Traditional Chinese Medicine & Alcoholism
Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is one of the earliest medicinal plants used in traditional Chinese medicine. Researchers at the Center for Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences and Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA have many profound pharmacological actions including antidipsotropic (anti-alcohol abuse) activity. Although both the roots and flowers of kudzu, Radix and Flos puerariae, respectively, have been used to treat alcohol abuse safely and effectively in China for more than a millennium.
Keung WM; Vallee BL. Kudzu root: an ancient Chinese source of modern antidipsotropic agents. Phytochemistry (UNITED STATES) Feb 1998, 47 (4) p499-506
Traditional medicine in the treatment of drug addiction.
National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University, Beijing, China.
AIMS: To evaluate clinical trials and neurochemical mechanisms of the action of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture for treating drug addiction. METHODS: We used computerized literature searches in English and Chinese and examined texts written before these computerized databases existed. We used search terms of treatment and neurobiology of herbal medicines, and acupuncture for drug abuse and dependence. RESULTS: Acupuncture showed evidence for clinical efficacy and relevant neurobiological mechanisms in opiate withdrawal, but it showed poor efficacy for alcohol and nicotine withdrawal or relapse prevention, and no large studies supported its efficacy for cocaine in well-designed clinical trials. Clinical trials were rare for herbal remedies. Radix Puerariae showed the most promising efficacy for alcoholism by acting through daidzin, which inhibits mitocochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 and leads to disulfiram-like alcohol reactions. Peyote also has some evidence for alcoholism treatment among Native Americans. Ginseng and Kava lack efficacy data in addictions, and Kava can be hepatotoxic. Thunbergia laurifolia can protect against alcoholic liver toxicity. Withania somnifera and Salvia miltiorrhiza have no efficacy data, but can reduce morphine tolerance and alcohol intake, respectively, in animal models.