Heroin withdrawal is a long, and often painful, process. Many health care providers are now offering complementary and alternative treatments to help with managing withdrawal symptoms, including Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese herbs for healing opiate addiction have the advantage of less side-effects than traditional drugs, as well as higher safety ratings, according to a 2006 article published in the scientific journal “Acta Pharmalogica Sinica.”
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Herbs are not necessarily meant to replace conventional treatments, as they may accelerate the detoxicification process when used together. Chinese herbs contain potent chemical substances, so always consult closely with medical providers if considering this or any form of complementary therapy.
Tai-Kang-Ning is a traditional Chinese herbal formula with proven results. In a 2008 study published in the “American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse,” 64 patients were recruited in a double-blind investigation comparing Tai-Kang-Ning tolofexidine, a leading heroin withdrawal medication. Tai-Kang-Ning performed as well as tolofexidine, leading researchers to conclude that Tai-Kang-Ning is effective for moderate-to-severe heroin withdrawal.
WeiniCom, also known as Xuan Xia Qudu Jiaonang, is another Chinese herbal formula with promise for opiate addiction. This herbal mixture is just as effective as buprenorphine for opiate detoxication, according to a 2000 study published in the “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.” In fact, subjects treated with WeiniCom had a quicker rate of pain reduction, as well as less cravings and other classic withdrawal symptoms, compared to the pharmaceutical buprenorphine.
In 2005, scientists employed neuroimaging to investigate the effects of the traditional Chinese herbal blend U’Finer. Heroin addiction actually damages the brain, in particular a structure in the basal ganglia known as the corpus striatum. The damage may or may not be permanent.“The results show that U'finer significantly repaired the damaged bilateral corpus striatum,” reported the researchers from Peking University, as published in the journal “Addiction Biology.” The researchers concluded that U’Finer can be safely utilized in the treatment of heroin addiction.
In general, Ginseng, or Panax ginseng, is a root herb often used in proprietary blends in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The history of ginseng’s medical use extends back almost two thousand years ago, as it was first mentioned during China's Liang Dynasty, 220–589 AD, according to the American Cancer Society. As with all herbal treatments, discuss the use of ginseng with medical providers, as the herb has some side-effects.
- “Acta Pharmalogica Sinica”: Traditional Chinese Medicine in Treatment of Opiate Addiction; 2006; vol.27
- “American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse”: Tai-Kang-Ning, a Chinese herbal Medicine Formula, Alleviates Acute Heroin Withdrawal; July-September 2000; vol.32, no. 3.
- “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs”: A Comparative Clinical Study of the Effect of WeiniCom, a Chinese Herbal Compound, on Alleviation of Withdrawal Symptoms and Craving for Heroin in Detoxification Treatment.
- “Addiction Biology”: Neuroimaging Studies of Brain Corpus Striatum Changes among Heroin-dependent Patients Treated with Herbal Medicine; Septermber 2005, vol. 10, no.3
- American Cancer Society: Ginseng