Approximately Four per cent of the Indian population is suffering from hepatitis B virus. That's 40 million people out there who are capable of transmitting the virus to others, through blood transfusions, needles, exchange of body fluids, sexual intercourse etc.
It's even more infectious than even the infamous HIV virus, scoring a 33 per cent on an 'infectivity' rate against HIV's 0.3 per cent.
There is a vaccine against hepatitis B virus available but there aren't many Indians who earn enough to buy it. And if you already have the virus, the vaccine is of no help. You have to opt for other drugs.
India is bracketed in the intermediate zone as far as the spread of the disease is concerned -- between two and seven per cent of the population -- and is expected to soon enter the senior league, the highly prevalent zone (8-20 per cent).
An Ayurvedic medicine, Kamalahar made from plant extracts, has been used to treat jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver, ascites and other liver disorders. Many patients suffering from hepatitis B have been cured through it.
Of the five hepatitis viruses, Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, A and E are water borne and, therefore, spread less easily. But hepatitis B, C, and D are very dangerous and can be passed on through blood transfusion, injections, needles, body fluids, sexual intercourse, etc, in a fashion reminiscent of the HIV virus.
These three viruses not only produce acute jaundice but also lead to chronic liver diseases like liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Carriers may show no symptoms but they still can pass on the virus. And just because they have no signs of the disease does not mean they cannot be affected. For, after several years of carrying the virus, they can develop liver cancer or liver cirrhosis.
In the developed countries, even in the seventies, it was mandatory to test the donated blood for hepatitis B. But that is not the case in many countries. As a result many people have been infected with hepatitis virus due to blood transfusion.
Kamalahar recentely expanded its reach to many countries and is now available online and can be bought from the website www.khatorepharma.com