for Veterans and the Public
Complementary and Integrative Therapies - Hepatitis C for Patients
Many people use complementary and integrative therapies and activities in addition to traditional medical care. With most complementary therapies, your health is looked at from a holistic (or “whole picture”) point of view. Think of your body as working as one big system. From a holistic viewpoint, everything you do, from what you eat to how stressed you are, affects your health and well-being.
VA offers complementary and integrative therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, and meditation. You can learn more about these therapies from the Whole Health program.
Do they work?
Many people who use complementary treatments report positive results, that they feel better or that their side effects get better. We don't know if those changes are due to the complementary therapies or not until better research has been done.
Avoid any alternate therapy that promises to cure hepatitis C. There are several medications that can cure hepatitis C. Learn the facts about these medications.
If you are interested in learning whether a complementary treatment is safe enough and worth trying, discuss it directly with your provider.
Cautions to keep in mind:
- There is no complementary treatment that has yet been proven safe and effective for treating or curing hepatitis C. Be careful of treatments that claim to be “miracle cures” —ones that claim to cure hepatitis C.
- There are no herbal treatments which have been proven to reduce the hepatitis C viral load.
- Just because something is “natural” (an herb, for example) doesn't mean that it is safe to take. Sometimes these products can hurt your liver instead of help it, or they might interfere with the medicines you are taking for hepatitis C.
- Certain herbs, supplements, and “mega” vitamins can be very dangerous for people with hepatitis C. Your liver plays an important role in breaking down these substances after you take them into your body. If your liver is sick, many herbs, supplements, and megavitamins can hurt it even more.
- Complementary therapies are not substitutes for the treatment and medications you receive from your VA provider. You shouldn't stop taking your hepatitis C drugs just because you've started a complementary therapy.
- VA Whole Health for Life
Information about whole health and complementary care at VA.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
The National Institutes of Health's lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine.
- About Aromatherapy from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
Provides basic information on aromatherapy, essential oils, and safety precautions.
DrugDigest offers a library of common herbs and supplements including their uses, cautions, and side effects. It is provided by Express Scripts, Inc. (ESI), an independent pharmacy benefit manager.
Provides up-to-date, accurate, and easily accessed information on the diagnosis, cause, frequency, patterns, and management of liver injury attributable to prescription and nonprescription medications, herbals and dietary supplements.
- Stress Management from Mind Tools
A guide to stress management, with information on yoga, visualization, meditation, and more.