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How to Use Herbs for Opiate Withdrawal

herbs for opiate withdrawal

Do you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with substance abuse issues? Are you wondering about how to use herbs for opiate withdrawal? Every day, more than 100 people overdose on dangerous opioids: fentanyl, heroin, and prescription pain pills.

If you’re wondering how you can help, this article is for you. You might be surprised to find that traditional herbal medicine can help people detox from a drug addiction.

Chinese doctors have been using herbs for opiate withdrawal symptoms for centuries. We’ll cover some of the most popular herbs for opiate withdrawal.

What Are the Signs of an Opiate Addiction?

If your loved one has been taking higher and higher doses of their pain medication, they might be in the throes of an opioid addiction. If they’re “drug-seeking,” going to different doctors for new pain prescriptions, they could have an addiction.

Do they have violent mood swings? Do they seem like a totally different person before and after their pills? Are they buying street drugs like heroin? Have they stopped sleeping?

Ideally, people would immediately seek treatment for an addiction. Realistically, you may find yourself trying to convince your friend or loved one that they have a problem. Or you may have noticed that your own opiate use has gone past a safe point. There are herbs for opiate withdrawal and options like regular methadone treatment.

1. Kava Kava

Kava kava is a plant that comes from the Pacific islands near Polynesia. The word itself means “bitter,” and that’s what you can expect when you brew kava tea. Drinking kava tea is popular in the South Pacific islands, where it’s used for everything from stomachaches to seizures.

There have been a few studies done on kava root and they’re promising. There is some evidence that kava kava, taken in liquid or pill form, can combat cancer. It’s also useful for relieving anxiety associated with withdrawals from opioids and benzodiazepines.

About one-third of all overdoses occur when people mix opioids with benzodiazepines: Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. If you or a loved one is struggling with a benzodiazepine addiction, you might want to try kava. It’s available in most health food stores and easily available online.

2. CBD

If you’re unfamiliar with CBD, you should know that it’s derived from the cannabis plant. Taking CBD in liquid, pill, or oil form has been proven to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms, and it’s not illegal. THC is the part of the cannabis plant that delivers a “high,” and CBD is the part that relaxes and soothes pain.

CBD is legal in all 50 states and is available online. There are studies available that suggest that CBD can help people develop new thought patterns and stick with their addiction treatment. The herb is also used for relief from nausea and diarrhea, typical symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

To get started with CBD, you can get a wide range of products called “edibles.” There are CBD-infused gummy bears, CBD pills and tablets, and CBD oil. You can experiment with the dose until you find out what works best for you or your loved one. Keep going with methadone treatments, but work with the CBD on your free time.

3. Ginger

Ginger is a popular remedy for stomach discomfort, and it’s easy to find in tea or pill form. You can take ginger before you go to bed, and it will help ease the stomach pain that can come with withdrawal. Ginger is one of the best Chinese herbs for opiate withdrawal and has been used for centuries as a digestive aid and tonic.

If you’re not fond of the taste of ginger, you can take it with a bit of sugar. You can also find crystallized ginger chews, which are sweet and easy to digest. Chamomile tea and licorice are also used to help people who are withdrawing from opioids.

In general, you may have to experiment to find the best natural herbs for opiate withdrawal. Ginger is very popular, along with asafetida and ginseng. You might find that you prefer to take your ginger tea with a little bit of food. Eat if you can, and try to sleep at least four hours every night during the withdrawal process.

4. Valerian Root

Valerian root is one of the best natural herbs for opiate withdrawal. It’s been used for centuries: the ancient Romans used it to lessen anxiety and to improve sleep. Valerian is available in most health food stores and online.

When you or a loved one is withdrawing from opioids, there can be a tremendous pull to go back and start using again. If you’re not getting enough sleep or if you’re too nauseous to eat, it could stress you out to the point where relapse becomes a serious possibility.

Valerian root can be made into a tea or taken as a tincture. It seems to work best when you take it every day. If you’re going to be taking it for more than a few weeks, though, you should talk to your doctor. Watch your dosage, you don’t want to be sleepy during the day.

Additional Herbs for Opiate Withdrawal

In addition to the four herbs that we discussed in this article, there are several more herbs for opiate withdrawal. If you can, brew a tea with them instead of taking them in pill form: you’ll feel the effects more quickly.

Passionflower or St. John’s Wort can help you get relief from depression. You can also use essential oils like peppermint and lavender to relax and reduce anxiety. Opiate withdrawal can take weeks, depending upon how long you’ve been using, so be patient and keep drinking herbal tea.

You can also use essential oils in the bathtub as a way to calm down. Make sure to keep a bit of natural fat in your diet to calm your stomach, and try to eat small meals throughout the day. You’re trying to return your system to a balanced state, but that could take a little while.

We’ve got a wealth of information on detox, methadone, and opioid addiction. Check out our articles and find help in your home state.

About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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