Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

No alternative medicine treatments have been found to cure alcoholic hepatitis. Some herbs and supplements are touted as treatments for liver diseases. Herbs and supplements can't replace your doctor's treatments or abstaining from alcohol. If you'd like to try supplements, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits first.

Milk thistle

The leaves and seeds of the milk thistle plant are thought to control inflammation in the liver. Milk thistle supplements are a popular alternative treatment among people with liver disease. But studies haven't found a benefit for people with alcoholic liver disease who take milk thistle supplements.

Milk thistle is generally safe, but can cause diarrhea and nausea. Talk to your doctor about milk thistle if you're considering taking this supplement. Because milk thistle can interfere with prescription medications, ask your doctor whether it's safe for you


SAMe is a supplement that's thought to reduce liver inflammation and help the liver repair itself. Your body naturally makes SAMe. Some evidence suggests people with liver disease have a deficiency of SAMe. In theory, taking a SAMe supplement might restore levels of the substance in the liver. But there is insufficient evidence to recommend use of SAMe for alcohol-related liver disease.

SAMe is generally safe when taken as a supplement. Side effects may include gas, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Because SAMe can interfere with prescription medications, ask your doctor about whether SAMe is safe for you to take.

Nov. 03, 2012