Feature Article

Complementary and alternative therapies in liver and gut disorders

Feature Article

Complementary and alternative therapies in liver and gut disorders

Robert Batey, Alan Bensoussan, Lindsay Mollison, Stuart K Roberts

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Abstract

Evidence for the effectiveness of herbal remedies in particular gastrointestinal orders is only available for a few of these therapies.

Key Points

  • Toxicity and injury from herbal medications are well recorded.
  • Herbal medications used inappropriately (for example, excessive doses and mixing herbal compounds without taking advice) can damage multiple organ systems.
  • Anyone considering the use of a herbal remedy should be aware of the claims made for the product and its potential side effects.
  • Patients should be monitored regularly to ensure that the use of a product is associated with benefit and not with harm.
  • Alternative therapies tried by patients with chronic liver disease include dietary therapy and modification, homeopathic treatments and herbal medications, as well as exercise and meditation.
  • Preparations that have been studied in trials and found to be candidates for liver disease therapy are Silybum marianum (milk thistle), Chinese herbal medicine CH-100, TJ-9 (sho-saiko-to, xiao-chai-hu-tang, minor bupleurum formula), phyllanthus extract and stronger neo-minophagen.
  • Approval of a complementary medicine by the Therapeutic Goods Administration does not guarantee its efficacy in any particular disease state.