Herbal treatment for alcoholism has its roots (pardon the pun) deep in the past. Plants have been utilized for many hundreds of years for the treatment of alcohol-related conditions.
Kudzu herb and St Johns Wort to reduce cravings for alcohol, Cayenne for the treatment of alcoholic gastritis, Skullcap and Passionflower for alcohol withdrawals, Milk Thistle for the liver, and so the list goes on.
There is no doubt that these herbs do have more than a placebo effect and some hold much potential, however, none of them can be said to be an all-encompassing treatment for alcoholism.
They do all have their place but only within a holistic alcohol treatment program that includes behavioral, psychological and physical therapy.
Having said all this, let's take a closer look at these herbs and the specific aspects of alcohol dependence they can be used to address:
Of all the herbs, kudzu has perhaps the greatest potential as an alcoholism treatment.
Dr. Scott Lukas is perhaps the leading researcher of Kudzu. One of his studies, the results of which were published in May 2005, found that individuals who took Kudzu and then consumed alcohol drank less than those who did not.
His belief is that kudzu slows the breaking down of alcohol in the blood stream. This increases the blood alcohol level and makes the drinker feel drunker than he would if he had not taken kudzu. This makes him less inclined to drink more.
Dr. Wing Ming Keung of Harvard is also currently working on kudzu, attempting to find the compound within the herb that has the anti-craving effect. Such a compound could then be used to create the anti-craving medicine of the future.
The only source for Kudzu we recommend is Planetary Herbals, this is because their product Full Spectrum Kudzu contains ONLY pure root. Most other preparations out there are weak and ineffective because they fill their capsules with other parts of the plant that do not contain the alcohol-craving inhibiting compounds.
Milk Thistle is used in the treatment of liver dysfunction. The seeds contain silymarin which helps to cleanse the liver of poisons. This is why it is commonly used in liver detox diets and the like.
As alcohol is also a toxin, those undergoing alcoholism detox are sometimes given Milk Thistle to help rid the liver of alcohol.
However, silymarin is not effective with severe liver damage, such as alcoholic hepatitis or alcoholic cirrhosis.
St. John's Wort is a herbal remedy that has been embraced by the mainstream medical community. It has been shown in many studies to alleviate depression.
Alcoholism and depression often go hand in hand and it seems that St. John's Wort has a similar effect to that of Kudzu; those who take it and then drink, tend to drink less that those who don't.
A study by Bradford School of Pharmacy has isolated a chemical called hperforin which is in the pigment that gives the flowers their bright orange/yellow color. Hyperforin seems to be responsible for the herb's ability to reduce alcohol intake.
Buy Full Spectrum St. John's Wort Extract from the only source we recommend.
It is important to note that when undertaking herbal treatment for alcoholism that when buying extracts, tinctures and essences that they do not contain alcohol. Alcohol is commonly used as an aid to extract the active elements of a herb. Look closely at the label before buying.
There are other herbal treatments for alcoholism, however, the ones above are the more widely used.
A note of caution: should you be attempting to withdraw from alcohol or have an alcohol-related health concern, it is essential you consult a medical professional. Alcohol withdrawals can be life-threatening.
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