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Anyone ever try Chinese herb therapy?
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Anyone ever try Chinese herb therapy?

Just listening to all the terrible sides of conventional treatment for HCV I am thinking about alternative therapy and treatments for my HCV, maybe Chinese herb therapy. Has anyone here ever tried any, what did you try, in what doses and how did it work for you?

thanks in advance for all your thoughts on this topic.
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Avatar_f_tn
herbs will do nothing to the virus. some herbs might aid inflammation, but the virus remains. If you want a cure, herb is not the route, or we will all be doing that instead of tx. the side effects are real, but if you have a good medical team, they will intervene to make sure tx is manageable. If you have mild liver damage, and no extrahepatic symptoms, there is no rush to tx.
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Avatar_f_tn
There is alot of people here that do take supplements and are currently monitoring the virus.  What geno type are you and have you had a biopsy to know extent of liver damage?
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Avatar_n_tn
Maypo, has that swelling gone down in your stomach and did you go into Emerg. or contact your doctor about it? I would forget about the chinese herbs for now, they won't cure what ails you.

Honey, yeah no drama around here. With the 6 trips into O.R. and undergoing anesthetic each time plus the encephalopathy my husband had, his memory is even worse than mine. It's a miracle we remember ANYTHING! But hell, you gotta laugh, right? Nice hearing from you, for some reason the Honey I see posting has had me thinking it's someone other than you. See? Brain dead!

Cuteus, I live out in the country and NEVER take the keys out of my vehicle. If I had to think of them everyday, I'd never be able to leave the house! LOL It would be great if I had a P.O. box, loose the keys and never see all the bills that keep rolling in. That would suit me fine!!!!!

Be happy ladies
Mattie
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Avatar_n_tn
Chinese herbs don't work-period.
There are tests on the net,and other stuff you can Google.
The Chinese don't want traditional medicine-they want drugs from the west.
I did try the wretched herbs for a couple of weeks,dispensed by a top guru.
On the third visit I looked in his eyes,and I knew he was a con man,and he knew that I knew.
I am currently at the end of interferon course-it aint that bad!
It's not nice, but its not as bad as untreated patients think.
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Avatar_n_tn
Unfortunately  the responses you see here are posted by people who have little or no experience with Traditional Chinese Medicine.   My best suggestion would be to do a bit of solid research first.  You could start with a book by a reputable acupuncturist and herbalist who has treated patients with Hepatitis C for at least fifteen years.  She describes the protocol she developed in  _The Hepatitis C Help Book:  A Groundbreaking Treatment Program Combining Western and Eastern Medicine for Maximum Wellness and Healing_  .  It's written by Misha Cohen, O.M.D., L.Ac, with an introduction by Robert Gish, M.D., who is one of the top hepatologists  in the U.S.   This should give you a good idea of what to expect and what to demand from a clinician.  I myself was a patient of Dr. Cohen for well over a decade, and treated for a second time with Pegasys and ribavirin with her full support and encouragement.  The two approaches complement each other well.   It is true that herbs and acupuncture will not eradicate the virus per se, but they can effectively counter the damaging effects of inflammation and enhance the immune response to chronic viral infection.  Herbal therapy is especially appropriate for those who are chronically fatigued from their hepatitis, or otherwise symptomatic.  In my own case it improved quality of life immeasurably.    Over a period of years it was obvious that with herbal therapy my liver enzymes remained only mildly elevated, just outside of normal range, but without herbal therapy they doubled and tripled.   It is quite probable that I would have incurred much more liver damage durintg this period of time had I not been on an herbal protocol, and Dr. Gish always encouraged me to maintain this regime.  But this was before the advent of improved Western therapies, and I have a feeling that either of these practitioners would recommend conventional treatment to anyone with anything more than mild liver damage at stage 1.   A decision about how to treat should always be based on the findings of a biopsy.  A couple more thoughts:  your TCM practitioner should be well acquainted with Western medicine, as are most practitioners who studied and received their licenses in the U.S.     And if you do decide to address your hepatitis issues with TCM, you need to give it a full 3 months, not a mere two weeks.  Three months is considered the minimum amount of time in which you should see a biological response.    Hope this helps.
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86075_tn?1238118691
a beautifully articulated post...as per usual...was wondering when you would chime in, makes anything I would add superflous, to say the least...but I'll add one thing for anyone interested...I have proven to myself that alternative protocols count a lot in my being able to feel better with this disease, (which for me is a lot) though of course I don't expect it to eradicate the virus...for that you need to bring in the "big guns"... those guns are coming down the road for me, if I could just get myself out of this bunker...
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Avatar_n_tn
Yeah, well, I keep thinking every post is my last,  that I will never take another acupuncture needle in the ear ever again, but then I wake up and smell the moxa.....
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Avatar_f_tn
as it has already been mentioned, supplementation might or not assist with any symptoms you might be having, but do nothing for the virus erradication, but just in case you are also looking at the colloidal silver and thymus gland sites and getting ready to ask on those, don't waste your time on them. No, they have not been proven to work on the erradication of HCV.
It seems a natural progression after a member asks about herbs, to ask about the silver and the thymus.
Keep in mind that as much as you hear people speak about the side effects, you have not heard any of them saying they can't take it anymore and are quitting asap. That should alert you to the fact that it is manageable.
good luck in your choices.
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85135_tn?1227293372


