(NaturalNews) One third of Americans will experience some form of alcohol use problem during their lifetime. Christmas is a time of cheer and parties but for some the accompanying drinking can be more of a problem than fun. Alcohol can damage the liver, weaken the immune system, slow healing and impair bone formation. However, there are a number of promising alternative medicine strategies that may be helpful when recovering from alcoholism.
Pharmaceutical drugs have little to offer for the treatment of alcohol addiction. Their side effects (diarrhea, headaches, nausea, vomiting and rash) cause suspicion as to whether they are doing more harm than good.
Here is a collection of little-known secrets for treating alcohol addiction naturally.
Milk thistle. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is an ancient herbal remedy for a wide variety of ailments - particularly gall bladder and liver problems. It contains a natural flavonoid called silymarin, which is widely recognized for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, preliminary research has shown that milk thistle may help the liver repair itself by improving its overall function, growing new cells and protecting against alcohol-induced liver damage.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient treasure of traditional Chinese medicine. This needle based therapy may ease withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings for alcohol. Acupuncture is considered safe when administered by well trained practitioners using sterile needles.
Kudzu. Harvard scientists discovered that kudzu (Pueraria lobata) - one of the 50 fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine - has promising potential to treat alcoholic cravings. While the exact mechanism for this has not yet been established, there is a theory that kudzu can make alcohol go to your head faster. "We think that this triggers a quicker response. The brain says 'enough' in less time. People feel satisfied on fewer beers", says Scott Lukas, professor of psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont.
Stress Management. Avoiding stress is essential in order to get rid of alcohol addiction. Scientists at the university of Liverpool have confirmed that high levels of stress hormone cortisol can result in impaired memory and decision making, which may decrease patient's ability to engage with treatment. Common stress management techniques include deep breathing, meditation and massage.
Vitamins and minerals. Nearly everyone who abuses alcohol tends to get more calories from alcohol and fewer from real food. Taking more vitamin C and a B complex together with minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium can help to replenish the body of depleted nutrients.
Alcohol addiction treatment can be difficult and these natural tips are not a magic bullet. Working with a qualified health professional, who can provide personalized medical advice, is still essential to overcome problems related to alcohol abuse.
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