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Primary Sclerosing
Cholangitis Trust
Dedicated to finding a cure for PSC
About PSC

the liver & treatment
URSO & Questran
related conditions
ulcerative colitis
low fat
clear liquids
crohn's disease
fibre restricted
anal fissure, abscess & fistula
rectal bleeding
related procedures
liver biopsy
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Herbs and Supplements

To protect the liver from damage, supplements such as choline and methionine (amino acid) are strongly suggested for use by patients with cirrhosis of the liver. The use of these two supplements can reverse the worst affects of cirrhosis particularly in conjunction with improved dietary regimen.

Milk thistle seeds is suggested as these help protect the cell membranes in liver cells and neutralize the toxic substances accumulated there; the milk thistle's contains silymarin-which is the compound responsible for eliminating toxins. Cellular repair in the liver cells and the renewal of cellular machinery are other beneficial functions of the milk thistle. Dosage of the herbal supplement should be about 3 cups of an herbal tea made from the milk thistle tea taken once every day, preferably half an hour before mealtime for optimal results. The herbal tea can be made using a tsp. of crushed milk thistle seeds mixed in a cup of boiling water-let the herb steep in the water for ten minutes before straining and drinking. If you prefer the milk thistle can be flavoured with peppermint by adding a few leaves of this herb while the tea is boiling.
NOTE: Advice from a registered herbalist. Please note since milkthistle stimulates the repair and regeneration of liver cells it may be using it for PSC may not be suitable since it is the repair and growth factors which worsen the degree of PSC – i.e. you could be compounding your condition by making it worse.

Horsetail, St John’s Wort, Lemon Balm, Yarrow, and Chicory
Another function of the body often affected adversely during cirrhosis is the circulatory system, to improve the circulation within the body, prepare a herbal combination using two tbsp. each of herbs such as the horsetail, the St. John's Wort, the lemon balm, the yarrow and the chicory. Prepare this herbal combination tea in this manner by using a single cup of boiling water to steep a tbsp. of the herbal mix for ten minutes, after ten minutes have passed strain the tea and sip a cup of this tea slowly two to three times every day, preferably half an hour before mealtime.

Dandelion, Nettle, Black Radish
The flow of bile is one of the first processes affected inside the body; bile flow is promoted by the dandelion which also stimulates the other functions of the liver. Dosage of this herb can be a single tbsp. of fresh dandelion juice, taken three times every day throughout the treatment regimen. Bile flow and the relaxation of the biliary ducts in the liver are also promoted by another herb-the black radish, which can also be used to achieve similar results. Dosage of this herb can be a tbsp. of fresh black radish juice taken thrice daily before mealtime. Toxins within the body are also eliminated through the use of the stinging nettle which purifies the liver and brings about the elimination of toxins. Dosage of this herb can be a tbsp. of the fresh juice taken thrice daily before mealtime.

The detoxification process within the liver is strengthened by drinking the juice of the red beet which also helps rebuild and strengthen the vital hepatic functions. Dosage of this herb can be a single tbsp. of the herb, three to four times everyday throughout the treatment period. Contains valuable natural betacyanes (give beetroot its violet-red colour). Betacyans strengthen the body’s own defenses, help maintain cell function and belong to the secondary plant substances. The red beet gets its name from the pigment betanene (beet red). Juice made from freshly harvested red beetroots.

Mode of Action
Beetroot is probably the single most important liver food. The red pigment (called anthocyanin) and beetroot enzymes (called peroxidases) help to re-energise tired cells - especially liver cells. The liver is the major organ of detoxification, working to filter and detoxify the debris and toxins which accumulate in the body. Beetroot juice also contains large quantities of betaine and choline (which assist fat metabolism), with silicic acids, trace minerals, potassium, magnesium and the B-vitamins, Vitamin B6, B12 and folate.
The liver has a two- phase detoxification procedure. During phase one the B-vitamins, red pigments and other flavonoids in beetroot begin the detoxification process. The beetroot amino acids Arginine and Betaine play an important role in phase two. During these two phases of detoxification, toxins and chemicals are identified, inactivated and removed from the body via the bowels or kidneys.

Heat Packs
The abdominal region of above the liver can be rubbed and a daily massage of the whole body will also help, a wheat/herbal heat pack can be used as a topical measure.

Usual dosages for liver cirrhosis
Vitamin A, 10,000 IU.
Vitamin B12 sublingual tablet, 1,000 mcg.
Vitamin B complex, 100 mg.
Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg thrice a day.
Vitamin E, 400-800 IU.
Multivitamin (take as directed).
Methionine, 1,000 mg.
Choline, 1,000 mg.

Autumn crocus contains alkaloids (including colchicine) and flavonoids. Colchicine is anti-inflammatory and is used in conventional medicine for acute attacks of gout. Because colchicine has been shown to stop cell division, scientists have researched its use as an anticancer agent, but it is currently regarded as too toxic for cancer treatment. Research is now being done on colchicine's effectiveness as a treatment for chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Reishi can help in fighting cancer. This is because the mushroom helps the body stimulate the production of interleukin-2, which also contains ganaoderic acids, which together would fight several types of cancer, and especially liver cancer. During a traditional cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) treatment, both red and white cell production are suppressed within our body, and reishi effectively counteracts this impact by simply stimulating the creation of protein in the bone marrow.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Found in fish oils, EPA and DHA are essential building blocks for the body's antiinflammatory prostaglandins (e.g., prostaglandin E1) and for turning off Cox-2 and the body's proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, and TNFa). In addition, omega-3 fatty acids block the activity of an enzyme that breaks down joint cartilage. Daily dosage: 3 or more grams.

