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Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver, primarily caused due to hepatitis virus infections. The five main types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.

Hepatitis A and hepatitis E are commonly caused due to consumption of contaminated food and water, whereas hepatitis C and hepatitis D spread through sexual contact with an infected person or direct contact with infected body fluids. Hepatitis B is also spreads by sexual contact with an infected person; however, it may be transmitted through parenteral contact with infected blood, from mother to child during birth, tattooing and acupuncture. Hepatitis B may not show any discernible symptoms in the beginning but can progress to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer in 8 to 10 years.

Common risk factors associated with hepatitis include consumption of alcohol, other infections and autoimmune diseases. Excessive, regular or long-term intake of certain medicines may also predispose someone to this condition.

Hepatitis can be classified as acute or chronic; the duration of acute hepatitis is less than 6 months, whereas chronic hepatitis persists for a more extended period. Hepatitis B and C generally lead to chronic hepatitis.

Ayurveda describes numerous treatments, herbs and medicines that can be useful in treating liver disorders including hepatitis. Some Ayurvedic treatments for hepatitis include deepana (appetising), pachana (digestive), snehana (oleation), swedana (sudation or sweat therapy), vamana (medical emesis), virechana (purgation), basti (enema) and raktamokshana (bloodletting). Some of the herbs and medicines used to treat hepatitis are katuki (kutki), kalamegha (king of bitters, green chirayta), kumari (aloe vera), punarnava (red hogweed), kakamachi (black nightshade), guduchi (heart-leaved moonseed), daruharidra (Indian beriberi), arogyavardhini vati, kumari asava and punarnavasava.

  1. Ayurvedic view of hepatitis
  2. Ayurvedic treatment for hepatitis
  3. Ayurvedic herbs and medicines for hepatitis
  4. Dietary and lifestyle changes for hepatitis patient as per ayurveda
  5. How effective are ayurvedic medicines and treatments for hepatitis
  6. Side effects and risks of ayurvedic medicine and treatments for hepatitis
  7. Takeaway
Doctors for Ayurvedic medicine, treatment and remedies for Hepatitis

According to Ayurveda, all conditions of the liver, including hepatitis B occur due to sthanadushti, caused by vitiation of the liver. The predominant dosha involved in all liver diseases is pitta, which occurs due to excessive production of bile or obstruction to the flow of bile. This, in turn, affects the agni (digestive fire) and causes a disturbance in various metabolic processes including digestion, nutrient absorption, ultimately leading to liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and fatty liver. Based on the associated symptoms, liver diseases are classified as:

  • Ruddhapatha kamala (obstructive jaundice): It is caused by aggravation of all three doshas, i.e., vata, pitta and kapha. Consumption of dry, cold, heavy, sweet foods, excessive exercise and suppression of natural urges such as urination and expulsion of stool vitiates vata and kapha leading to obstruction in the pitta channels in liver. Common symptoms of this condition include undigested, light-coloured stools and yellowness of the nails, eyes, skin, urine and stool.
  • Bahupitta kamala (hepatitis): It is caused due to severe derangement of pitta along with vitiation in rakta and mamsa dhatu. Consumption of hot, bitter and spicy foods is considered to be responsible for this condition. Symptoms such as yellowness of the nails, eyes, skin, urine and stool, lustreless skin, weakness, body pain, fever, and loss of taste are associated with hepatitis. 
  • Kumbha kamala (neglected or untreated hepatitis or jaundice): It can lead to cirrhosis of the liver if not attended to immediately.
  • Haleemaka: It is an advanced stage of anaemia and occurs due to vitiation of both vata and pitta.

Although it can be treated with conventional medicine, allopathic treatment of hepatitis is very costly and benefits only 30% of the individuals undergoing treatment. Ayurvedic treatment of hepatitis is much more cost effective and it aims at strengthening the liver and other systems of body to alleviate any liver condition naturally.

