What is Cirrhosis of Liver?
The liver is one of the largest internal and most metabolic organ in human body. It performs over 500 different functions including fighting off infection, it detoxifies the body from all harmful and unwanted toxins from the body. When the liver cells are under too much burden of clearing debris and carrying out complex reactions to clear the free radicals that prevent damage. If the liver cells are not able to fight with too much supply of toxins, its give up. The cell called hepatocytes will tear out and swell, become inflamed and filled with fatty deposits. If the inflow of toxins is still there, then they give up completely and die and are covered by a fibrous scar. This stage is called Cirrhosis of the liver.
This is a final stage of liver failure when the liver is not performing optimally and most of the liver cells are shrunk and fibrosis has taken place. It is very difficult to revive the liver at this stage but still there are ayurvedic herbs and herbal remedies which can help to improve the function of remaining hepatocytes and regenerate new liver cells, thereby almost bringing the person to lead a normal life.
Major Causes of Liver Cirrhosis
- Chronic alcohol consumption - Consuming alcohol regularly leads to liver cirrhosis. This is the most important and common cause of liver cirrhosis. 30 % of the individuals who drink 8 to 14 ounces of alcohol (hard drinks) for about 10-12 years can develop liver cirrhosis. In the beginning, it is fatty liver but slowly the fat keeps on accumulating over the liver cells and hamper its functions, suffocates them and more alcohol keeps on harming them, which leads and results to death or scarring.
- Hepatitis A,B, C, D ,E , F ,G - Although hepatitis A has not been taken as major reason for cirrhosis of the liver but more deadly hepatitis types like B, C and G are considered devastating for the liver. The virus can remain dormant for years and can attack anytime leading to fulminant hepatic failure. Treatment of hepatitis is very important to prevent cirrhosis at later stage. Hepatitis is one of the leading causes of liver cirrhosis.
- Too many drugs consumed for other diseases - for example for gout, for arthritis, for skin, for allergies and so on - people keep on consuming various drugs which are metabolized in liver but ignoring the burden on liver, they keep on popping pills and putting pressure on liver, causing liver cirrhosis.
- Non alcoholic fatty liver disease - This disease can be caused by metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity. Obesity also puts a lot of burden on the liver and slowly causes cirrhosis.
- Cryptogenic Cirrhosis - It is one of the major reasons for liver transplant now a days. It is called cryptogenic cirrhosis as it is not explainable. The reasons are not known to current day medical science and that's why it is called cryptogenic. Usually it is due to long standing obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance.
- Primary biliary cirrhosis is a liver disease caused by disturbance of the immune system when the immune system starts attacking our own bile ducts in the liver. The bile ducts carry the bile From liver to the intestine. This bile helps in digestion and contains bilirubin. If this bile duct is blocked due to certain reasons, the process of liver destruction starts. Slowly as the liver cells are being destroyed, the whole liver becomes inflamed and a process of hepatic cells damage starts leading to accumulating of waste products in the liver and causing more damage.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis?
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Weakness and fatigue
- Accumulation of water in abdominal cavity called Ascites
- Bleeding in the esophagus due to backlog/ pooling of blood. Also called esophageal varices
- Redness of the palm.
- Duputryen's contracture.
- Clubbing of the fingers
- Enlargement of parotid and lachrymal gland
- Red spidery patches on the skin.
- Spider naevi - around naval
- Decreased body hair
- Gynaecomastia in men
- Hirsuitism, menstrual abnormalities in females
- Enlarged spleen.
What are the Normal Functions of Liver?
The liver performs hundreds of functions in the body. It regulates most chemicals in the body. It produces bile which is used to digest the food.
Bile also helps to carry way toxins From the liver. Liver works like an immigration officer as all the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through liver. Anything suspicious in the blood is filtered out by liver and broken down into less harmful or unharmful substance.
The liver processes this blood and breaks down the nutrients and drugs into forms that are easier to use for the rest of the body.
- Liver produces certain proteins for plasma to help in blood clotting.
- It produces cholesterol and smaller protein molecules which carry fats and other enzymes through the body.
- It keeps the excessive glucose stored in itself as glycogen. Whenever the need arises, it again converts the stored glycogen into glucose.
- It regulates the blood level of proteins, and amino acids.
- It also processes hemoglobin for use of its iron and stores iron in itself.
- It converts poisonous ammonia gas into less harmful substance called Urea. The urea is eliminated by the kidneys in the urine.
- Liver clears the drugs and also metabolizes them to lesser harmful substances.
- It regulates blood clotting mechanisms.
- Clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances.
- It removes many harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi From our blood.
Diagnosis of Liver Cirrhosis - How to Diagnose it?
There are clinical signs and symptoms mentioned above which tells about the problem in the liver but there are certain tests which are conducted to ascertain the liver cirrhosis. These are:-
- AST and ALT are aminotransferaces which are elevated in liver cirrhosis.
- Alkaline phosphatase is also slightly elevated in this condition.
- Gamma -glutamyltransferase - It is typically higher in liver failure due to alcohol.
- S.Bilirubin - is an indicator of jaundice and can be elevated
- Low platelets and white cells - due to congestion in the spleen and decreased production of thrombopoietin in liver, but low platelet count is not severe. Usually they are above 50,000.
- Albumin - the levels of this protein falls as the liver is the place where this protein is exclusively synthesized.
- Globulins - These are increased due to shunting of bacterial antigens away From liver to lymphatic tissues.
