Sunday, June 1, 2008

Alcoholism Herbal Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Herbal treatment for any disease or disorder serves as an alternative treatment when the conventional drugs do not work properly. no wonder that there is alcoholism herbal treatment available for those who want to quit addiction to alcohol. One of the advantages of going for a herbal treatment for alcoholism is that there is no side effects that you experience in other kinds of treatments. That is why many prefer herbal treatments over other types of treatments. This does not mean that you can take any herb as you like. You have to consult a practitioner before taking even the herbal treatment.

Herbal affordable treatment for alcohol abuse in Washington State is also available. You can approach a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center and request an herbal treatment if they have that option for you. There are many types of herbs that are used in the treatment for alcohol addiction. Some of the herbs that are used in the treatment are Evening Primrose, Ginseng, Milk Thistle, St. John’s Wort, Skull cap and Dandelion.

Herbs like Evening primrose reduce the cravings for alcohol. This herbal medicine is available in the form of oil. Commonly called as EPO, this oil is extracted from the seeds of Evening Primrose. Ginseng (American and Asian) is used to break down the alcohol in your body. This means that it removes the toxic property by breaking it quickly. Hence this herb is used to remove any toxins due to alcohol. Moreover researches indicate that Ginseng has the property to reduce the absorption of alcohol from your stomach. Treating the liver diseases due to alcohol is done by Milk Thistle. This herb improves the function of the liver and corrects any damage done to the liver. Dandelion is also used for the same purpose. To treat the symptoms of withdrawal herbs like Skullcap are used.

An herbal extract from the skin of the prickly pear fruit reduces symptoms of an alcohol hangover, according to the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the June 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"The severity of the alcohol hangover may be related to inflammation induced by impurities in the alcohol beverage and byproducts of alcohol metabolism," write Jeff Wiese, MD, from Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues. "An extract of the Opuntia ficus indica (OFI) plant diminishes the inflammatory response to stressful stimuli."

In this crossover-design study, 55 young adult volunteers, aged 21 to 35 years, were randomized to receive either OFI or placebo five hours before alcohol consumption. Four hours before drinking alcohol, the subjects ate dinner consisting of a cheeseburger, fries, and soda. Each subject chose a single type of alcohol (vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, scotch, or tequila) to drink during a four-hour period.

Alcohol consumption was up to 1.75 g/kg of body weight, a quantity that has produced hangovers in previous studies. One hour after alcohol consumption ended blood alcohol levels were measured, and the subjects were driven to their homes to sleep.

The next morning subjects returned to the study site for measurement of vital signs and collection of blood and urine samples. Hangover severity was based on a score reflecting nine symptoms, and overall well-being was assessed on a scale from 0 to 6, with 6 indicating the worst well-being.

Two weeks later, the study was repeated with the same subjects, who crossed over from OFI to placebo or vice versa.

Mean well-being score was 2.75 for OFI and 3.10 for placebo. OFI consumption was associated with reduction in three of the nine symptoms of hangover — nausea, dry mouth, and loss of appetite (each P < .05). Overall, the symptom index was reduced by 2.7 points on average (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.2 to 5.5; P = .07). The risk of a severe hangover (greater than 18 points) was reduced by more than half (odds ratio, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.88; P = .02).

Levels of C-reactive protein were strongly associated with hangover severity, and were 40% higher with placebo than with OFI. Subjects with morning C-reactive protein levels greater than 1.0 mg/L had a higher mean symptom index by 4.1 points (95% CI, 1.2 to 7.1; P = .007).

Study limitations include inability to measure serial heat shock proteins during alcohol consumption, lack of data concerning the effect of OFI if consumed with food or after drinking alcohol, lack of generalizability to older persons, and failure to regulate consumption of nonalcoholic beverages.

"The symptoms of the alcohol hangover are largely due to the activation of inflammation. An extract of the OFI plant has a moderate effect on reducing hangover symptoms, apparently by inhibiting the production of inflammatory mediators," the authors write. "We anticipate the concern that decreasing hangover symptoms may indirectly foster increased use and abuse of alcohol. Hangover has never been shown to effectively deter alcohol consumption, however, and no evidence indicated that alleviation of hangover symptoms would result in further consumption."