Maypo
Please let  us  know how you are from your bx sx. Very concerend.

Nygirl
How is your Dad?
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Avatar_f_tn
We had a member here who believed with her whole heart that herb therapy was going to work and she would not need conventional treatment.

In just a few months her liver enzymes had TRIPLED from them.  She stopped that and began interferon/riba.

Herbs or vitamins won't do anything to KILL the virus.  

The ONLY thing that does is interferon right now.

The new drugs may pan out but it won't be for years IF they do. While I am certainly praying for them to work...I am not betting my health on it.

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Avatar_f_tn
Maypo posted the results of her visit to the ER in the earlier thread below. There was no internal bleeding, TG
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Avatar_m_tn
How ya doin? Tried the ginger tea for nausea and it worked like a charm. Also priced the water distiller and I'm gonna get 1 next payday. Congrats again on the rvr.

Dyce
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116701_tn?1210262764
I'm going with Rev on this one this one. Sometime the herbs can do more harm to the body than good. If you're going to trust a doctor - trust him. If you are going medicine man or vodoo witch doctor then go that route. Watch out for the bloody chicken though but then again if you put some herbs on it it might be tasty. It's just personal opinion about **** at Walmart that will save the world. Anything easy has no value. Confusion say (spelled correctly) Dale
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86075_tn?1238118691
I guess I should of been more comprehensive in my post...sometimes I figure I'm just too long winded and try to cut them a lot shorter...If anyone here can tell me of an RX med that works for ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY, please let me know what it is...If anyone here can tell me of an RX med that is completely harmless, ditto...

In fact given the fact that RX meds have probably killed and injured "millions" of people worldwide, the track record for chinese herbs and supplemention is realy very, very good in comparison, it's hard to find any people who have died due to the herbs and other supplementation...

To me we are talking apples and oranges here...there are people out there, I know some of them, who are non-responders and multiple relapsers of the conventional treatment...and they are helping their "symptoms" with herbs and supplementation...their needs have to be met as well as our own...and helping the symptoms of this nasty disease isn't anything to throw a stick at...

I would also look into these alternatives if I was completely perfect in my labs, had few symptoms, and had biopsied out at a 1 or 0....that is "me" of course...like Califia said, many people are and were able to help inflammation issues which can only be a good thing if you are "watching and waiting."

Of course, many believe that everyone should use conventional treatment, no matter what, and there are people who believe that even if you cannot take conventional treatment, that you shouldn't take alternatives, these two issues are what I disagree with...and of course you have to know what you are doing, I wouldn't take collodial silver or whatever...

That being said, you should go to a good practitioner and nutritionist before you attempt these things...to me, a lot of people who have had bad results, took over the counter on their own...or simply took too much or too little for their own systems....what makes this tricky is that you have to see what dosage and what regimen agrees with your own particular system...

