(Natural News) Maybe you have finally decided to quit alcohol or drugs, but because your brain has become so dependent on these substances, you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. To help you overcome these addictions, here are some natural treatments you can try:
- Kudzu (Radix puerariae): Kudzu is a Chinese medicine that has been used to treat alcohol abuse and dependence for nearly 2,000 years. Research shows that the extract of this medicinal plant substantially reduces alcohol craving and consumption.
- Red sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza): Another Chinese herbal medicine, red sage may reduce absorption of alcohol through the stomach. Studies show that this herb reduces alcohol-seeking behavior in rats genetically engineered to prefer alcohol. In addition, pre-treatment with red sage has also been shown to reduce blood alcohol levels by 60 percent.
- Chinese Angelica-tree (Aralia elata): Chinese Angelica-tree is a component in a Chinese herbal formula that is traditionally used to prevent or reduce alcohol intoxication. Studies report that this herb can inhibit alcohol absorption.
- Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga): The root of this African shrub contains ibogaine, which is a naturally occurring alkaloid that can significantly reduce alcohol intake.
- Cannabis (Cannabis indica): Cannabis is said to be effective in treating delirium tremens, which is a life-threatening complication of acute alcohol withdrawal. Research also shows that it provides immediate relief from this complication. Cannabis can also help lower the possibility of relapse in abstinent alcoholics.
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha, a popular Ayurvedic medicine, has been shown to reduce the severity of withdrawal from morphine. In animal studies, mice pre-treated with this herb for 10 days did not develop tolerance to the analgesic effects of morphine.
- Ginseng (Panax ginseng): Widely used in both Chinese medicine and Western herbal medicine, ginseng is said to mitigate tolerance and dependence linked to the long-term abuse of drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine or morphine. Researchers believe that this effect may be attributed to ginseng’s ability to inhibit the decline of dopamine in the brain caused by narcotics.
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): The extract of the Valerian plant has been shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms and promotes a normal sleep pattern after prolonged use of benzodiazepine drugs, such as clonazepam and lorazepam. Animal studies show that it can also improve withdrawal symptoms in rats dependent on diazepam.
- Polyenylphosphatidylcholine (PPC): Prolonged use of alcohol damages the liver, and taking PPC before alcohol intake can reduce or protect the liver from damage. PPC reduces the induction of liver enzymes associated with alcohol consumption.
- Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are known to play a role in brain processes. However, alcohol abuse causes omega-3 levels in the blood to decline. As a result, alcohol-dependent people tend to experience depression and other mental health problems. Research shows that taking omega-3 fatty acids may mitigate the severity of alcohol withdrawal and improve mood and overall cognitive function of people quitting alcohol. Omega-6 fatty acids in the form of evening primrose oil may also help in reducing the severity of alcohol withdrawal, normalizing liver enzymes, and improving cognitive function.
Withdrawal symptoms may vary, depending on the drug/s used, duration of use, your age, psychological characteristics, and method of withdrawal. Alcohol, opiates, and tranquilizers produce serious physical withdrawal symptoms like headaches, breathing difficulty, palpitations, nausea, diarrhea, stomach aches, muscle aches, twitches, tremors, sweating, and tingling. Other drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy cause more emotional withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and poor cognitive function.