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The liver is one of the important organs of body in as much as it regulates the digestion, metabolism and many other physiological functions of the body. Damage of this organ may, therefore, lead to chronic gastritis, morning sickness and constipation. Apart from loss of appetite, the patient loses weight because of defective metabolism. He may suffer from diarrhoea and flatulence. There may be a little pain in the right upper portion of the abdomen where the liver is located. Slowly, the size of the liver increases and because of the pressure on diaphragm (the muscular wall which separates the lungs and heart from the organs in the abdomen), the patient suffers from difficulty in breathing and coughing, he may suffer from nausea and vomiting. The liver tissue becomes fibrosed and it shrinks in size. Because of this shrinkage the veinous circulation gets obstructed, and there is accumulation of water in the abdomen.

Ayurvedic Treatment For Cirrhosis of the liver: Cirrhosis of liver generally occurs because of faulty diet and excessive intake of alcohol. The liver helps in the neutralisation of the toxic effects of some drugs and beverages like tea and coffee which contain caffeine, and tobacco which contains nicotine. If these toxins are consumed habitually in excess, the liver becomes unable to cope with the demand for neutralising their effects. This results in the cirrhosis of this organ. It is, therefore, desirable in the first instance, to ask the patient to give up these harmful beverages and drinks.

Bhringaraja is the drug of choice for the treatment of this condition. One teaspoonful of the juice of this plant is to be given to a child patient below 8 years of age, three times a day. The taste of the juice of bhringaraja is slightly bitter and astringent. Therefore, it is always prescribed to be given to the child with half teaspoonful of honey. This juice will act better if administered on an empty stomach.

Katuki is the drug prescribed by physicians especially when cirrhosis occurs in adults. This herb grows at high altitudes in the Himalayas. The rhizome or the root of this plant is used in the medicine. It is bitter in taste. The powder of this drug in a dose of one teaspoonful is given to an adult patient three times a day mixed with honey in good quantity. If there is constipation then the dose of this powder may be increased to two teaspoonfuls three times a day and it should be given with a cup of warm water each time. This is a cholagoeue and acts as a purgative by stimulating the liver to produce more bile. The excretion of this bile in large quantity relieves the congestion in the liver and the tissues which have gone defunct start reviving. A compound preparation called Arogyavardhini, contains katuki.

In addition, this compound preparation contains copper in the form of a bhasma. Copper in Ayurveda is considered to be a potent drug to revive the activity of different tissue cells. It is a toxic drug but by a special method of processing, the toxicity of the drug is neutralised and it is easily absorbed into the human system. Arogyavardhini is available in the form of a tablet of 0.25 gm. each. Depending upon the seriousness of the disease, two to four tablets of this drug are given to the patient three times a day followed by a cup of warm water each time.

Diet to taken by Cirrhosis of the liver patients: The patient should not be given any food which is difficult to digest. Oil, ghee and such other fats are to be avoided. Vegetables which are bitter in taste like patola, bitter gourd and bitter variety of drumstick should be given to the patient. Buffalo milk which contains a high percentage of fat is contra-indicated. Goat's milk and cow's milk can be given in small quantity. Camel's milk is considered very useful in this disease especially when, as a complication, there is accumulation of water in the abdomen, which is commonly called 'ascites'. Curd should not be given to the patient but butterĀ¬milk prepared by churning the curd (prepared of cow's milk) is exceedingly useful. This should be given to the patient after removing all the fat. Garlic is useful. If there is accumulation of water in the abdomen, the patient should be given salt-free diet. He should be advised to miss a few meals and observe fasting which helps in promoting the function of liver.

Other regimens: The Cirrhosis of the liver patient should be prohibited from sleeping during daytime and riding a fast moving vehicle on an uneven surface. He should not be exposed to violent jerks and should not resort to any strenuous physical exercise. He should be given rest as far as possible and only walking is permitted.