- Plasma clotting factor fibrinogen is synthesized in liver and if it is not working properly, the prothrombin time increases.
- Low Sodium Levels - Due to high levels of ADH and aldosterone causing water retention.
- Other tests for Hepatitis, ANA antibodies, Ferritin, Transferrin saturation ( Iron overload markers), Copper and ceruloplasmin ( markers of copper overload)
- Cholesterol, Glucose levels
- Alpha-1 -Anti-trypsin test
- IgG, IgM, IgA levels
Ayurvedic Treatment for Liver Cirrhosis
Modern medical treatment of cirrhosis is focused mainly on providing symptomatic relief and handling complications. There are no specific medicines which can care liver cirrhosis but there are only ayurvedic herbs which are very effective in treatment of liver cirrhosis naturally.
Ayurveda considers liver cirrhosis under the topic of complications of "Kaamla". The disease Kaamla is explained in ancient ayurvedic texts having same signs and symptoms as cirrhosis of liver and the treatment recommended for Kaamla works very well in cirrhosis. The kamala associated with ascites is called Kumbha kamala and with fever is called Halimak. If there is diarrhea along with cirrhosis it is called Paanki. All types of cirrhosis respond to the treatment mentioned in ayurveda.
Herbal Remedies for Liver Cirrhosis
Planet Ayurveda provides best combination of effective herbal remedies such as Liver Care Pack for ayurvedic treatment of liver cirrhosis. These herbal remedies are prepared from using best quality herbs and strictly follow the principles of Ayurveda.
- Indian Echinacea - 2 capsules twice daily after meals
- Yakrit Plihantak Churna - You can boil the powder 1 teaspoonful in 400 ml water, keep it boiling until it remains 50 ml. Strain it and drink the water. Leave the residue. Do it twice daily. Make fresh every time.
- Phyllanthus Niruri - 2 capsules twice daily after meals
- Liver Detox Capsules - 2 capsules twice daily after meals
1. Indian Echinacea
Echinacea has been used in Ayurveda for stimulating the immune system. This herb is very effective for the liver and lymph nodes. It also helps to fight against infections such as coughs, tonsillitis, skin inflammations and general infections. Echinacea comes in many different forms. Indian Echinacea are good for promoting the immune system. The parts of the plant i.e. flower, root and leaves all contain immune boosting properties.
2. Yakrit Plihantak Churna
Yakrit Plihantak Churna is an herbal mixture of specific herbs to improve liver function. It helps the liver in clearing away the toxins. It regenerates the liver cells and prevents liver failure. It is useful in liver cirrhosis, jaundice, liver damage due to alcohol, toxins and infection. The herbs increase the bile production and improve liver function. The combination of herbs is an excellent remedy for all liver problems. Yakrit Plihantak Churna is purely an herbal formulation and free from any chemicals.
3. Phyllanthus Niruri
Phyllanthus has been used safely in Ayurveda since ancient times. It is a liver cleanser which may reduce the effect of some modern medicines. Phyllanthus helps to cleanse the liver and also rejuvenates the liver with protection.
4. Liver Detox Formula
Liver Detox Formula combines some of the finest liver stimulating herbs available. The liver plays a key role in the body's natural self defense system. It converts and neutralizes toxins into safe by products. The liver is one of most important organs of the body. A liver failure affects every organ and tissue of the body. Liver has many functions in the body and the most important is the secretion of bile. A malfunctioning liver can have far reaching effects throughout the body. It leads to symptoms like poor digestion, fatigue, bloating and hormonal irregularities. The combination of various herbs in Liver Detox Formula can help to restore and stimulate liver function. It can be taken daily for continued liver support.
To buy Liver Care Pack, please visit store.planetayurveda.com/products/liver-care-pack
Some people are treated with a drug called a beta-blocker to lower the pressure in the blood vessels. The above mentioned herbal package helps to reduce the congestion in the liver cells and relieves portal hypertension also.
The package improves the blood flow through the liver there by relieving the pressure inside the blood vessels and relieves ascites. The herbs have a little diuretic action also but without causing any weakness, the herbs relieves the ascites symptoms. Still if the ascites is huge, then a stronger herbal diuretic "Punarnava Capsules" or Punarnava mandur tablets can be used along with the above mentioned pack in the dosage of 2 capsules/ tablets twice daily.
In severe cases of ascites the fluid retained in the abdominal cavity can be removed directly by inserting a needle into the abdomen by a health care professional. Take care that this procedure should be done in a proper hospital where everything is sterilized, otherwise there can be infection, which can lead to septic shock also which needs immediate treatment with intravenous anti-biotics.
If the symptoms are severe, and the liver is not able to process the accumulated ammounia gas then this condition arises. The patient becomes confused and disoriented. Usually lactulose drink is given to reduce toxins, and a low protein diet regimen is followed. This helps in a lot of patients but using the herbal remedies described above helps a lot. These can be used along with the lactulose drink and low protein diet regime.
Bleeding Disorders - Proper protein intake and using vitamin supplements helps but the bleeding comes on and off. Ayurvedic treatment of bleeding From the esophageal varices consists of consuming 10 ml ( 2 tablespoonfuls ) of Marigold flower juice… just pluck fresh marigold flower From the garden, make juice and give it to the patient. It helps to stop the bleeding. Simple garden grass can also be used if the marigold flowers are not available.
Itching - There are certain medicines given to control the itching due to cirrhosis but they help a little. Drinking coconut water is recommended. Small quantity is recommended if the fluid accumulation is too much.