  • Deepana and pachana
    • Deepana and pachana are generally advised before the main therapies.
    • It involves the administration of herbs and medicines to restore the metabolic fire, which leads to an increased appetite and improvement in digestion process.
    • It also helps in alleviating ama (toxins) from the body.
    • Ghrita (clarified butter) is given in deepana or pachana karma to stimulates agni (digestive fire) and aid in digestion.
    • Medicines like shunthi ghrita, dashmoolarishta, pippalyadi ghrita, and chitrakadi vati are recommended to increase hunger and aid in digestion.
  • Snehana
    • Snehana involves the lubrication of body using medicated oils. Both internal and external oleation is recommended for the treatment of hepatitis.
    • Internal oleation involves consumption of oils and is called snehapana.
    • Snehana and snehapana liquefy and dislodge ama from different sites in the body and bring it to the digestive tract. This ama and aggravated doshas are then eliminated from the digestive tract using panchakarma (five therapies) procedures like vamana, virechana and basti.
    • Kalyanaka ghrita, mahatikta ghrita and panchatikta ghrita are commonly used for snehapana in the treatment of hepatitis.
  • Swedana
    • Swedana is a therapeutic procedure involving the induction of sweating using various techniques.
    • It liquefies toxins and moves them to the digestive tract, from where they are expelled out of the body.
    • It helps in relieving stiffness and heaviness in the body.
  • Vamana
    • Vamana is one of the panchakarma procedures. which involves the use of herbs to induce vomiting.
    • It helps expel the aggravated doshas and ama from the body.
    • This method is primarily used to treat conditions caused due to aggravated kapha and pitta.
  • Virechana
    • Virechana involves the consumption of herbs or medicines to induce purgation and eliminate the elevated doshas and ama through the rectal route.
    • It is primarily used to expel excess pitta dosha but is also effective in treating diseases caused due to aggravation in other doshas.
  • Basti
    • Basti is an Ayurvedic enema therapy, which involves the introduction of herbs into the intestine through the rectal route.
    • It clears the intestine and rectum and helps in the elimination of aggravated doshas and ama, which are the major causes of most diseases.
    • Herbs that are commonly used to induce purgation are dashmoola (10 roots), vacha (calamus), rasna (Indian camphorweed), and kushtha (costus).
    • This procedure is useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal, urogenital and neuromuscular disorders.
  • Raktamokshana
    • Raktamokshana involves the removal of impure and toxic blood from the body using metallic instruments, leeches, cow’s horn or dried bitter gourd.
    • It is useful in the treatment of various blood-borne diseases, pitta-predominant diseases and also in some of the vata diseases.
    • Conditions that can be treated using this procedure include jaundice, eczema, moles, vitiligo, scabies, stomatitis and gout.

Ayurvedic herbs for hepatitis

  • Katuki
    • Katuki acts on the excretory, female reproductive, nervous, circulatory, and digestive systems and has laxative and bitter stomachic properties.
    • It enhances the discharge of bile juices in the gastrointestinal system and is useful in the treatment of liver diseases like hepatitis.
    • Katuki also treats conditions like bilious fever, epilepsy and constipation.
    • It can be used in the form of tincture, extract, powder or pill.
  • Kalamegha
    • Kalamegha is useful in the management of chronic fever and elimination of excess pitta.
    • It is helpful in inducing purgation and destroying worms and is also employed in the deepana process.
    • This herb improves the function of spleen and digestive system.
    • It can be used in the form of churna (powdered formulation), which can be taken with water, honey, sugarcane juice or as advised by the physician.
  • Kumari
    • Kumari acts on the circulatory, female reproductive, nervous, digestive, and excretory systems and has bitter tonic, anthelmintic, rejuvenating, purgative, and stimulant properties.
    • It pacifies aggravated pitta and can treat numerous conditions like constipation, jaundice, hepatitis, enlarged liver, kidney disorders, ear infections and obesity.
    • It can be used in the form of a confection, powder, decoction, paste, pulp, herbal wine or juice.
  • Punarnava
    • Punarnava acts on the female reproductive, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems and has stomachic, laxative, rejuvenating, expectorant (expels phlegm), and sweat-inducing properties.
    • It is useful in the management of heart diseases, kidney disorders and alcoholism.
    • Juice obtained from the leaves of punarnava plant is useful in treating jaundice.
    • Punarnava can be used in the form of juice, decoction, infusion, paste and powder.
  • Kakamachi
    • Kakamachi acts on the reproductive and circulatory systems and has sedative (induces sleep), expectorant, tonic, diuretic, and sweat-inducing properties.
    • It can be used in the management of conditions such as heart diseases, skin diseases, inflammatory swellings, enlarged liver and spleen, hepatitis and fever.
    • This herb can be used in the form of extract, poultice, leaves, syrup, decoction and powder.
  • Guduchi
    • Guduchi acts on the circulatory and digestive systems. It promotes diuresis and also helps improve digestion.
    • This herb can be used to prevent symptomatic relapse in various conditions. It is one of the main immune-boosting herbs and is known to detoxify blood.
    • It is primarily indicated in pitta disorders like jaundice and hepatitis.
    • Guduchi can also be used to treat conditions that cause weakness like tuberculosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and cancer.
    • It can be taken in the form of extract and powder.
  • Daruharidra:
    • Daruharidra acts on the circulatory and digestive systems and has hepatoprotective (liver-protective), bitter tonic, stomachic, diuretic, and fever-reducing properties.
    • It is mainly used for relieving bile and urinary conditions.
    • It removes ama and pacifies aggravated pitta, and is thus effective in treating jaundice and hepatitis.
    • Daruharidra regulates the functioning of liver and helps treat conditions like enlarged liver and spleen, hepatitis, kidney stones, and gastric and duodenal ulcer.
    • It can be used in the form of decoction, powder, medicated ghee and paste.

