AyurvedaLiver Disease

Picrorhiza kurroa to treat acute viral hepatitis

I was reading another blog that listed Picrorhiza kurroa (Pk; Kutaki) Royle ex Benth as an effective treatment for ascites. I can’t find a study in people to support it for ascites, but here’s a study where this Ayurvedic medicine was used to treat acute viral hepatitis.

First, the details.

  • Pk root powder (375 mg) or placebo was administered to patients with acute viral hepatitis.
  • 3 capsules of placebo or Pk were given 3 times a day for 2 weeks.
  • Treatment was randomly assigned, and neither the patients nor the researchers knew which was used.

And, the results.

  • The groups were comparable in age, sex, weight, severity and duration of disease.
  • The time required for the total serum bilirubin (the cause of skin discoloration in jaundice) to drop to the average value of 2.5 mg/dL was 76 days with placebo and 27 days for the Pk group.
  • Pk induced marked and early relief of anorexia, nausea, and malaise.
  • No side effects were observed at this dose of Pk.

The bottom line?
The Merck Manual says, “Most cases of acute viral hepatitis resolve spontaneously and require no specific treatment.”

The researchers concluded, “The present study has shown a biological plausability of efficacy.” Perhaps so, but the study was published more than a decade ago, and there have been no follow-up studies since.

6/10/07 17:09 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.