Kudzu Tonic - Alcoholism Treatment with Herbs
Kudzu and herbal medicine treatment
Traditional texts speak about herbal treatment containing many herbs for the cleansing of the system of toxins caused by excess alcohol consumption, including the following herbs: Kudzu and KuShen
Chinese research: Chinese herb cuts alcohol consumption
The Chinese herb Kudzu, or Ge Gen (Puerariae Radix) appears to be able to reduce alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers. Those who were given the herb extract in capsule form for seven days prior to a drinking session cut their alcohol consumption by almost 50% compared to controls given a placebo. Not only did they consume fewer beers, but they took more and fewer sips and therefore consumed the beer more slowly.
In a report published by the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, scientists have found that the extracts from the herb kudzu may be effective in reducing alcohol consumption. The study performed at McLean Hospital gave subjects either kudzu extract or a placebo for seven days and allowed them the chance to drink as much of their favorite beer as they wanted. Subjects were in their twenties and generally consumed three to four drinks a day. Results from four 90-minute sessions showed a decrease in the overall consumption and sip volume with an increase in time to finish the beer. After administering the kudzu or placebo the beer was weighed sip by sip to give a complete analysis of consumption. Researchers were unsure how the kudzu effected consumption but that presumed that the extract somehow increased the effects of the alcohol and blood alcohol levels. No side effects were reported. kudzu could prove to be a safe and effective way to decrease alcohol cravings and consumption in alcoholics.
In 2003, a Harvard lab found kudzu's inhibitory effects on alcohol consumption in rats and hamsters and recently completed the follow-up human study. Plans are to find a way to safely manufacture a drug for use as a supplement to alcoholism therapies.
Lukas SE, et al. An Extract of the Chinese Herbal Root Kudzu Reduces Alcohol Drinking by Heavy Drinkers in a Naturalistic Setting. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research 2005;29:756-762.
From the Handbook of Chinese Herbs:
Sophora root (KuShen) is the root of Sophora flavescens Ait., a hardy deciduous shrub native to China, Japan, Korea and Russia. The shrub can reach a height of approximately five feet, with leaves of various shapes, greenish-yellow flowers, and brown seed pods that contain small seeds. The root, which is used in herbal preparations, ranges between four and 12 inches in length and one-half to an inch in diameter.
Sophora root has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It is considered to have bitter and cold properties, and is associated with the Heart, Liver, Stomach, Large Intestine and Urinary Bladder meridians. Its functions are to clear heat and dry dampness, to promote urination, to disperse wind, and to stop itching.
Sophora root contains a wide range of biologically active components, the most well-known of which is matrine. Laboratory studies have shown that matrine can dilate blood vessels, stabilize some heart arrhythmias and increase cardiac output. Animal studies suggest that other substances in sophora root can stimulate the nervous system, treat asthma, and slow the degeneration of liver cells and fibrous tissue in the liver.
Sophora root can be used both internally and externally. Internally, it can kill some parasites, treat dysentery and some bacterial infections, and promote the production of urine. Externally, it can be applied to the skin (usually with other herbs such as dictamnus and cnidium) to treat scabies, eczema and other skin ailments.
Other supporting herbs said to be relevant include milk thistle seeds, passiflora, hawthorn, damiana, siberian ginseng, pau d'arco, stevia.
Drinking smoothies will also help your condition - find out more about smoothies
Support this treatment with our ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus
Take herbal health tonics on a rotational basis (see PROST)
Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.
Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.
HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436
General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
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