Herbal remedies to decrease alcohol cravings

Written by amy prais
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Herbal remedies to decrease alcohol cravings
Although alcoholics sometimes need prescription drugs to kick the habit, studies show some herbs might help reduce symptoms. (KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

Alcoholism -- or alcohol dependence syndrome -- is a progressive disease characterised by craving, loss of control and physical dependence. Although withdrawal is best performed under experienced medical supervision, herbs may aid in the suspension or severity of cravings and decrease withdrawal symptoms.

Kudzu plant

The kudzu plant is native to Japan and China, where it has traditionally been used to treat hangovers and to reduce alcohol consumption. With no known side effects, a standard dosage ranges from 30 to 150 mg of the root three times a day.

Medical studies

Studies carried out in the US have had mixed results. One study suggested that kudzu reduced alcohol consumption by almost half that as the control group, while a different study showed that subjects with chronic alcoholism who consumed kudzu had no perceptible change in cravings.

St John's Wort

St John's wort is a herbal anti-depressant that has shown to be effective in combating mild to moderate depression. New research shows it may also be effective in reducing alcohol cravings. Dosages range from 200 to 1000 mg. However, St John's Wort increases sensitivity to sunlight and may interact with some medications.

Milk thistle and dandelion

Both milk thistle and dandelion might help those with alcohol dependency or abuse issues. Around 600 mg of milk thistle extract can help the liver recover from the effects of alcohol. Dandelion is known to help liver-related problems and may help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Dandelion may be consumed in a tea by combining 30 ml (1 fl oz) of dandelion and boiling water. You can consume up to 8 g (1/3 oz) of the dried root each day.


Some herbs may be problematic if you have certain medical conditions. Herbs may have side effects and interact with medications. Consult your GP before beginning herbal regimes.

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