Would you use the same logic on conventional treatment? that because it didn't work on you, that no one else should take it? that it's a crock? Conventional treatment doesn't work on a whole lot of people...my point is, yes, these alternatives don't work on SOME people, BUT ONE CASE OR MANY CASES...YOUR CASE FOR EXAMPLE...DOES NOT MAKE A UNIVERSAL TRUTH....

Herbs and vitamins DO work for me in terms of helping me with my own symptoms and apparently inflammation...I had been taking them for years and biopsied out at a 1 with good labs...I got a toothache and I took a lot of aspirin for it and had a bad reaction...so my doc told me not to take any of the herbs and vitamin regimen I had been taking for years...I complied...for 3 and half months I felt lousy, just awful...in that time I took some labs and for the first time ever, my alts went to 86 (they had been in the low 40's, which is still a bit high, but never higher than that) so I figured, what was I doing differently? not taking my regimen!...went back on it and within almost a week I felt much better, not 100% but much, much better...

And a few months later I took my labs and the alts went back down to the low 40's, where they are now, and I have never felt as bad as I felt in that few months when I stopped taking my regimen....

Now all this doesn;t mean I'm not going to take conventional treatment, but I'm sure glad that I did while I was watching and waiting...and I recommend them for people who can't take conventional treatment, it's worth a try (under the right cirumstances of course, with experts) and if they don't ultimately work for you and nothing happens, quit taking them! pretty simple....

I just don't want people to negate my own experience, and Califa's, and many others...if people want to think it's placebo effect...go right ahead, it can be placebo, or Monster Mash, all I know is my alts went back down and I feel better, I'll take it!...

For all other people who don't fall under these parameters...by all means....take the conventional treatment, you could save your life...

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Avatar_f_tn
The only thing I think about all of this honestly is that you said

n fact given the fact that RX meds have probably killed and injured "millions" of people worldwide, the track record for chinese herbs and supplemention is realy very, very good in comparison,

But what I wonder is if they don't work to kill the virus or stop the replicating why even bother to take them - EXCEPT for overall health reasons of feeling better since just about everybody I've heard has had their alt/ast raised by a good bunch?  Wouldn't that be a sign of increased liver disease progression and damage?

I am trying so HARD not to have this sound snooty - it seems sometimes when you are asking a serious QUESTION that it comes our sarcastic.  I sure hope that this is NOT sounding that way to you!

I just can't see the reason therefore for spending the money and time on them really.  It seems you are one of the lucky ones regarding them - but the overall I've heard is worse than the odds of sx from treatment.

I worry endlessly about my liver enzyme levels...and don't want to take anything that might raise them up again.
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86075_tn?1238118691
don't worry Girl, you always at least try to give a measured response, without just "reacting" on a gut level...and I feel you are very well intentioned, caring member here....

I think youre talking about a few people here...and yeah, when youre talking about a group of people (and this is, comparitively speaking, a small group, at least in terms of people who continually come on at this point in time) there have been a few who seemed to get bad reactions in that chinese herbs raised their enzyme levels...(remember, this doesn't happen to everybody) now even in this relatively small group of people..it's still questionable as to what really raised "all" their levels, some even state as much...if you go to some other boards you will see a great many more people disposed to taking alternatives, along with the conventional, and you will see many more people like me and Califia and a few others here, that have gotten a great benefit out of them ...it's all relative after all...and one person having a bad reaction can give a "big" impression, especially if youre not disposed to them anyway...

But you hit on something, as to "why" people take them in the first place...I think what is operating here for "some" people who take them - that I can see...is that some people take these alternatives expecting to "clear" the virus based on a lot of hype...then when they don't clear, they over-react to the whole alternative question, and throw the baby out with the bathwater and say everything that is not conventional treatment is a crock...