Ayurvedic medicines for hepatitis

  • Arogyavardhini vati
    • Arogyavardhini vati is a multidrug formulation used in the treatment of liver disorders. This medicine aims to improve health by achieving a balance in various doshas.
    • Kutki is the key ingredient in this formulation, which acts on the liver by stimulating the production of bile juices.
    • Other components of this medicine such as shilajatu (asphaltum) and tamra bhasma (calcined preparation of copper) promote the flow of excess pitta from the liver to intestines. This pitta can then easily be eliminated from the body through various procedures. 
    • The antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties of this formulation also make it useful in improving liver function. It is especially effective in the management of hepatitis B. 
    • Arogyavardhini vati acts on rakta dhatu and strengthens the liver.
    • It clears circulatory channels, balances fat distribution in the body, stimulates digestive fire and expels toxins from the body.
    • To improve liver conditions, this medicine should be given for at least 7 to 8 months and may be continued after the treatment as per the direction of the physician.
  • Kumari asava
    • Some of the ingredients of this formulation are kumari, gokshura (small caltrops), kushtha, bala (country mallow), katuki, amalaki (Indian gooseberry), trikatu (a combination of the three acrids – pippali [long pepper], shunthi [dried ginger] and maricha [black pepper]) and haridra (turmeric).
    • The herb kumari is known to be beneficial for liver.
    • This formulation can be taken with arogyavardhini vati for reducing the treatment period of hepatitis B infection.
    • It helps improve appetite and is thus effective in the treatment of anorexia.
    • Kumari asava is also employed for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, flatulence and kidney stones. 
  • Punarnavasava
    • Some of the constituents of this formulation are punarnava, neem, guduchi, eranda (castor), gokshura, trikatu and honey. Punarnava, one of the constituents of this formulation, is effective in the treatment of hepatitis and jaundice.
    • This formulation can be used to manage liver disorders, fever, spleen disorders and anaemia.

As treatments vary based on numerous factors and an individual’s prakriti (constitution), consult a qualified Ayurvedic doctor for the appropriate medications and treatments for your specific complaints.

Do’s

  • Include foods like anjira (figs), khichadi prepared from old shali (shali rice), papaya, potatoes, amalaki, paravala (pointed gourd), haridra, barley, arahara (pigeon pea), green gram, sugarcane juice, mango, cow's milk, apple, grapes, draksha (dried grapes), wheat, pomegranates, buttermilk and adraka (ginger) in your regular meals
  • Take sufficient rest
  • Boil and cool the water before drinking it

Don’ts

  • Do not eat pungent or fried foods like chillies. Also avoid, matara (peas), mustard oil, tambula (betel leaves), sesame, excess oil and clarified butter, and udada (black gram)
  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Do not drink excess water
  • Do not suppress natural urges like thirst, hunger, and the urge to evacuate the bladder and bowel.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Do not sleep during the day
  • Avoid overexertion

