Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.


DC Health

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Living with Hepatitis: How to Stay Healthy

If you don’t have access to treatment right now, if you’ve gone through the treatment and weren’t able to clear the virus or if you’re infected with another virus such as HIV that can be harmful to the liver, there are several things you can do to help keep your liver healthier.

Get your Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations:
You’ve got one viral infection your liver has to deal with. Prevent other viral infections that are known to harm the liver and are vaccine preventable.

Eliminate Harmful Chemicals From Your Body:
A. ALL alcohol, in any amount, is harmful to your liver. Eliminate all alcohols from your diet.
B. ALL illicit drugs are harmful to your liver. Studies have shown that the use of marijuana can cause   the liver to progress to scarring sooner. It doesn’t make any difference on how the drug is used (injecting, smoking, eating, inhaling), they are all harmful to your liver. Eliminate all illegal drug use. Talk with your provider or a counselor to identify ways to help you stop the use of any illegal drugs.
C. Decrease polluted air that you breathe, such as:
    1) Second-hand cigarette smoke
    2) Car exhaust
    3) Agricultural pesticides
    4) Smog

Get a Prescription Review:
Have your doctor or pharmacist review all your prescribed medications to ensure that none of your medications are toxic for your liver. Ask your provider about alternatives to any medications that may harm your liver.

Use Over The Counter Medications Properly:
Always follow the directions on the package, unless told otherwise by your medical provider.

Be Careful With Vitamins, Herbs and Mineral Use:
A. Some of the “Fat Soluble” vitamins can build up in your system and be toxic to your liver. Check with your provider before taking more than the daily recommendations.
B. Before taking any herbal supplement, research it and make sure that it doesn’t have the potential to damage to your liver, such as Kava, Valerian Root and Sassafras. Check with your doctor before adding any herbal supplements to your diet.
C. The liver has to store all the excess iron that you take in during a day. It’s important not to eat more iron in a 24 hour day than what your body actually uses. Extra iron stored in the liver can cause your liver to begin scarring sooner. Talk with a dietician or your doctor to find out how much iron you should eat in a day.

Modify Your Diet:
A. Decrease the amount of fatty foods and cholesterol that you eat. Extra fat stored in the liver can cause a liver to begin scarring sooner.
B. Increase the amount of actual water that you drink during a 24 hour day. Water helps flush the chemicals and poisons out of your body. To find out how much water you should drink in a 24 hour period: take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2. This equals how many ounces of water you should drink each day.

Light Daily Exercise:
Light daily exercise such as walking will help boost your immune system as well as help decrease excess fat stored in your liver. Talk to your provider about what the best form of exercise would be for you.

Symptoms That Need to be Reported to Your Provider:
A. “White” or “Gray” colored stools
B. “Coca-Cola” colored urine
C.  Increased amount of time before a cut or wound stops bleeding
D.  The white part of your eyes turning yellow.

Courtesy: Hepatitis Prevention Program, Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services.