I didn't go into these regimens with those expectations, I just wanted to feel better while I decided when and if I was going to treat...I biopsied at a 1 with pretty good labs after having it 30 years...so I thought to myself - once I studied the conventional treatment...hey, if I can stay at a 1, and have a really good quality of life, why not watch and wait for the better treatments? Let's face it, these meds are nothing to play with, and unless you figure you really need to take them based on many considerations, why not watch and wait if you are someone like me? I got a 50/50 chance of clearing with my geno, and possibly get long term side effects, even if they aren't forever, many people go through a year of treatment, and a year or so of after effects...maybe two years of this stuff...not everyone of course but many...

So once I started to get symptoms, I figured I'd have do treatment anyway, but I had some things to do beforehand, extensive dental work, work related issues and plain exploration and foot dragging, ha ha!...now in this interim between me waiting and doing the treatment...why wouldn't I do herbs and vitamins if I know them to help me with symptoms? I had inadvertently proved this to myself...I'm not going to willingly suffer these symptoms if I "know" this regimen will help me feel better...anyway, I think I answered your question as least for me...

as for other people who already have tried treatment multiple times and treatment didn't work for them...of course it would make sense for them to take the regimens as well, to relieve symptoms and possibly inflammation as they HAVE to wait for something better...

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Avatar_n_tn
Honestly?   Well, if I'd been dx'd yesterday, with the current odds of achieving SVR (they were around 10% when I started out and I did conventional treatment _anyway_)  I'm not sure I would have ended up exploring alternatives.    But I felt compelled to as my first interferon treatment really left me a mess, and besides there was still the Hep C to manage.  I entered the game with a lot of liver damage and was fairly frantic about not skidding into cirrhosis.   As it is, I'm very glad I ended up walking the TCM path.

It really is apples and oranges we're talking about when we compare chemical medicine to TCM.  That's why I've suggested that people who are interested start a little reading, especially with the above mentioned book as an introduction.   By focusing on Hep C as a case study you get introduced to the similarities and differences between the two approaches, while also getting exposed to the descriptive languages used in TCM.   The premises underlying Eastern and Western medicines are radically different.   From a TCM perspective, chemotherapies are an avenue of last resort, because the whole idea is to avoid extremes--extremes in behavior, and extremes in treatment.   The emphasis is less on swallowing medicine and more on moving stuck energies.  Chi Gong is the third arm of TCM, herbal medicine and acupuncture being the first two.  A good practitioner is likely to assign you breathing exercises or encourage you to take Chi Gong or the more dancerly Tai Chi, which developed from it.   The emphasis is on taking active responsibility for your own condition.

One thing that does not get talked about much is acupuncture as a type of energetic rebalancing.  It's a lot easier to undergo life stress when you're doing regular acupuncture, meditating and exercising frequently.   It's about encouraging the free circulation of energies, as well as learning to be still.   I am certain that  that years of acupuncture have made me a much calmer and evenly balanced person.   Living with liver disease is not exactly the most grounding experience, and hyper-emotionality seems to be a common thread amongst people with liver inflammation.  In that department,  acupuncture and herbs have helped me immeasurably.   And naturally I'm returning to their use as I begin the process of healing the imbalances of tx.

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86075_tn?1238118691

think we beat this horsie to death, but forgot to answer one question you had, IMHO...


"But what I wonder is if they don't work to kill the virus or stop the replicating why even bother to take them - EXCEPT for overall health reasons of feeling better since just about everybody I've heard has had their alt/ast raised by a good bunch? Wouldn't that be a sign of increased liver disease progression and damage?"


Something that temporarily raises your liver enzymes is doing just that, temporarily raising your liver enzymes...that can go for a exercise regimen that is bit too hard on your system, a medication, a food allergy, any number of things...once you cease the offending agent, the enzymes will go back down to where they were on a more consistent basis...(and these do tend to fluctuate)

it takes a long time for an "agent" like this to deliver any real, long term damage, you'd have to be on herbs for a long time and consistently have very raised values, which doesn't seem likely if a person is keeping tabs on this stuff...

and also, I don't quite agree with you that any sides from herbs would be as bad as the ones you get on tx, not by a long shot...it's just with the tx youre ultimate pay-off is better with tx because youre having a much bigger shot at actually clearing the virus...

Also, if an agent is helping to calm inflammation, you could make a case that this very same agent is helping to "retard" or slow down progression...

