Liver Cirrhosis

What is liver cirrhosis?

Liver cirrhosis is a liver disease marked by the development of scar tissue and nodules, which eventually leads to loss of liver function. The liver is responsible for metabolizing various foods and production certain substances needed by the body. Cirrhosis is a serious disease that changes the structure of the liver so that it cannot function properly. One of the biggest problems with cirrhosis is that less blood flows through the liver, and the toxins that are normally eliminated can now poison the body. 

Common causes of liver cirrhosis include: 

Chronic alcohol abuse: This is one of the most common causes of cirrhosis, especially in Western countries. 

Chronic viral hepatitis (B, C, and D): Infections with these viruses can cause inflammation and damage to the liver over time. 

Fat accumulating in the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease): This can lead to inflammation and cirrhosis. 

Iron buildup in the body (hemochromatosis): An inherited disorder that causes the absorption of too much iron from food. The excess iron is stored in your organs, including the liver. 

Cystic fibrosis: An inherited digestive disorder that causes a buildup of thick mucus in the lungs and other organs, including the liver. 

Genetic digestive disorder (Alagille syndrome): This inherited disorder can affect the liver, heart, and other parts of the body. 

Liver disease caused by your body's immune system (autoimmune hepatitis): In this type of disease, your immune system targets liver cells, causing inflammation and liver damage. 

Destruction of the bile ducts (primary biliary cirrhosis): Liver inflammation and scarring can result. 

Hardening and scarring of the bile ducts (primary sclerosing cholangitis): This chronic disease causes irritation and damage to the bile ducts inside and outside the liver. 

Liver disease caused by your body's immune system (autoimmune hepatitis): In this type of disease, your immune system targets liver cells, causing inflammation and liver damage.symtoms.png

 Symptoms of liver cirrhosis can include: 

Easy bruising
Swelling in your legs, feet, or ankles (edema)
Weight loss
Itchy skin
Yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes (jaundice)
Loss of appetite
Tenderness or pain in the upper abdomen
Spiderlike blood vessels on your skin (spider angiomas)
Abdominal pain or discomfort
Confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)

Cirrhosis is generally irreversible, but if liver cirrhosis is diagnosed early and the cause is treated, further damage can be limited and rarely, reversed. Treatment aims to slow the progression of scar tissue in the liver and to prevent or treat the complications of cirrhosis. Ultimately, liver transplantation may be necessary if the liver damage is severe. natural-supports.png

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the treatment of liver cirrhosis focuses on restoring balance to the body's energy (Qi), nourishing the liver, and addressing the underlying causes and symptoms of the condition. TCM practitioners typically create individualized treatment plans based on a person's specific pattern of imbalance. Here are some Chinese herbs that are commonly used or considered for supporting liver health and addressing liver cirrhosis:

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum):

Known in TCM as "Shui Fei Ji," milk thistle is believed to protect and support the liver. It contains a compound called silymarin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis):

Schisandra, or "Wu Wei Zi," is used to tonify the liver and improve liver function. It is believed to have hepatoprotective effects and can help reduce inflammation.

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum):

Reishi, also known as "Lingzhi," is considered an adaptogen and immune system enhancer. It may have potential benefits for liver health and reducing inflammation.

Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale):

Dandelion root, or "Pu Gong Ying," is believed to support liver detoxification and promote healthy liver function.

Bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense):

Bupleurum, or "Chai Hu," is often used in TCM formulas to soothe liver Qi stagnation, which is a common pattern associated with liver cirrhosis.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra):

Licorice root, or "Gan Cao," may be used to harmonize the effects of other herbs and help reduce inflammation in the liver.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa):

Turmeric, or "Jiang Huang," is used to reduce inflammation and protect the liver. It contains curcumin, a compound with potent antioxidant properties.

Gentian (Gentiana lutea):

Gentian root, or "Long Dan Cao," is believed to have a bitter and cooling nature, making it useful for clearing heat and dampness in the liver.

Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis):

Chinese skullcap, or "Huang Qin," is used for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. It may help protect liver cells from damage.

It's crucial to note that TCM practitioners typically prescribe these herbs as part of a comprehensive herbal formula tailored to an individual's specific diagnosis and pattern of imbalance. Herbal treatment should be supervised by a qualified TCM practitioner who can assess your condition and monitor your progress.

Moreover, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider, particularly if you have liver cirrhosis, before using any herbal remedies to ensure they are safe and compatible with any conventional treatments you may be receiving. Liver cirrhosis is a serious medical condition that requires comprehensive medical care and monitoring.