly chronic active hepatitis. This is probably due to its well documented antiviral activity.

A glycyrrhizin-containing product is widely used intravenously in Japan for the treatment of hepatitis. If licorice is used over a long time it is necessary to increase the intake of potassium rich foods.

Caution should be exercised by anyone with high blood pressure or cirrhosis. (“Complementary and alternative medicine in chronic liver disease,” Hepatology September 2001 Volume 34 Number 3)

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5.1.7 Spirulina (Blue-Green Algae)

Researchers report that spirulina, an extract of blue-green algae, contains a substance that shows antiviral
activity against HIV. Studies have not yet been conducted on its effectiveness against the hepatitis C virus.

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5.1.8 Garlic

Garlic is a natural antibiotic. It protects the body from infection, detoxifies the body, strengthens blood vessels, and lowers blood pressure. Garlic contains a natural antibiotic, antifungicide, and has many antiviral properties.

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5.1.9 Thymic factors

Thymic Factors is a combination of drugs including thymus, Enzymatic Poly-Peptide Fractions, Crude Thymus Extract, Thymosin, Thymopoietin, Thymus Humoral Factor, other nutrients, herbs, vitamins, and enzymes, developed by Carson B. Burgstiner,M.D after he contracted hepatitis B. He claims to have 83 cases of Hepatitis B, 23 cases of hepatitis C, 28 cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and arrested 12 cases of Systemic Lupus (some of whom were taking 22 different drugs and are now asymptomatic), 10 cases of Multiple-Sclerosis, 12 cases of Psoriasis, 7 cases of people with Squamous Cell Cancer of the skin.

This formulation has not been through official clinical trials, and the claims have not been proven, but many listmembers on the HEPV-L mailing list report that they feel better and have more energy while taking Thymic Factors.
Dr. Burgstiner’s Recommendations for Preventative Maintenance: 2 Thymic Factors with 1 Thym-A-Vites vitamin twice daily in AM & PM to be taken with food or meals.

Dr. Burgstiner’s Recommendations for Chronic Conditions: 4 Thymic Factors with 2 Thym-A-Vites vitamins twice daily in AM & PM to be taken with food or meals. Continue at this level until you are satisfied with the results or bloodwork is normal. Then go to the maintenance dose of 2 Thymic Factors with I Thym-A-Vites vitamin twice daily in AM & PM to be taken with food or meals.

Dr. Burgstiner’s office may be contacted at the number below. They will send you an information packet in a few days. The formula is called Thymic Factors, and the vitamins are made by Sundown (super multiple, minus iron). Carson B. Burgstiner,M.D., 5354 Reynolds St. # 304, Candler Professional Bldg., Savannah, GA 31405 Phone (912)355-5755 fax (912)355-5759

In 1996 a company Preventive Therapeutics, Inc. started manufacturing the original formula of Dr. Carson B. Burgstiner, which is being sold and distributed by them as well as by many health food stores. The containers consist of 180 tablets, 30 day supply. There is a picture of a bird and flowers on the label.

When Preventative Therapeutics was contacted, they gave the following advice: When first taking the Thymic Formula until stabilized 2-3 months, take 6 tablets twice daily (total 12 tablets) 12 hours apart. When stabilized, take 3 tablets, twice daily.

Preventive Therapeutics, Inc. is located in Duluth Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta GA. 1150K Court Drive, Duluth GA 30136. Telephone: Toll free:1-888-372-8259;770-417-2835, fax: 770-409-0110 Contacts: Ed. Callaway, RPH, Jim Williamson or Pat Stephens

Recently (2000) warnings have been issued against the use and consumption of raw animal parts (glands, testicles, brains) in herbal and alternative treatments, since there is fear that they may spread “mad cow disease.”

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5.1.10 Vitamin C

Linus Pauling the two time Nobel Prize winner said that vitamin C is very beneficial to hepatitis patients. He
recommends a bare minimum of 10,000 milligrams = 10 grams a day. 20,000 - 50,000 milligrams a day is much better = 20 to 50 grams. Take pure vitamin C. Take the pills three to four times a day instead of once a day. Vitamin C is an antiviral agent. The only side effect known is diarrhea which should slow down and stop as you get used to the vitamin C. You can get Linus Pauling’s books at your local library.

