for Veterans and the Public
Herbal medicines - Hepatitis C for Patients
Herbal medicines are substances that come from plants. They can be taken from all parts of a plant, including the roots, leaves, berries, and flowers. The small amounts of herbs used in cooking do not pose a threat. It's the larger amounts sold as medicines that can be risky.
One of the main problems with herbal medicines is that, unlike medications dispensed from licensed pharmacies in the United States, the amount of medication in a pill or other quantity of the medicine is not regulated. So one preparation can vary in potency by five-, ten-, one hundred-, or one thousand-fold, and the person taking the medicine doesn't know what that factor is. Steroids and other medicines, which can have powerful effects, can be added to herbal preparations. Again, a person doesn't know this when they take the herbal product. This is why Western medical doctors tell their patients to be careful with herbal medicines.
People with hepatitis C sometimes take these medicines to help deal with side effects and symptoms.
Here is a summary of the research on some of the more popular herbs used for hepatitis C, as reported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health.