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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 837939, 19 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/837939
Review Article

Herbal Products: Benefits, Limits, and Applications in Chronic Liver Disease

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Interuniversity Research Centre on Food, Nutrition and the Gastrointestinal Tract (CIRANAD), 2nd University of Naples, 80131 Naples, Italy

Received 2 May 2012; Accepted 30 July 2012

Academic Editor: William C. S. Cho

Copyright © 2012 Anna Del Prete et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Complementary and alternative medicine soughts and encompasses a wide range of approaches; its use begun in ancient China at the time of Xia dynasty and in India during the Vedic period, but thanks to its long-lasting curative effect, easy availability, natural way of healing, and poor side-effects it is gaining importance throughout the world in clinical practice. We conducted a review describing the effects and the limits of using herbal products in chronic liver disease, focusing our attention on those most known, such as quercetin or curcumin. We tried to describe their pharmacokinetics, biological properties, and their beneficial effects (as antioxidant role) in metabolic, alcoholic, and viral hepatitis (considering that oxidative stress is the common pathway of chronic liver diseases of different etiology). The main limit of applicability of CAM comes from the lacking of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials giving a real proof of efficacy of those products, so that anecdotal success and personal experience are frequently the driving force for acceptance of CAM in the population.