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EBM News

Foods That Help Manage Drug And Alcohol Cravings

Individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction crave for alcohol when the blood sugar level drops. This can be managed by eating a sugary snack; while this can help for the moment, one needs to follow a diet that has complex carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit or some cheese that will help keep the blood sugar levels at an even level .

Substance abuse also causes the loss of essential amino acids from your body, which can be replenished by consuming foods that also have the ability to manage and eventually reduce your cravings [6]. Excessive use of heroin, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, speed, ecstasy etc. can lead to the following health (mental and physical) issues :

Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS)


Low energy

Lack of focus

Drug cravings

Low self-esteem

Obsessive/compulsive behaviours

Sleep problems Heat intolerance


Seasonal affective disorder

Tensed muscles

Mood swings



Drug and alcohol abuse causes your body to be unhealthy and lose the necessary nutrients and acids that are required for the proper functioning of your body. Some of the major amino acids you lose are L-Phenylalanine or L-Tyrosine and GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) among various others .

1. Cayenne Pepper (lal mirchi)

Hot peppers or cayenne peppers help increase your metabolism and stimulate endorphins, which then gets the blood flowing to all the essential areas. Studies have shown that cayenne pepper can help manage alcohol cravings and help reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting and increase your overall appetite .

2. Kava Kava

A herb, kava has been proven to reduce craving associated with cocaine, heroin, alcohol and tobacco addiction . It possesses an active ingredient called kavalactones, which are known to help reduce drug cravings and anxiety . Kava can be consumed in the form of capsules, tea, and tincture form. Experts recommend that the daily dosage of kavalactones should not exceed 250 mg.

3. Milk Thistle (gokhru)

Milk thistle is a herb that has been used to improve liver and gallbladder health. The herb contains active substance silymarin and is an effective herb being used for its anti-alcoholic properties . Apart from controlling cravings, silymarin also helps in organ healing.

4. Dandelion (sinhaparnee)

A cleansing herb, dandelion has been shown to help with alcohol cravings and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The herb is also beneficial for curbing sugar cravings. You can consume dandelion by adding some in your tea or chopping some fresh dandelion roots into your salad. Consume up to three times a day, steeping 3 to 5 mg of the dried roots .

5. St. John’s Wort (choli phulya)

Studies show that St. John’s wort is used to treat severe depression as its effect is similar to many prescribed antidepressants [19]. The herbal antidepressant contains a chemical called hyperforin which is directly responsible for reducing alcohol intake and is beneficial for an individual who is recovering .

6. Passion Flower (jhumaka lata)

Proven to be beneficial for treating ailments such as anxiety, insomnia and stomach upsets, the flower is helpful against ulcers caused by alcohol . More studies are required to understand the impact the plant has on drug cravings.

7. Kudzu (sural)

Also called Japanese arrowroot, the wild wine contains daidzin, a chemical that has been shown to reduce alcohol cravings. You can consume it as tea or use the tincture in warm water three to five times a day. The standard dose of kudzu root 30 to 150 mg .