Hepatitis (Viral)


Hepatitis refers to swelling of the liver. Though there are numerous causes for hepatitis, the most important to consider in the case of acute hepatitis is viral hepatitis. There are numerous virus' that can cause this condition, mainly Hepatitis A virus, Hepatitis B virus, and Hepatitis C virus. All are unrelated but cause a similar set of symptoms. 


Viral hepatitis can be cause by a number of different virus' including:

  • Hepatitis A virus (HAV)
  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
  • Hepatitis D virus (HDV)
  • Epstein Barr virus (EBV)
  • Herpes simplex 6 virus (HSV-6)
  • Coxsackie virus
  • Human parvovirus (HPV)
  • Cytomegalovirus

Special Considerations:

  1. Depending on the type of virus causing the condition, treatment will be different. All of these viruses except the hepatitis A virus are enveloped. Therefore herbal treatments including St John's wort will be of value for the enveloped, but less towards the non-enveloped strains of virus. These are important considerations to make in the treatment of this condition. Not all viral hepatitis is the same.
  2. Hepatits A can be effectively treated with herbal medicine, however, hepatitis B, and C, can generally only be maintained with herbal medicine. They will eventually lead to chronic hepatitis. 
  3. Higher doses will be required for acute stages of hepatitis than chronic. 

Therapeutic Aims:

1. Reduce Fever If Present With Diaphoretics

Diaphoretics are indicated in all cases of fever with acute hepatitis. Often combined with a diffuse stimulant like Zingiber officinalis.

  • Diaphoretics

2. Reduce Viral Numbers

Consider whether the invading virus is enveloped or not.

  • Antivirals

3. Improve Immune Function

Improves the bodies ability to manage viral load.

  • Immune Enhancers

4. Improve Liver Function

This helps to minimise liver damage.

  • Hepatotrophorestoratives

5. For Chronic Hepatitis Use Smaller Doses For Longer

Also include antioxidant treatments and cytoprotectives to offer further protection to the hepatocytes.

  • Antioxidants

Herbs For Viral Hepatitis:

  • Antivirals
    • Phyllanthus
    • thuja
    • hypericum
  • Diaphoretics (in the case of fever)
    • yarrow
    • tilia
    • sambucus
  • diffuse stimulants
    • ginger
  • Immune enhancers
    • echinacea
    • andropgraphis
  • Hepatoprotectives
    • silybum
    • bupleurum
    • taraxicum
    • cynara
    • andrographis

Viral Hepatitis Sample Formula:

Dietary Considerations:


Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: May 2017

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