Liver Support with TCM
This information is
for educational purposes only.
Materials regarding herbs have not been evaluated by the
U.S. Food & Drug Administration and are not in any way a
replacement or substitute for professional medical diagnosis and
treatment. Persons with specific medical illnesses are advised
to seek professional care.
Liver cells synthesize
GGT and serum GGT mainly originates from the liver. Under the
stimulation of inflammation, bile retention, or cancer, the synthesis of
GGT in liver cells will increase. Clinically, its significance is
similar to that of ALP, but even more sensitive. GGT elevation could be
seen in about 90% of chronic liver and gall bladder disease patients. It
is especially obvious in bile retention and cancer patients. In early
stages of acute hepatitis, mild chronic hepatitis, and inactive
cirrhosis, GGT is usually not elevated. At the peak stage of the acute
hepatitis, pre-cirrhotic chronic hepatitis, fatty liver, kidney damage,
pancreatitis, diabetes, and heart muscle injuries, GGT it may increase
to one to two times above the normal range.
In following conditions,
GGT could elevate to two to four times above the normal range: chronic
moderate to severe hepatitis, active cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis and
fatty liver, acute pancreatitis, acute blood stasis in the liver,
localized liver cancer damage, acute cardio infarction, and incomplete
stenosis of bile ducts.
In following conditions,
it could elevate to five to ten times or higher than the normal range:
intra liver bile retention, biliary cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
Although GGT is
sensitive, it is not as specific as ALP. Thus, testing with ALP together
offers a more complete assessment. When GGT is elevated and ALP is
normal, it may be a toxin related. Toxins include alcohol and a number
of medications including anti-seizure medications, Coumadin. If both GGT
and ALP are elevated, extra-hepatic bile duct stenosis may be the
GGT elevation should also
be evaluated together with ALT. If there is slight elevation of both,
liver damage is probably light. The severity of the GGT elevation is
directly correlated to liver damage.
When GGT is elevated in
cases of acute hepatitis or moderate liver disorders, besides using
“heat clearing and toxin dissolving” and “heat clearing and dampness
eliminating” anti-inflammation herbal treatments, some “blood activating
and stasis expelling” herbs should be added:
Dan Shen (Salviae Miltiorrhziae Radix), Qing Pi (Citri Immaturi
Chen Pi (Citri Pericarpium), Ze Lan (Lycopi herba)
Yin Xin Ye (Ginkgo biloba herba).
If there is obvious bile duct stenosis, then following “Li dan tong
chang” (normalizing the secretion and discharge of bile) and “Po xue qu
yu” (removing blood stasis) herbs should be used:
San Leng (Sparganii Rhizoma)
E Zhu (Zedoariae Rhizoma)
Bie Jia (Amydae Flos)
Da Huang (Rhei Rhizoma)
Dan Shen (Salviae Miltiorrhziae Radix)
Ji Xue Teng (Mucunae Caulis)
Shui Zhi (Hirudo nipponica, Leech).
These herbs should be used together with “heat clearing and toxin
dissolving” and “heat and jaundice clearing” herbs.
In summery, GGT elevation
is an indication of blood stasis in TCM. Whenever there is elevation of
GGT, “blood activation and stasis expelling” herbs should be used in the
formulation of the herbal remedies.
[Liu YL et al., Premary Discusion on the Use of Chinese Medicine
According to Blood Tests, CJITWM, Jan 2003, 23(1):54-55]