The disease concept has become widely accepted concerning alcoholism and is today recognized as such by the American Medical Association and the Surgeon General of the United States of America. Although the cause of alcoholism/alcohol dependency is not completely understood, many believe that it is a physiological ailment staged at the molecular level. Some believe that the alcohol affliction is an innate DNA source, citing an “alcoholic gene”, and/or a lack of human alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), the enzyme that is thought to catalyze alcohol oxidation. Some success has been gained from treating the disease strictly on the molecular level.
Some of the available programs that are comprehensive in nature have postulated that a single treatment program is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Detoxification is usually the first issue at hand. Many experienced in the treatment of alcohol dependence insist on this before addressing the mental or spiritual aspects of alcoholism. Herbal treatment is advised by many in the detoxification stage. Some with more severe dependency issues may have to opt for prescribed drugs to get beyond the delirium tremors. Once that hurdle is jumped, herbal treatment helps to promote a cleansing of the body. Relaxation techniques and meditation exercises have been known to reduce stress and promote good general health. Mental exercises and affirmations have been used successful by many in recovery. A change in attitude from the negative to the positive can change the very molecular interaction in the brain. Other influences, however, such as the presence of ethanol can circumvent such rearrangement. A slow steady process toward balance is recommended.
A host of ancient Chinese remedies originally focused on all three aspects of the alcohol dependence malady. Some were not so comprehensive. They addressed primary physical or psychological based aversions. Many early treatments were focused on a negative association with alcohol consumption in many different forms of "punishment" or ill feelings. Others were herbal in nature while some subscribed to a force of will approach. A search of ancient Chinese pharmacopoeias reveals many of these types of "treatments" for alcohol dependency, some dating as far back as 600 AD. The earliest of theories involved a fundamental belief that a natural balance must exist in the entire body in order to heal from any sort of illness, injury or spiritual infliction. The short explanation concerning balance is "Yin-Yang". It postulates that everything, including the body, contains opposing forces: "Yin" (negative) and "Yang" (positive). Anything in balance achieves harmony between these negative and positive forces. A by-product of the balance achieved is strength, which is in turn, used to fight any stress within the body. Of the over 7,000 herbs and roots recognized and categorized by traditional Chinese medicine, one stands head and shoulders above the rest for the treatment of alcohol dependency. It is kudzu, and it is widely used to this day.
Kudzu (Radix puerariae, root of pueraria lobata) or the flower (Flos puerariae) of Pueraria lobata, and the derived daidzin 12 is an anti-dipsotropic supplement for use in the treatment of alcohol dependency and alcoholism. For thousands of years, hangovers and cravings have been treated successfully in China by prescribing kudzu. In scientific research performed at Harvard University, the effect of diminished cravings in animals was noted in tests performed with daidzin on various animal species. David Lee, an organic chemist at Research Triangle Institute, worked with derivatives of kudzu and its influence on alcohol consumption in rats in 1991. He found that the overwhelming majority of rats tested either appeared to become disinterested in alcohol over the long term or appeared to consume less. It was also documented that the rats retained better motor coordination functions, even while under the influence of alcohol.
Although no one is quite sure how it works, its prescribed high dosages of one of Kudzu's active ingredients (puerarin) are used in China to elevate blood flow to the brain and heart. It is believed by some that this action triggers a faster natural response by the body to normalize and thus decrease the effect of craving. The dilation of heart muscles is one documented action provided which facilitates the increased flow of blood especially to the brain. Puerarin can also prevent cardiovascular damage caused by the inadequate oxygen levels associated with low blood circulation in the body. Puerarin has also been known by some sources to prevent liver damage. The powerful effective isoflavones contained in kudzu can help detoxify and balance the body toward better equilibrium and therefore improved general health. It can also help to stabilize sugar levels, which can prevent sweeping mood swings.
The treatment and ultimate recovery of alcohol dependency is a complex and delicate issue. Many experts agree that detoxification, the use of kudzu or daidzin and consequent psychological, physiological and spiritual growth is a necessary natural pathway toward recovery. A balance must be achieved through the reconciliation of positive and negative forces. Any molecular or metabolic enzymatic inconsistencies must be addressed, and a positive attitude must be gained.