Common Liver Disorders and Homeopathy
The liver is the largest organ of the body. It is functionally the most complex organ. It has multiple life-saving functions like metabolism - both anabolic and catabolic. It is responsible for detoxification and eliminates endogenous as well as exogenous (foreign) substances. It takes part in immune reactions, and in the synthesis of coagulation factors. It has exocrine and endocrine functions. As an endocrine organ, it secretes growth factors, angiotensinogen, angiotensin, thrombopoietin, etc. Its exocrine function involves bile production. The liver is a filter and stores different substances (e.g. glycogen, vitamins). It is the site of serum protein (e.g. albumin, prothrombin, fibrinogen) and enzyme synthesis. Metabolic processes (e.g. bilirubin, hormone, carbohydrate, and lipid turnover) and the removal of toxic products are important liver functions.
Viral or bacterial infections of liver or infestation with parasites have become common. Diseases of the blood or immune system may also interfere with hepatic metabolism and affect the liver. Many different types of medication (e.g. acetaminophen, tetracycline, oral contraceptives, chlorpromazine, isoniazid, halothane, and androgens) can produce an adverse liver reaction in certain people. Other hepatotoxins (e.g. alcohol, fungal toxins, and anabolic steroids) can cause specific damage to liver cells. Alcohol-induced hepatic injury is a common problem. Toxic hepatitis may be clinically silent or severe enough to lead to the rapid development of hepatic failure. An unhealthy diet may cause liver damage. As a result of these, the liver may exhibit symptoms such as jaundice, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, dark urine, generalised itching, fever, weight loss, anorexia and depression. Examination findings may include hepatomegaly, abdominal tenderness and liver enzyme abnormalities. The fatty degeneration of the liver is the most common abnormality observed in chronic alcoholics. In patients with underlying cirrhosis, manifestations of portal hypertension may predominate.
Jaundice: It is yellowish pigmentation of the skin and mucous membrane, due to increased levels of bilirubin in the blood (hyperbilirubinaemia). It may be due to abnormalities in the formation, transport, metabolism or excretion of bilirubin. It has non-hepatic as well as hepatic causes.
Hepatitis (due to Hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D & E): Homoeopathy has a wide scope in viral infections, especially in hepatitis.
Alcoholic hepatitis: It is becoming common these days. After heavy drinking, symptoms worsen and tend to vary with the severity and progression of the disease. Sometimes symptoms do not present themselves until the disease is relatively advanced. Common symptoms include abdominal pain and tenderness, ascites, confusion, dry mouth / excessive thirst, fatigue, fever, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, weight gain due to ascites, etc.
Autoimmune hepatitis: It is inflammation of liver due to immune cells that mistake the liver’s normal cells as harmful invaders. A person with autoimmune hepatitis has autoantibodies circulating in the bloodstream that cause the immune system to attack the liver. The cause is predominantly genetic. However, certain bacteria, viruses, toxins and drugs can trigger an autoimmune response in people who are genetically susceptible to develop an autoimmune disorder.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Fatty liver, also known as fatty liver disease (FLD), is a reversible condition where large vacuoles of triglyceride fat accumulate in liver cells via the process of steatosis (i.e. abnormal retention of lipids within a cell). Some measures like losing weight, regular exercise, improving the diet with fibrous food, avoiding alcohol and fatty substances, controlling cholesterol levels and diabetes are helpful.
Cholelithiasis: It is a medical term for gallstone. Aversion to fatty food, abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting after meals may be symptoms of cholelithiasis.
Bile duct obstruction: It is due to various causes like cysts of the common bile duct, enlarged lymph nodes in the porta hepatis, gallstones, inflammation of the bile ducts, narrowing of the bile ducts from scarring, injury from gallbladder surgery, tumours of the bile ducts or pancreas, tumours that have spread to the biliary system, etc.
Cirrhosis: Though it is an irreversible pathology of liver, symptoms are well managed and quality of life can be improved with homeopathy remedies.
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based on the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using a holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the signs and symptoms from which the patient is suffering from. The aim of homeopathy is not only to manage liver disorders, but to address its underlying causes and individual susceptibilities. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to heal fatty liver symptoms that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and therapy, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic physician in person.
There are following remedies which are helpful in the management of common liver disorders: Ars Alb, Bryonia, Cardus mar, Chelidonium, Lycopodium, Nux vomica, Sulphur, Phosphorus, etc.
Self-medication is not advisable.