“In [a] large, national, population-based study, the risk for apparent liver injury was associated with increased iron and decreased antioxidants, particularly carotenoids (Gastroenterology. 2003 Jun;124(7):1821-9).

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5.1.11 Vitamin B12

Some hepatitis patients report having more energy when they take extra vitamin B12. It is important to note
that Vitamin B12 is not effective when taken in tablet form. It must be injected.

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5.1.12 Vitamin E

Vitamin E is reported to assist the liver in detoxifying the blood. Vitamin E works best when taken with Selenium, an antioxidant mineral. Too much Vitamin E thins the blood, so those with bleeding disorders should exercise caution.

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5.1.13 Natural interferon boosters

Studies indicate that many natural substances can activate the body’s own production of interferon. Some better known natural interferon boosters are:

Astragalus: a Chinese herb that enhances the antibody reaction to foreign invaders of all types, including cancer.

Boneset: a Native American Indian herb with antiseptic, anti-viral properties used for the treatment of colds and flus, coughs, fevers, indigestion and pain.

Chlorophyll: a plant pigment which can be found in a long list of green leafy vegetables and algae like spirulina, chlorella and barley green.

Coenzyme Q10: an antioxidant involved in the electron transport chain needed for all energy dependent processes in the body. CoQ10 increases helper T-cells and reduces infection risk.

Echinacea: the most popular herb in North America used as a treatment for toothaches, bites or stings and all types of infections.

Ginkgo: a potent central nervous system antioxidant for the treatment of circulation disorders, memory problems, high blood pressure, depression, tinnitus and immune system disorders.

Melatonin: a hormone produced by the pineal gland with strong antioxidant and immune system boosting properties.

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5.1.14 Other herbs or vitamins

Essiac Tea is an Ojibway tea thought to cleanse the body of toxins and boost immunity, which some people
have found to be helpful. (Personally, it seemed to make me sicker - Patti).

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5.1.15 Grapefruit

Harvard University researchers are saying that naringenin, an ingredient in grapefruit, can cut levels of bad cholesterol, and seems to stop the Hep C virus from “hitching a ride” between blood cells, cutting transmission between cells by 80%. (www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/lifeandstyle/health/article3902438.ece May 10, 2008)

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5.1.16 Water

Thanks to Alan Franciscus for this important reminder

We’ve all been told that it is essential for proper health maintenance to drink at least 8 glasses of water (8 oz. each glass) every day. This is especially true for those of us with hepatitis C and, if you are on treatment with interferon and ribavirin, it is even more important to drink plenty of water. In fact, you should try to drink as much water as possible even if you are not thirsty. This will help with the many potentially nasty side effects that may be experienced while on treatment.

The exception to this rule is the person who has ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity), in which case a medical professional will instruct you on the correct diet and fluid intake.

Drinking at least 8 glasses of water can be a problem, but it is not as hard as it appears. Many people fill containers with filtered water so they can track the exact amount of water they drink daily. Frequently, I buy bottled water to take with me when I am on the go. I refill these bottles with filtered water every morning to keep track of the amount I consume daily.

Remember, you are going to have to urinate much more frequently and want to make sure you are near a restroom. If you know that you will not have easy access to a bathroom, you may want to stop drinking an hour or so before an outing.

Even with these obstacles, you will find that the health benefits of drinking large amounts of water greatly outweigh the inconvenience and the frequent runs to the restroom.

Some of the health benefits of drinking adequate amounts of water include:

  • Weight loss – suppresses appetite and metabolizes stored fat.
  • Digestion – improves the digestive process and can relieve or prevent constipation
  • Dry Skin – moisturizes the skin
  • Body wastes and toxins – rids the body of wastes and toxins
  • Body temperature – regulates body temperature to keep you cool in hot temperatures
  • Nutrients – contains many essential nutrients
  • Joints – lubricates and cushions joints
  • Cancer – helps with preventing some cancers, such as colon and liver cancer

Remember to consume water instead of coffee or colas that contains caffeine. Beverages that contain caffeine deplete body fluids. In order to replace these lost fluids, you must drink two glasses (16 oz) of water for every glass (8 oz) of a beverage that contains caffeine.

Additionally, make sure you check the content of the water. You should stay away from any water that contains sodium.

So take that plunge.

Drink WATER!

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Table of Contents


5.0.8 Ozone Therapy

Hepatitis C FAQ

5.2.0 Exercise