More and more people seem to be having liver dysfunction these days. We cannot separate this from the fact that more people now use alcohol and drugs than before. This has made way for more research in the medical field. Unfortunately, there are but a few available and universally effective options for the treatment of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. As such, interests are beginning to rise in the area of herbal medicine and many researchers are looking in this direction already. Anyways, herbal treatment is not new to most eastern countries. They have used it for many centuries to alleviate liver disorders, as well as those of other vital organs. Nowadays, however, it is gaining worldwide acceptance for treating liver conditions.
Before now, herbal treatments had no scientific interest. But recently, researchers began to evaluate these herbs with scientific methods. In most cases, experts still find it hard to place how these herbs work. But they prove to be somewhat effective. The issue is whether or not these effects are universal and what factors affect their effectiveness. However, since many more people are now using herbal medicines, it may mean that many people perceive them to be effective in treating and preventing disease. The major advantage that natural treatment has over conventional treatment is that many people believe that they are safer. Or isn’t “natural” supposed to mean “safe”? We will explain all of these to you as you read on.
How Natural Treatment Differs From Medical Treatment
When we talk about medical treatment, we refer to western medicine. This approach uses a paradigm that targets therapeutics as the means to eradicate illness from the root cause. This way, it aims to reverse the process of diseases.
Treatment strategies in western medicine are specific for each disease. More so, they base these treatments on established biological factors.
So before they introduce new therapies in western medicine, they start with lots of rigorous trials. These trials will often compare standard therapy with the proposed new treatment. They want to see how it affects mortality and morbidity. They also watch to see how it affects the natural disease prognosis.
But natural treatment is quite different. It uses the natural healing and health paradigm. As such, the treatments focus on reinforcing and re-establishing your body’s natural process of healing and wellness.
Natural healing seeks to improve your wellbeing and, as such, correct health disturbances. SO if you are using natural treatment, the focus is usually on strengthening your liver and immunity, as well as your GI system.
Natural therapy usually includes efforts to achieve 3 things:
- To use herbal agents to improve liver, immune, and GI functions.
- To remove any obstacle to your cure by boosting chelation or excretion of pro-oxidants like iron, as well as lower the burden of toxins on your liver. It eliminates smoking, alcohol, and drugs.
- It supports liver healing.
The difference between natural and conventional medicine becomes clearer when you check their development methods, as well as their treatment application.
Experts develop conventional drugs by first identifying the active component in a drug. After that, they purify, quantitate, and manufacture it. They also ensure that there is minimal variation between different batches of the drug.
The development of drugs is different for natural medicines. They use typically ancient oral traditions of herbal preparation. Such preparations may have several components. Some of the components are active, while some others buffer. Yet, some others are there to dilute the preparation’s active components.
Aside from the herb itself, the natural approach also considers the harvest time, as well as the conditions of the climate and soil. The methods of preparation also matter. However, the effects of natural treatment are usually non-specific and quite ritualistic.
Natural Treatment of Cirrhosis
There are several natural medicines for treating liver diseases. But out of them all, Silymarin (Milk thistle) seems to be the best studies and most used. But there is yet to be enough evidence to prove its benefits and effectiveness.
Experts have done lots of clinical trials on herbal products for treating cirrhosis. But these trials have not yet come out with sufficient proof to recommend their use. Experts even say that certain herbs may do further damage to your liver.
Milk Thistle And Silymarin
Silymarin is extracted from milk thistle. You can commonly find this herb in North America, Europe, and Asia. Around the 1960s, experts made the puriﬁed extracts available for chemical analyses. The analyses show that Silymarin has several active compounds.
The active compounds in milk thistle include 4 ﬂavonoids. The most important of these active compounds is silibinin. It makes up about 90 percent of silymarin’s chemical components.
It’s quite surprising to know that Europeans have been using Silymarin for about 6 centuries now. Even to date, they still use it to treat jaundice and liver disease.
Due to its flavonoids, experimental data shows that silymarin has antioxidant effects. It helps to locate and eliminate free radicals. It also prevents the formation of free radicals in the first place, as well as the depletion of glutathione.
Milk Thistle may also exert some anti-ﬁbrotic effects. But the way by which it does this is not yet known. Studies show that the extracts protect lab mice and rats from various forms of liver injury during experiments. These include drug poisoning, drug toxicity, and lab-induced liver failure.
Anyways, we still have a long way to go before mainstream medicine can accept natural treatments like silymarin. But then, it is worth noting that silymarin has no major side effects. But then, if you want to try any alternative medicine for treating cirrhosis, you should talk to your physician first about it.
In the treatment of cirrhosis, lifestyle changes are very vital. And as much as natural treatments may help, you should never reject medical advice. Experts are still trying to prove the effectiveness of most natural remedies. But lots of standard medical treatments have enough scientific proof already. You may use a combined therapy with close medical supervision. But you should never abandon standard treatment.