A clinical study involving 200 participants with acute hepatitis B indicated the effectiveness of an Ayurvedic formulation consisting of katuki, kalamegha, bhumiamalaki (stonebreaker), guduchi, punarnava, bhringraj (bhangra), and daruharidra in improving liver function. These participants were diagnosed using symptomatic as well as biochemical criteria like liver function tests. Of the participants who were treated using this Ayurvedic formulation, 90% experienced symptomatic relief with no side effects. It was concluded that the herbs used in this formulation are effective in the management of hepatitis B.

Ayurvedic herbs and medicines are being used for the treatment of various diseases since thousands of years. Although these remedies are considered to be safe for use, side effects may occur depending on individual condition and physiology. For :e.g.,

  • Vamana is contraindicated in children, elderly individuals and in individuals with cardiovascular diseases
  • Virechana is not advisable in children, elderly and weak individuals and pregnant women
  • Basti is contraindicated in individuals with anal inflammation, intestinal obstruction and perforation, anaemia and cholera
  • Raktamokshana is not recommended in individuals with piles, anaemia and bleeding disorders
  • Kumari should not be used during pregnancy
  • Daruharidra should be used with caution in individuals with excess vata.

Hepatitis can occur due to improper lifestyle, dietary habits and also due to parenteral contact with infected blood. Ayurvedic treatments clear the impure blood, toxins and aggravated doshas from the body, which are the major causes of most disease conditions. These herbs and medicines also help in restoring strength and reducing inflammation. When taken along with appropriate modifications in diet and lifestyle, ayurvedic remedies effectively treat the underlying causative factors of liver diseases thus relieving symptoms and preventing relapse.

Dr. Gurpreet Virmani

Dr. Gurpreet Virmani

Ayurveda
1 Years of Experience

Dr. Sunil Kilaniya

Dr. Sunil Kilaniya

Ayurveda
3 Years of Experience

Dr. Tanushri Yeole

Dr. Tanushri Yeole

Ayurveda

Dr. Verender Singh Chaudhary

Dr. Verender Singh Chaudhary

Ayurveda
3 Years of Experience

References

  1. Institute of Panchakarma & Research. Hepatitis. Hyderabad, India [Internet].
  2. Rajiv Gandhi Government Post Graduate Ayurvedic College. Kayachikitsa. Paprola, Himachal Pradesh. [Internet].
  3. Nambuhewagw Dhammika Namal Jayawardhane, Sri Kanth Tiwari. Ayurvedic Herbo-Mineral Approach in Management of Hepatitis (Kamala). International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research & Allied Sciences, Volume 2, issue 2 (2013),24-31.
  4. Girendra Singh Tomar. A Review Of Ayurvedic Hepatology And Inferences From A Pilot Study On Kalmegh ( Andrographis Paniculata) Intervention In Hepatic Disorders Of Variable Etiology. Annals of Ayurvedic Medicine Vol-1 Issue-1 & 2 Jan-Jun 2012.
  5. Oushadhi. Asavams and Arishtams. Govt of Kerala. [Internet]
  6. Nishant Singh. Panchakarma: Cleaning and Rejuvenation Therapy for Curing the Diseases . Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Vol. 1 No. 2 2012.
  7. Sharma, Archarya Privat. Dravyaguna Vignya. Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan (2018).
  8. Santosh Pal, A Ramamurthy, Bidhan Mahajon. Arogyavardhini Vati: A theoritical analysis. Journal of Scientific and Innovative Research 2016; 5(6): 225-227.
  9. The Indian Medical Practitioners' Co- operative Pharmacy and stores Ltd. Vaidya Yoga Ratnavali . Adyar, Madras-20.
  10. Prof. G.S. Lavekar. Classical Ayurvedic Prescriptions for Common Diseases. Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha. Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  11. Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India. Ayurvedic Standard Treatment Guidelines. [Internet]
  12. Girendra Singh Tomar. Evaluation of a herbal compound (GH-89) in the patients of acute hepatitis B - A clinical study. Alternative & Integrative Medicine, 2013, 2:10.

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