Objectives: The present study aimed to provide clinical evidence on the effect of herbal medicine on the treatment of hepatitis C using a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methods: This study included RCTs that verified the effects of herbal medicine for the treatment of hepatitis C. A literature search of English, Chinese, and Korean databases was performed, and the selected literature was assessed to investigate the risk of bias. Results: The analysis included 14 RCTs. The total effective rate was the most commonly used outcome measure. The meta-analysis revealed that the total effective rate and total bilirubin difference were higher and that the recurrent rate was lower in the herbal medicine group than in the western medicine group (RR: 1.20, 95% CI: 1.06-1.35, p=0.003, I2=52; MD: 0.52, 95% CI: -0.62 to 1.66, p=0.37, I2=0; RR: 0.35, 95% CI: 0.11-1.09, p=0.07, I2=0). The included RCTs had relatively poor quality and a small sample size. Conclusion: Treatment with herbal medicine was found to be partially effective in treating hepatitis C. The included RCTs had relatively poor quality and a small sample size. This study can serve as a foundation for further clinical studies on the development of treatment methods for hepatitis C based on herbal medicine.
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