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Wolfberries beneficial to your liver and hepatitis C (HCV)?

What is Wolfberry?

Wolfberry species are deciduous woody perennial plants. It is the common name for the fruit of two very closely related species: Lycium barbarum and L. chinense. There has been rapid growing attention to wolfberries for their high ranking nutrient value and antioxidant content, leading to a profusion of consumer products.

Is wolfberry beneficial to those with Hepatitis?

Though none of this research has been confirmed in clinical studies done here in the West, several published studies, mostly from China, have reported medicinal benefits of Lycium barbarum to the liver and the immume system. These studies can be found by their PMID # at the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=PubMed The following is a list of these published studies:

Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP) can effectively prevent Alcoholic Fatty Liver. This may be due to its effects in inhibiting the hepatocyte CYP2E1 expression and prevention of lipid peroxidation.
2007
PMID: 17407712

LBP significantly induced T cell proliferation. Our results suggest that activation of T lymphocytes by LBP may contribute to one of its immuno-enhancement functions
2008
PMID: 18755300

Lycium barbarum (Gouqizi, Fructus Lycii, Wolfberry) is well known for nourishing the liver, and in turn, improving the eyesight. Valuable components of L. barbarum are not limited to its colored components containing zeaxanthin and carotene, but include the polysaccharides and small molecules such as betaine, cerebroside, beta-sitosterol, p-coumaric, and various vitamins. Recently, our laboratory has demonstrated its neuroprotective effects to counter neuronal loss in neurodegenerative diseases. Polysaccharides extracted from L. barbarum can protect neurons against beta-amyloid peptide toxicity in neuronal cell cultures, and retinal ganglion cells in an experimental model of glaucoma. We have even isolated the active component of polysaccharide which can attenuate stress kinases and pro-apoptotic signaling pathways.
2007
PMID: 17710531

The results show that administration of LBP can restore abnormal oxidative indice near normal levels. Therefore, we may assume that LBP is effective in the protection of liver and kidney tissue from the damage of STZ-induced diabetic rats and that the LBP may be of use as a antihyperglycemia agent.
2007
PMID: 17166579

Hot water-extracted Lycium barbarum and Rehmannia glutinosa inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
2006
PMID: 16874858

LBP has anti-tumor effect probably by increasing the numbers of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in TIL to relieve the immunosuppression and enhance the anti-tumor function of the immune system. But whether LBP can recover the phenocyte and function of dendritic cells in H22-bearing mice should be further studied.
2005
PMID: 16159572

In the present study, we investigated the protective effect of Lycium chinense Miller (Solanaceae) fruit (LFE) against CCl(4)-induced hepatotoxicity and the mechanism underlying these protective effects in rats. The pretreatment of LFE has shown to possess a significant protective effect by lowering the serum aspartate and alanine aminotransferase (AST and ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). This hepatoprotective action was confirmed by histological observation. In addition, pretreatment of LFE prevented the elevation of hepatic malondialdehyde (MDA) formation and the depletion of reduced glutathione (GSH) content and catalase activity in the liver of CCl(4)-injected rats.
2005
PMID: 15619574

A purified component of lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP-X) was isolated from lycium barbarum L. by DEAE ion-exchange cellulose and sephacryl gel chromatography. LBP-X was tested on five different doses (5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 mg.kg-1.d-1) in mice. The results showed that LBP-X induced a remarkable adaptability to exercise load, enhanced resistance and accelerated elimination of fatigue. LBP-X could enhance the storage of muscle and liver glycogen, increase the activity of LDH before and after swimming, decrease the increase of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) after strenuous exercise, and accelerate the clearance of BUN after exercise. The dosage of LBP-X 10 mg.kg-1.d-1 was the best amount among the five tested doses.
2000
PMID: 12725093

We previously reported that zeaxanthin dipalmitate (ZD), a carotenoid from Lycium chinense fruit, reduces myofibroblast-like cell proliferation and collagen synthesis in vitro. To determine whether ZD might reduce the severity of hepatic fibrosis in an animal model, hepatic fibrosis was induced in rats by bile duct ligation/scission (BDL) for a period of 6 weeks. Treatment of BDL rats with ZD at a dose of 25 mg/kg body weight significantly reduced the activities of aspartate transaminase (p<0.05) and alkaline phosphatase (p<0.001) in serum. Furthermore, collagen deposition was significantly reduced as assessed by the Sirius Red binding assay in BDL rats administered ZD at the dose of 25 mg/kg body weight (p<0.01). In addition, the levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances and 4-hydroxyproline were reduced when BDL rats received ZD at the dose of 25 mg/kg body weight. These results showed that ZD effectively inhibited hepatic fibrosis in BDL rats, at least in part via its antioxidative activity.
2002
PMID: 11913541

Zeaxanthin dipalmitate from Lycium chinense has hepatoprotective activity. exerts a potent hepatoprotective activity by inhibiting Ito cell proliferation, collagen synthesis and by inhibiting certain biochemical functions of Kupffer cells.
1997
PMID: 9387190

Conclusion:

It appears that Wolfberry may be beneficial in protecting and supporting the liver and immune system. Therefore, it may be beneficial to those with Hepatitis (though it is certainly not a cure and should not be used as a sole treatment!)

Wolfberries are available in a variety of forms- powders, dried berries, and juices. It is important to understand that the research listed was conducted on the Lycium barbarum species of wolfberry. Not all wolfberries are created equal!

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