Hepatic Damaging Herbs

Name Also Known As Adverse Reaction
American Cranesbill Alum Bloom, Alum Root, American Kino, Chocolate Flower, Crowfoot, Dove’s-Foot, Geranium Robertianum, Herb Robert, Old Maid’s Nightcap, Shameface, Spotted Cranesbill, Stinking Cranesbill, Storksbill, Wild Cranesbill, Wild Geranium Hepatotoxicity with high tannin concentrations
Andrographis Chuan Xin Lian, Creat, Green Chiretta, Indian Echinacea, Kalmegh, Kirata, Kiryat, Lanhelian, Vijianxi Increased liver enzymes, decreased after discontinuation
Androstenedione 4-Androstene-3, 17-Dione Elevated liver function test results with supplementation of some anabolic steroids
Arnica Arnica Flowers, Arnica Root, Common Arnica, Leopard’s Bane, Mexican Arnica, Mountain Arnica, Mountain Daisy, Mountain Tobacco, Sneezewort, Wolf’s Bane Hepatic Failure
Bayberry Candleberry, Myrica, Southern Wax Myrtle, Spicebush, Sweet Oak, Tallow Schrub, Vegetable Tallow, Waxberry, Wax Myrtle Plant Hepatic damage, may relate to tannin content
Betony Bishopswort, Wood Betony Hepatic Dysfunction
Bilberry Bilberries, Bog Bilberries, European Blueberries, Huckleberry, Whortleberry Hepatic Dysfunction caused by tannin content
Bistort Adderwort, Common Bistort, Easter Ledges, Easter Mangiant, Knotweed, Oderwort, Osterick, Patience Dock, Snakeroot, Snakeweed, Twice Writhen Hepatic Dysfunction
Blue Flag Dagger Flower, Dragon Flower, Flag Lily, Fleur-De-Lis, Flower-De-Luce, Liver Lily, Poison Flag, Snake Lily, Water Flag, Wild Iris Hepatotoxicity caused by tannin concentrations
Boneset Agueweed, Crosswort, Eupatorium, Feverwort, Indian, Sage, Sweating Plant, Thoroughwort, Vegetable Antimony Hepatotoxicity
Borage Beebread, Boraginis Flos, Boraginis Herba, Boretsch, Common Borage, Common Bugloss, Cool Tankard, Ox’Tongue, Starflower Hepatic Dysfunction
Buchu Agathosma, Barosma Betulina, Betuline, Bocco, Diosma Betulina Hepatotoxicity from volatile oil constituent (pulegone)
Buckthorn Common Buckthorn, European Buckthorn, Hartshorn, Purging Buckthorn, Waythorn Hepatotoxicity caused by tannin concentrations
Butterbur European Pestroot, Sweet Coltsfoot, Western Coltsfoot Hepatotoxicity
Capsicum Bell Pepper, Capsaicin, Cayenne, Chili Pepper, Goat’s Pepper, Hot Pepper, Paprika, Pimiento, Pod Pepper, Red Pepper, Tabasco Pepper, Zanzibar Pepper Hepatic dysfunction, when used orally on a regular basis
Celandine Celandine Poppy, Common Celandine, Felonwort, Garden Celandine, Greater Celandine, Rock Poppy, Swallow Wort, Tetterwort, Wart Wort Acute Cholestatic Hepatitis,
Elevated liver function test results
Chaparral Creosote Bush, Greasewood, Hediondilla Hepatotoxicity (Cholestatic Hepatitis)
Chromium Chromium Picolinate, Chromium Tripicolinate, CR Hepatic Failure (1,000 mcg/day; Ceruli et al., 1998)
Cola Tree Kola Nut, Kolanut Hepatotoxicity caused by high tannin concentrations
Colostrum Bovine Colostrum, Bovine Immunoglobulin Concentrate (BIC), Hyperimmune Bovine Concentrate (HBC), Immunized Bovine Colostrum (HBC) Elevated liver enzyme levels
Colt’s Foot Ass’s Foot, Bullsfoot, Coughwort, Farfara, Fieldhove, Filuis Ante Patrem, Foalswort, Hallfoot, Horsehoof, Kuandong Hua, Pas Diane Potential Hepatic Veno-Occlusive disease caused by pyrrolizidine content
Comfrey Ass Ear, Black Root, Blackwort, Boneset, Bruisewort, Consolida, Consoud Root, Gum Plant, Healing Herb, Knitback, Knitbone, Salsify, Slippery Root, Wallwort, Yalluc Hepatotoxicity, specifically Veno-Occlusive disease from pyrrolizidine alkaloids
Condurango Condor-Vine Bark, Condurango Bark, Condurango Blanco, Eagle Vine, Gonolobus Condurango Triana, Marsedenia Condurango Hepatic Dysfunction
Corydalis None Listed Acute Hepatitis
Cowslip American Cowslip, Artetyke, Arthritica, Buckles, Crewel, Drelip, Fairy Caps, Herb Peterpaigle, Keyflower, Key of Heaven, May Blob, Mayflower, Our Lady’s Keys, Paigle, Palsywort, Password, Peagles, Petty Mulleins, Plumrocks Hepatotoxicity possibly caused by tannin concentrations
Damiana Damiana Herb, Damiana Leaf, Herba De La Pastora, Mexican Damiana, Miziboc, Old Woman’s Broom, Rosemary Hepatic dysfunction (large amounts) caused by tannin content