Gamma-linolenic acid. Although GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid, it has antiinflammatory properties. Relatively little GLA is converted to arachidonic acid and prostaglandin E2. Instead, GLA increases production of the antiinflammatory prostaglandin E1. Robert B. Zurier, M.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, gave GLA supplements or placebos to 41 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Two-thirds of those receiving GLA had a 25 percent reduction in their arthritic symptoms. Daily dosage: 2-3 grams.

Vitamin E. Although Cox-2 and prostaglandin E2 levels rise with age, animal studies have shown that vitamin E supplements reverse the increase in Cox-2 and prostaglandin E2. Vitamin E also turns off nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) and activator protein-1 (AP-1), compounds that turn on inflammatory genes. One recent study found that arthritics taking supplements of natural vitamin E (600 mg twice daily) for 12 weeks had their pain reduced by about half. Daily dosage: 400-800 IU.

Vitamin C Long recognized for its antiinflammatory properties, the effects of vitamin C are enhanced by other nutrients. In a study of people exposed to simulated sunlight, researchers found that vitamin C and E worked synergistically to reduce skin inflammation. In a cell study, Italian researchers noted that quercetin and vitamin C worked together to protect cells from inflammation-induced damage. Daily dosage: 1,000-2,000 mg.

Polyphenols and Flavonoids Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, recently reported that the antioxidant polyphenols in green tea had antiinflammatory properties by inhibiting Cox-2 and TNFa. Genistein inhibits prostaglandin E2 and Cox-2, and quercetin inhibits the activity of inflammation-promoting "adhesion" molecules. It's likely that Pycnogenol, grape seed extract, and other flavonoids work through similar mechanisms. Daily dosage: 25-500 mg.

St. John's Wort Better known for its antidepressant effect, this herb also has antiinflammatory properties. In a laboratory experiment, researchers from the University of Frieburg, Germany found that hypericin, one of the constituents of St. John's wort, inhibited NF-kB, which activates proinflammatory genes. Daily dosage: Because product forms vary, follow label directions.

Cat's Claw Known as una de gato and Uncaria tomentosa, this Peruvian herb has a long history as a remedy for inflammatory arthritis. Recent cell-culture and animal experiments at the Albany Medical College, New York, found that cat's claw inhibited inflammation by blocking the activity of NF-kB. Daily dosage: Because products vary, follow label directions.

Rosemary This common kitchen herb is rich in ursolic acid and many of its derivatives. In laboratory experiments, Swedish researchers found that the ursolic acid extract of rosemary was a potent inhibitor of Cox-2 activity. Daily dosage: 100 mg.

Boswellia (standardized to contain 55% Boswellic Acid) (Boswellia serrata) (leaf): Boswellia, also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," comes from the tree Boswellia serrata, that grows in the dry hills of India. Boswellia also appears to reduce the inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, both painful intestinal disorders. It seems to accomplish this without the risk of further gut irritation associated with many conventional pain relievers. In a 1997 study of ulcerative colitis sufferers, 82% of those who took boswellia extract (350 mg three times daily) experienced a complete remission of their disease.

Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile): The dried flowers of this plant are commonly used for their sedative and spasmolytic properties. In addition, chamomile possesses anti-inflammatory activities. Matricaria contains several flavones (ie, polyphenolic pigments of some plants), namely, apigenin, luteolin, and matricine. When applied topically, the flavonoids were found to penetrate intact skin deeply to exert an anti-inflammatory effect. Evidence suggests that apigenin may generally inhibit cytokine-induced gene expression. Matricine does not have anti-inflammatory activity. However, chamazulene, a transformation product of matricine, was found to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Compared to a hydrocortisone 1% cream, the anti-inflammatory effect of a chamomile cream was weaker. The recommended dose of Matricaria recutita flowers is 3 g three times daily; Matricaria is available as an infusion, a fluid extract, and a tincture (1:5). Allergic hypersensitivity to this herb may occur in rare cases, and the herb can irritate the eyes if applied near them.

Salix alba (White Willow): The role of salicylates in inflammation and pain management is well documented in medicine. The bark of this plant contains salicin. Following oral administration of salicin, it was found in serum mainly in the form of salicylic acid. After an oral dose (240 mg) was given to healthy volunteers, the Tmax was less than two hours and Cmax was 1.2 mg/L, respectively. Salicylic acid is eliminated in urine as salicyluric acid.33 A daily dose equivalent to 60 to 120 mg of salicin is recommended by the German Commission E. Willow use can trigger an allergic response in individuals sensitive to willow or to aspirin.

Eat pineapple as it contains bromelain – an anti inflammatory - a protein-splitting enzyme that aids digestion. Pineapple has significant levels of vitamins A and C.