Herbs can be used effectively to ease symptoms of withdrawal such as sweats, muscle spasms, cravings, anxiety, nausea, and so on. Our son has been struggling with opioid-opiate addiction for some time now and has tried to stop using opioids many times and in every way possible. He only experienced symptom-free withdrawals was when he was receiving acupuncture & herbs, or was given suboxone; obviously, treating a drug addiction with a narcotic is not a good idea, and the suboxone did not result in a good outcome.
Just drinking a calming herb tea such as chamomile will not do the trick, but wouldn’t hurt the effort as making and drinking tea is ritualistic; many addicts find that replacing habits associated with drug use with a healthier ritual is quite helpful in long-term recover. However, using herbs to lessen symptoms will require more strategy and planning than simply drinking tea. Part of the planning includes acquiring the herbs needed PRIOR to attempting opioid withdrawal as they will take time to be prescribed and made for you, or to arrive if you order them online.
Here are the types of herbs that we use in clinic successfully for withdrawal:
The body will naturally detoxify opioid toxins from the body and brain within a week’s time (Smith, H. S. (2009). Opioid Metabolism. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 84(7), 613–624.). However, during that time one can experience such discomfort from symptoms that recovery efforts are thwarted. We use herbs that activate a smooth elimination of toxins from the systems of the body that are involved with detoxification such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin. Our clinic formula also addresses what we call Liver Wind in Chinese medicine and causes those painful leg spasms and cramps that keep you from sleeping during withdrawal from opiates; therefor, we use herbs in our detox formula that clears liver wind and stops restless leg syndrome and twitching. You can take a look at our clinic formula ingredients for detox during opioid withdrawal linked here.
Herbs to Calm the Mind
Our son described the feelings of “his brain being scratched out” during withdrawal; a sensation that someone who has not actually gone through opioid withdrawal can relate to apparently. In discussing opioid addiction with most people who are not addicted, they miss the important fact that opioid toxins actually change the brain. This brain damage makes them incredibly vulnerable to cravings during withdrawal. Additionally, extreme emotional fluctuation including feelings of anxiety, depression, and guilt create an unbearable state of panic when one stops using opioids cold-turkey. Basic calming herbs do not address this neurotic state, and Chinese herb formulas are more powerful for calming the mind. Here are the ingredients we use in our clinic formula for calming the mind during opioid-opiate detox.
Herbs to Stop Nausea
Nausea and vomitting are very common during withdrawal and can be avoided with specific herbs that sooth the Earth Element in Traditional Chinese Medicine are much more effective than a tea of peppermint or ginger alone. Here are our clinic herb remedy ingredients for nausea caused by opioid withdrawal linked here.
Consider visiting an acupuncturist during withdrawal as the science-based evidence proves that acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for addiction and withdrawal!
Wu LZ, Cui CL, Tian JB, Ji D, Han JS. Suppression of Morphine Withdrawal by Electroacupuncture in Rats: Dynorphin and Kappa-Opioid Receptor Implicated. Brain Research. 1999;851(1-2):290-6.
Lin JG, Chan YY, Chen YH. Acupuncture for the Treatment of Opiate Addiction. Evidence Based Complement Alternative Med. 2012;2012:739045.