Fo-Ti Chinese Cornbind, Elixir of Life, Fleeceflower, He Shou Wu, Kashuu (Japanese), Shou Wu Chih Acute Hepatitis (Cholestatic Hepatitis)
Gossypol American Upland Cotton, Common Cotton, Cotton, Upland Cotton, Wild Cotton Hepatotoxicity
Gum Arabic Acacia, Acacia Arabica Gum, Acacia Gum, Acacia Senegal, Acacia Ver, Egyptian Thorn, Gummae Mimosae, Senega Hepatotoxicity with I.V. use
Horse Chesnut Aescin, Chesnut, Escine Hepatotoxicity
Iceland Moss Cetraria, Consumption Moss, Iceland Lichen, Lichen Islandicus Hepatotoxicity
Kava Ava, Awa, Kava-Kava, Kawa, Kew, Sakau, Tonga, Yagona Significant liver damage, including Hepatitis, Cirrhosis, and Liver Failure
Khat Cat, Chat, Gad, Kat, Miraa, Qat, Tschut Hepatotoxicity
Lady’s Mantle Alchemilla, Bear’s Foot, Dewcup, Leontopodium, Lion’s Foot, Nine Hooks, Stellaria Hepatic dysfunction, related to tannin component
Locust Bean Carob, Carob Bean Gum, Carob Tree, St. John’s Bread Liver damage, associate with plants high in tannin content
Mayapple Devil’s-Apple, Hog Apple, Indian Apple, Mandrake, May Apple, Umbrella Plant, Wild Lemon Hepatotoxicity
Mistletoe All-Heal, Birdlime, Devil’s Fuge, European Mistletoe, Golden Bough, Viscum Hepatitis
Oaks British Oak, Brown Oak, Common Oak, Cortex Quercus, Escorce De Chene, Eichenlothe, Eicherinde, Encina, English Oak, Gravelier, Nutgall, Oak Apples, Oak Bark, Oak Galls, Pedunculate Oak, Stone Oak, Tanner’s Bark Hepatic Necrosis with more than 1 g of tannins. Hepatotoxicity with tannic acid enemas & prolonged skin application
Parsley Common Parsley, Garden Parsley Hepatotoxicity associated with apiole and myristicin components
Pennyroyal American Pennyroyal, European Pennyroyal, Mosquito Plant, Squawmint Hepatic Failure
Pomegranate Granatum, Punica Granatum Hepatotoxicity related to high tannin component
Poplar American Aspen, Black Poplar, Quaking Aspen, White Poplar Hepatotoxicity related to high tannin
Ragwort Cankerwort, Cocashweed, Coughweed, Dog Standard, False Valerian, Golden Ragwort,
Golden senecio, Lfroot, Ragweed, St. James Wort, Staggerwort, Stammerwort,
Stinking nanny Squaw Weed, Squawroot
Rhatany Krameria Root, Mapato, Peruvian Rhatany, Pumachchu, Raiz Para Los Dientes, Ratanshiaqutrezel, Red Rhatany, Rhatania Acute Hepatotoxicity with tannic acid
Shark Cartilage Squalus Acanthias, Sphyrna Lewini Hepatitis
Scullcap Helmet Flower, Hoodwort, Skullcap Hepatotoxicity
Soapwort Bouncing Bet, Bruisewort, Crow Soap, Fuller’s Herb, Latherwort, Soap Root, Sweet Betty, Wild Sweet William Hepatotoxicity
Sorrel Belgian-Red Sorrel, Cuckoo’s Meate, Cuckoo Sorrow, Dock, Garden Sorrel, Greensauce, Green Sorrel, Sheep Sorrel, Sour Dock, Sourgrass, Sour Sauce, Soursuds Hepatic Dysfunction caused by soluble oxalate salts
Spirulina Blue-Green Algae, Dihe, Tecuitlatl Increased serum Alkaline Phosphatase level
Squaw Vine Checkerberry, Deerberry, Mitchella Repens, Mitchella Undulata, One-Berry, Partridge Berry, Running Box, Squawberry, Twin Berry,
Two-Eyec Berry, Two-Eyed Checkerberry, Winter Clover
Hepatotoxicity (Rare)
Tonka Bean Cumaku, Tonka Seed, Tonquin Bean, Torquin Bean Hepatic Necrosis
Tormentil Root Biscuits, Bloodroot, Earthbank, English Sarsaparilla, Ewe Daisy, Five-Fingers, Flesh and Blood, Septfoil, Seven Leaves, Shepherd’s Knapperty, Shepherd’s Knot, Thormantle Hepatic Necrosis
Valerian All-Heal, Amantilla, Baldrianwurzel, Great Wild Valerian, Herba Benedicta, Katzenwurzel, Phu Germanicum, Phu Parvum,Pinnis Dentatis, Setewale Capon’s tail, Setwall, Theriacaria,Valeriana, Valeriana Folis Pinnatis, Valeriana Radix  Hepatic Necrosis
Walnut English Walnut, European Walnut, Juglone, Jupiter’s Nuts, Persian Walnut, Walnut Hull, Walnut Leaf Hepatotoxicity caused by tannin component
Willow Black Willow, White Willow Hepatic Dysfunction

Courtesy: Hepatitis Prevention Program, Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services.

All information compiled from The Professional’s Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines, 3rd Edition,@ 2004, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, G.W. Fetrow Pharm D & Juan R. Avila Pharm D.

Contact Phone: 
(202) 671-4900
Contact TTY: