Objectives Liver disease, especially the chronic diseases, is a serious health problem worldwide. Natural medicines have been used for thousands of years to treat liver problems. Patients with liver problems sometimes try natural medicines, especially medicinal herbs, and some natural agents. This study aims to discuss several aspects of natural medicines for treating liver problems.
Methods Electronic databases including Web of Science and PubMed were searched for in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies on the effects of natural medicines on liver problems.
Results Nearly half of the natural medicines used in treatment of liver diseasestoday are natural products and their derivatives. Sho-saiko-to is effective on hepatitis, liver fibrosis, and HCC. But long-term consumption of this herb drug may lead to interstitial pneumonia and even acute respiratory failure. Silybum marianum is a hepatoprotective agent and long-term use of this herb was considered to be safe. Some other natural medication, such as long pepper, holy basil, coffee, apple, and citrus, for example, have hepatoprotective effect, but more in-depth studies are required to confirm the dosages of each agent to avoid side effects when using them to treat liver problems.
Conclusions Naturopathy is becoming more popular worldwide and provides benefits to many patients with liver diseases such as hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. The integration of conventional and naturopathic medicine will produce a practice style that provides excellent medical care for the liver.
Acknowledgements This research was financially supported by Sichuan University (Grant No. 2016SCU11033).