Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver caused by viruses, bacterial infections, or continuous exposure to alcohol, drugs, or toxic chemicals. Hepatitis reduces the liver’s ability to perform life-preserving functions, including filtering harmful infectious agents from the blood, storing blood sugar and converting it to usable energy forms, and producing many proteins necessary for life.
Viral hepatitis mainly has 5 forms A, B, C, D and E. Each of these viruses is contagious but each of them is passed on by different means.
- Hepatitis-A virus lives in fecal matter and is spread by means of contaminated food and water.
- Hepatitis-B virus lives in the blood and spreads like other STDs.
- The Hepatitis C virus mainly spreads via intravenous drug users.
- The hepatitis-D virus is a parasite of the Hepatitis-B virus.
- The hepatitis-E virus has a similar mode of transmission as the Hepatitis-A virus.
Ayurvedic Description Of Hepatitis
Ayurveda believes that when Pitta becomes aggravated, it can result in hepatitis, which is known as Kaamala in Ayurveda. Ayurveda describes two basic types of Kaamala.
- Shakhasrita is caused by the minimal aggravation of Pitta and Kapha, and is easily curable.
- Kumbhakaamala results from very high pitta and is difficult to cure. It can become incurable if not attended to immediately.
Panaki and Haleemaka are two other types of hepatitis that are explained in Ayurvedic texts. Panaki is a later stage of Kaamala. Haleemaka is an advanced stage of anemia that occurs when both the Vata and Pitta are out of balance.
Signs & Symptoms
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Tenderness and jaundice
Causes and Risk Factors
Hepatitis is most commonly spread by infections in various ways. It can be spread by infected blood; an example could be the health care workers who get exposed to infected blood, illicit injected drug abuse, and body piercing by tattoo in unclean and unsterile equipment.
Infants born to a woman with a hepatitis infection are likely to get it from the infected mother.
3) Multiple sex partners
Unprotected sex with multiple sex partners or with someone who is infected cause the infection.
Many chemical agents, including medications, industrial toxins, and dietary supplements, can cause hepatitis. Many types of drugs can cause liver injury, including the analgesic paracetamol, antibiotics such as isoniazid, amoxicillin- clavulanate, erythromycin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, anticonvulsants such as valproate and phenytoin, cholesterol-lowering statins, steroids such as oral contraceptives and anabolic steroids and highly active antiretroviral therapy used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Hepatitis can also result from an autoimmune disorder, in which the body mistakenly sends disease-fighting cells to attack its own healthy tissue, in this case it is the liver.
Self Care Tips
- Avoid fatty foods entirely, and limit daily protein intake, take the advise of the physicians for the dietary intake.
- Avoid bakery products and grains. The fungus byproduct aflatoxin amplifies the carcinogenic potential of hepatitis infection and these products have to be stopped.
- Avoid alcohol in all forms, including that found in drugs and flavorings.
- “Prevention is better than cure”- Get yourself vaccinated against Viral Hepatitis in advance.
- Infected people should take extra care in maintaining proper food and sleep timings to avoid overloading on liver functions until they get back well.
- Have safe sex and use protection during intercourse, avoid multiple sex partners.
- Hygiene and safe environment are very necessary to minimize the risk of infection.
Ayurveda offers a total holistic approach to support and treatment of people with hepatitis. The diet and lifestyle changes offer much in the way of balancing and enabling the immune system to fight off the virus. Additionally, AAS Ayurveda emphasizes disease prevention as well as achieving a goal of total health. The historical information provided in the ancient texts about Ayurvedic herbs and treatments describe how to protect, detoxify and improve the health of those with diseases of the liver.