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Cirrhosis is a chronic and irreversible condition in which liver cells are progressively destroyed. As the cells undergo necrosis, the liver attempts to regenerate itself. The necrotic cells are replaced by new ones, but also by extensive connective tissue. Liver structure is altered so much that the flow of lymph and blood through this organ is much less efficient; the liver eventually stops functioning.

Cirrhosis affects twice as many males as females.

The primary treatment is to remove the underlying cause. This can involve eating a well balanced diet and abstinence from ethyl alcohol. Rest, frequent and small meals, and avoiding infection aid recovery.


There are many causes of cirrhosis but the most common is alcoholism. Other causes are:

Sudden and massive infection
Inborn errors in physical or chemical processes
Obstruction of liver bile ducts which may be due to stones, inborn errors, and tumors
Medications such as anticancer drugs and anesthetics
Heart disorders which obstruct the flow of blood

Signs & Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms of cirrhosis, some of which are:

Early Symptoms

AnorexiaWeight loss
Loss of sexual interestAbdominal ache

Late Symptoms

FeverInflamed tongue
Breathing difficultiesBleeding in esophagus or stomach
VomitingVomiting of blood
Hemorrhage of bleeding tendenciesEnlarged and firm liver
Enlarged spleenJaundice
Diminishing testesLoss of pubic and chest hairs
Irregularities of menstruationGynecomastia
Musty breathMuscle atrophy
Zinc deficiency Vitamin K deficiency
Peripheral neuritisAsterixis
Enlarged superficial abdominal veins"Spider veins" on skin of the upper body
Tingling sensation in the skin of the hands and feetRedness of the mound of the palm at the base of the thumb

Mental changes
Slurred speech

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Detoxification &

General Supplements

Choline 100 - 500 mg n/a
Inositol 100 - 500 mg n/a
Manganese 5 - 10 mg n/a
Selenium 50 - 300 mcg n/a
Vitamin B-6 25 - 100 mg n/a
Vitamin B-9 400 - 800 mcg n/a
Vitamin B-12 100 - 500 mcg n/a
Vitamin C1,000 - 3,000 mg n/a

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.


Lecithin (or its derivatives, like phosphatidylserine) are helpful, especially if the condition derives from alcohol abuse.

Antioxidant usage is heavily promoted, ranging from bioflavonoids like Quercetin and Rutin to superior antioxidants like Proanthocyanidins (Pycnogenol™).

One leading product, from the plant kingdom, is milk thistle (Silymarin).

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

Cirrhosis with encephalopathy must be managed with a Low Protein Diet. The encephalopathy indicates that the sick liver is unable to clear toxic amines from the system. Additional dietary protein would cause further liberation of these amines.

Advanced cases of cirrhosis with encephalopathy require that proteins be completely withheld from the diet.

Homeopathic Remedy

1.*Mercurius Vivus                30C
2. Hydrastis canadensis        30C
3. Hepar sulphuris calcareum        30C
4.*Mercurius dulcis                15C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches


Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)
Gotu kola
Milk thistle (silymarin)

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Dandelion Root is considered to be a specific antioxidant for the liver.

Ginseng is reputed to heal internal scarring.

Gotu kola has proven effective against alcohol-induced and idopathic cirrhosis but not chronic hepatitis. (Darnis, 1979)

Currently, a single herb, milk thistle (silymarin) is being used [70 - 210 mg t.i.d.], although it may form part of a combined therapy, including castor oil poultices and homeopathy. Silymarin can improve immune function in patients with cirrhosis. (Deak, 1990)

The German Commisssion E recommends Milk thistle fruit, exclusively, for cirrhosis of the liver.


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Darnis, F et al., Use of a titrated extract of Centella asiatica in chronic hepatic disorders. Semin. Hosp. Paris, 1979, 55:1,749-1,750.

Deak, G et al., Immunomodulator effect of silymarin therapy in chronic alcoholic liver disease. Orv. Hetil. 1990, 131:1,291-1,292, 1,295-1,296.

Ferenci, P. et al., Randomized controlled trial of silymarin treatment in patients with cirrhosis of the liver. J. Hepat. 1989, 9:105.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Garlic Essence,Ginger Essence.

Related Health Conditions

DiarrheaHeart disorders



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