Can an herbal medicine help treat alcoholism? Quite possibly, yes. Research is showing that an extract from the Hovenia dulcis plant may treat alcoholism. The extracted compound is also contained in the plant called Toyeam herb -also called the Tengcha vine.
Herbal extract and alcoholism
Researchers from UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine have found that dihydromyricetin, a medicinal herb extract, may treat alcoholism.
The research tested the flavonoid extract that is derived from Ampelopsis grossedentata, Hovenia dulcis and a few other plants. The researchers gave this extract to rats that became addicted to alcohol intoxication. After treatment with dihydromyricetin, the rats reduced their consumption of alcohol with significantly fewer withdrawal symptoms. They exhibited less anxiety and fewer seizures. The treated group also exhibited significantly reduced levels of intoxication side effects when they did consume alcohol.
The researchers’ in vitro (cellular) research found that dihydromyricetin antagonized GABA receptors while affecting the receptors’ tolerance levels. This mechanism was assumed to give dihydromyricetin its ability to alter the physical and mental issues of substance abuse.
The researchers concluded that, “We demonstrated pharmacological properties of dihydromyricetin consistent with those expected to underlie successful medical treatment of alcohol use disorders.”
Though dihydromyricetin is considered to be a flavinoid constituent of a number of medicinal herbs such as Erica arborea, Glochidion sumatranum (Umbrella cheese tree) and others, it is most known as having been extracted from the Ampelopsis grossedentata plant, a vine shrub known to grow in Asia. Ironically, the herb has a common name of Snake wine vine and a Chinese Medicine name of Teng Cha. The preparation of Ampelopsis as a tea is sometimes referred to as Vine tea.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has utilized Ampelopsis as a medicinal herb for many centuries. It has been used to treat jaundice, colds, flus and for relieving coughs. It is thought to help restore the liver – seemingly confirming the research above showing that dihydromyricetin reduced the negative effects of alcohol consumption.
Tengcha vine tea for weight loss and blood sugar
Drinking the tengcha vine tea has also been used as a weight loss tea, because its taste seems to reduce the desire to eat sweets.
More recent study in China has shown that Ampelopsis extracts reduce platelet aggregation, lower cholesterol and lower blood glucose levels. It has also been found to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
The Ampelopsis is a plant in the family of Vitaceae. The common grape vine also belongs in this family, and yes, dihydromyricetin has indeed been found among grap pomace and elderberry extracts – another irony for its ability to potentially treat alcoholism.
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Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.