Cirrhosis of the liver is characterised by a significant loss of cells, so that the liver gradually contracts in size and becomes hard and leathery.

Causes and Symptoms

In the early stages of the disease, there may be nothing more than frequent attacks of indigestion, with occasional nausea and vomiting. There may also be some abdominal pain and loss of weight In the advanced stage, the patient develops a low grade fever. He has a foul breath, a jaundiced skin and distended veins in the abdomen. Reddish hairlike markings, resembling small spiders, may appear on the face, neck, arms, and trunk. The abdomen becomes bloated and swollen, the mind gets clouded, and there may be considerable bleeding from the stomach.

Excessive use of alcohol over a long period is the most potent cause of cirrhosis of the liver in adults. The disease can progress to the final stage of hepatic failure if the person does not abstain from alcohol. Poor nutrition can be another causative factor in the development of cirrhosis and a chronic alcoholic usually suffers from severe malnutrition. Cirrhosis may also result from a highly toxic condition of the system in general.

Remedies

Papaya Seeds: The black seeds of papaya have been found beneficial in the treatment of cirrhosis of the liver, caused by alcoholism and malnutrition. A tablespoon of juice obtained by

grinding the seeds, mixed with ten drops of fresh lime juice, should be given once or twice daily for about a month as a medicine for disease.

Failing EcliPta: The herb trailing eclipta, botanically known as Eclipta alba, has Proved invaluable in cirrhosis of the of the liver. The juices of all parts of this plant should be taken in doses of one teaspoon, mixed with one teaspoon of honey, three times daily.

Vegetable Juices: The juice of carrots, in combination with spinach juice, has been found beneficial in the treatment of cirrhosis of the liver. Spinach juice—200 ml, should be mixed with 300 ml of carrot juice to prepare 500 ml or half a litre of combined juices. Alternatively,300 ml of carrot juice, combined with 100 ml each of cucumber and beet juices can be used effectively.

Dietary Considerations

The patient must abstain from alcohol in any form. He should undergo an initial liver-cleaning programme by going on a juice fast for seven days. Freshly extracted juices from red beets, lemon, papaya, and grapes may be taken during this period. This may be followed by a fruit and milk diet for two to three weeks. In this regimen, the patient should have three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, pineapples, and peaches, and a litre of milk divided into three parts, each part to be taken with each fruit meal. The milk should be gradually increased by 250 ml daily and go up to two litres a day. It should be fresh and slightly warmed, if desired. It should be sipped very slowly.

After the fruit and milk diet, the patient should embark upon a well-balanced diet, consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits with emphasis on raw, organically-grown foods. Vegetables such as beets, squashes, bitter gourd, egg-plant, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, and papaya are especially useful in this condition.

All fats and oils should be excluded from the diet for several weeks. The patient should avoid all refined, processed, and canned foods; spices and condiments; strong tea and coffee; fried food all preparations cooked in ghee, oil, or butter; all meats; and chemical additives in food. The use of salt should be restricted.

Other Measures

The patient should be kept in bed. A warm-water enema  should be used daily to cleanse the bowels during the juice fast and thereafter, if necessary.

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