These days there can be a great deal of hype surrounding natural therapies. The underlying assumption is that because something is natural it must be good whereas anything artificial must be bad. This type of thinking can get people into trouble because just because something is found in nature does not necessarily mean that it is going to be beneficial to humans. Those who have accidently consumed poisonous plants can testify to this. It is also unfair to label things that are created artificially as being somehow inferior. There are plenty of medicines available that are effective and that have been rigorously tested for their efficacy.
It is may be misleading to view things as a better alternative just because they have been given the natural label. There are certainly are some herbal remedies that may be of value to people, but it is important that each individual does some research on the product first. It is also recommended that people have realistic expectations as there are no miracle cures out there – particularly when it comes to addiction treatment.
People are advised to seek proper medical advice before using any herbal remedy as a form of treatment. Those that are taking any regular medication need to be aware of any possible interactions with this medicine. It is also not advisable that people attempt to diagnose and treat their own conditions. If people suspect that their liver may be damaged they will need proper medical attention. Herbal remedies can be useful but not usually as a replacement for standard medical treatments. Those who are recovering from an addiction need to be particularly careful of herbal remedies from abroad – for example, traditional Thai medicine often mixes herbs with alcohol.
There are a number of herbal remedies that may be of value to people in recovery including:
Chamomile tea (Matricaria chamomilla) has been shown to produce a number of beneficial effects. It has even been used in agriculture to treat sick plants. The benefits of this herb that may be of use to those recovering from an addiction include:
* A cup of Chamomile tea before bed can help people sleep better at night. This can be particularly useful for people in early recovery who often struggle with insomnia.
* It can soothe sore stomachs.
* It can also help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
* It can work as a mild laxative.
* It is also said to have a mild anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effect.
Some people may suffer an allergic response to chamomile. It is also not recommended for anyone who is taking blood thinning medication. If people drink an excessive amount of this herb it can lead to vomiting.
Milk thistle may be of some value to those who have damaged their liver as a result of excessive drinking. It is not a cure for alcoholic liver disease but it may improve liver function. There are a number of other possible benefits of this herb including:
* It is claimed to help people with type II diabetes to manage their blood sugars more effectively.
* It can be helpful in the treatment of gallbladder problems.
* It may help to lower the amount of bad cholesterol in the body.
* There is also a claim that it can reduce the risk of certain cancers.
There is not yet enough research into the efficacy of milk thistle to fully determine its effectiveness. There are also possible side effects associated with this herb including:
* Allergic reactions to the herb.
* It can interact with prescribed medications.
* People may experience a feeling of being bloated
It is common for those living in western countries to have dandelion growing in their gardens. For many people this plant is considered a weed, and they may regularly spend time removing it from their flower patches. The dandelion is actually a remarkable plant and it has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy – it is often consumed as a tea. The potential benefits of this plant include:
* It is believed to be good for liver detoxification.
* It can improve digestion.
* It is believed to be helpful in the treatment of certain skin conditions including acne.
* It works as a mild diuretic.
Dandelion can also have some potential negative side effects including:
* It can exacerbate the symptoms of acid indigestion.
* Some people can suffer an allergic reaction to the plant.
* If the plants in the tea have not been carefully processed they may carry some type of parasitic infection.
Those people who are in the early months of recovery from an addiction will often complain of fuzzy thinking and an inability to concentrate properly. One herbal remedy that may be of value to people suffering from this unpleasant symptom is Gingko because it is said to increase mental functioning. Other potential benefits of this plant include:
* It is said to improve short term memory
* People claim that it increases their energy levels
* It is believed to encourage peripheral circulation. This may be of value to those alcoholics who have symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
* It has been used to treat vertigo
* It may improve cellular glucose uptake.
There are also some potential unwanted side effects of this herbal remedy including:
* It can cause nausea and vomiting.
* Anyone who is on blood thinning medication should avoid this herb until they speak with their doctor.
* Some people complain of restlessness after taking gingko.
* It may cause abdominal discomfort.
* Some people complain of heart palpitations.
* It can cause dizzy spells.
Ginseng is another herbal remedy that is believed to improve cognitive functioning. Other benefits for this plant include:
* It can increase energy levels – this is why it is so frequently added to popular energy drinks.
* It is believed to be an aphrodisiac.
* It is believed to have ant carcinogenic and antioxidant properties.
* People who take this herbal treatment may be less likely to suffer from influenza.
* It can work as a mild anti inflammatory.
There are some negative side effects associated with ginseng including:
* It can cause insomnia
* It can interact negatively with antidepressant medication – it may even trigger a manic episode.
* Some people may experience headaches.
* It can cause hypertension (high blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure).
* Some people have experienced breast pain after taking this drug.
* Those people who are using blood thinning medication should speak to their doctor before using ginseng.
* If people overdose on the drug it could lead to palpitations, tremors, dizziness, and excitation.
Passion flower (passiflora) is another plant that may be of value to people recovering from an addiction. The benefits of this herbal remedy include:
* It helps to strengthen the nervous system.
* It may help elevate the symptoms of mild depression.
* It can help with insomnia.
* It may be useful in the treatment of nervous disorders and anxiety.
* People claim that it is effective for easing tension in the body.
* It can work as a mild anti inflammatory.
Potential negative side effects of this herbal remedy include:
* It may cause dizziness.
* Some people find that this herb makes them feel a bit drowsy. If people are going to be driving or operating machinery they should not consume passion flower beforehand.
* It could lead to episodes of confusion.
* Some people experience an irregular heartbeat.
* It may cause itching.
* It may cause swelling.
* It should never be used during pregnancy.
* Breastfeeding mothers should not use passion flower.
* If people have any type of liver damage they need to speak to their doctor before using this herb.
Thunbergia laurifolia is traditionally used in Thailand for detoxification. It is believed to help people to detoxify from the harmful effects of alcohol or drugs. It can also be used in the treatment of cuts and as a pyretic – it helps to reduce fevers. This herb is now exported as a herbal remedy from Thailand in the form of rang jeud tea. It is important that people speak to their physician before they start using this herb.
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