Conversely, if a person has a horrible lifestyle, eating horribly, drinking and drugging, etc. you could make a case for them speeding up progression...the people I know who continued like this didn't do very well with this disease, though of course there are people who live exemplary lifestyles who also don't do well with this disease...I just think this isn't as common an occurence...
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Avatar_f_tn
Excellent post.  You are SO RIGHT - you never hear anybody saying "I can't take it! It's too horrible!!!!"

While they are not FUN...you have to remember Maypo in here we like to complain because these people are the ONLY one's that truly can relate.  While the sides can be bad - you will find they are tolerable and treatment while nothing you'd look forward to doing is really DOABLE.

Some people do not have any big problems with sides at ALL.

You will never know how your own body will react until you try it.  If it did get that bad...you could always stop. But like most of us...it's just doable and we continue on knowing that killing this virus is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our families.
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Avatar_f_tn
maypo; one good summarizing article on herb basics is at
http://www.hcvadvocate.org/news/newsLetter/2004/advocate0604.html#3


As for some of the other comments, on the enzymes tests, I never took any liver enzymes tests while taking any of the supplements I have taken like milk thistle and Sam-e, and that is probably the case with thousands of people, so the impact of the supplementation might not be monitored as it has been in folks that have seen improvement or abnormalities. I guess we really don't know how many people experience one or the other, in order to make a general statement in either direction.

as for making a correlation bt herbs and a good liver biopsy result, some folks like me, could make the statement that they never took herbs on a regular basis and have stage one and normal enzymes and make a case for not needing herbs to achieve that condition. So, I don't see the correlation as a valid one to present, since most people with hep c, will have mild damage
with no supplementation, according to statistics.
these comments are made as an OBSERVATION, and not as opposing supplements.
as with hep c, conditions derived from the infection itself that might cause death is not documented as a hep c death, it is possible that fatal complications derived from an herb will not be documented as caused by the herb itself.  The wide use of medications by millions, might mean that those complications could always outnumber the herb industry's cases.

a good site to read
http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/11917.cfm
As with anything, research well before using the substance, and get monitored by a knowledgeable provider. Report adverse events to the FDA ( I can't find the number for reporting right now) and formulate realistic expectations for the substance (be it medications or supplements), they might not be miracle cures but they can aid in other areas
http://www.emaxhealth.com/19/4346.html
make sure symptoms don't get masked and needed tx is not delayed because of unrealistic hopes.
if it helps and it does not injure or kill you, why not?

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86075_tn?1238118691
I think you are one of the people here who at least tries to weigh all the issues and think about it objectively...I basically agree with all you have to say..(big deal, ha ha) I just think there might be more of a "cause and effect" to taking herbs, medications of any kind....no matter what disease somebody has...if they take something and they drop dead right after, you could probably make a good case for the fact that some agent they have just taken probably had "something" to do with it...as little as I know about forensic medicine...when a person is taking many agents, it get's a little trickier, but they still do a toxology analysis to better pinpoint what it is, but I digress...hope you are having a good week...
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Avatar_m_tn
California investigators in a random sampling of 260 different imported Chinese herbs found 30% were either mislabled as to true ingredients, contained traces of lead, aresenic , and mercury, and spiked with drugs not listed. I think the THIRTY PERCENT should be stressed.


Ever wonder why China ranks DEAD LAST in industrialized nations for their treatment of HCV ? And they have more HBV per capita than most countries in the world.And why are the masses in Chinese cities imploring their gov't for more Western medicine?

Western medicines have not killed "millions". That's ridiculous.
But there is no doubt that oriental herbs account for 4% of all admissions to Taiwanese hospitals.

FORTY PERCENT of prescription drugs in America are botanical-based. We are not, nor have ever been, afraid to use botanically-derived medicines in the West. However, in the West we isolate the useful compound(s), get rid of the harmful ones, refine it, and test it.

Anyone who wants to play Russian roulette with their liver takes Chinese herbs. And it does not matter who prescribes them. No one tests the herbs they sell. There is no regulation whatsoever.

You pays your money, you takes your chances.
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