Alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction has many serious health consequences. It adversely affects stomach, intestines, liver, heart, nerves, pancreas, brain and other organs. In many cases it results in malnutrition, sexual problems, brain cell damage, cancer of digestive organs, high blood pressure, sleeping disorders, etc. Its psychological and psychiatric problems like lack of judgement and coordination, depression, poor memory and concentration, etc. affects the daily life drastically.1
Alcohol dependence – a big concern
According to Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance, the Indian arm of Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) functioning with the aim to prevent alcohol related harm through evidence based policy intervention, advocacy and capacity building, India is one of the major sufferers from alcohol dependence. As per report there are over 6 crore alcohol users in India. Per capita consumption of alcohol increased by 106.7% over the 15-year period from 1970 to 1996. About 80% of alcohol consumption is in the form of hard liquor or distilled spirits which contains high concentration of alcohol. Hazardous drinking (alcohol consumption which confers the risk of physical and/or psychological harm2) is significantly associated with severe health problems such as head injuries and hospitalizations.3
Homoeopathy for alcohol de-addiction
Homoeopathy helps in alcohol de-addiction. There have been published and on-going studies on the alcohol de-addiction and its withdrawal symptoms.4,5 The specific drug Quercus robur is indicated for alcohol de-addiction. It is a drug prepared from the common oak.6 It was introduced to homoeopathic practice by Burnett.7,8 Dr. Schroyens also mentions this for alcoholism.9Cooper had observed it useful in specific sensations like "felt as if in a vice; dared not move for fear of a fit of apoplexy, an attack of giddiness”, and "deafness with noises in the head".8 It is officially covered by Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of United States10 and mentioned in German Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia11.
Different species of Quercus but containing similar phytochemicals have been used in Indian medicine for symptoms like diarrhoea, dysentery, gastric catarrh, swelling of spleen and other alcoholic symptoms.12 Its chief actions are on alcoholism, constipation, diarrhoea, giddiness, gout, intermitting fever, dropsy (splenic), leucocythaemia splenica and other affections of spleen.6,7,8,9,13,14 It specifically cures symptoms of depressive nervousness, taciturn state (habitually reserved and uncommunicative), drunken feeling in head, gnawing at pit of stomach, craving for alcohol, pain in spleen and diarrhoea.14 Quercus diminishes the craving for alcohol and antidotes the alcoholic state, and giddiness with spleen trouble.8
Indications: Alcoholism symptoms like craving for alcohol, giddiness, swelling and pain in the spleen, etc., alcohol de-addiction and associated symptoms.
Complementary medicines: Alfalfa Tonic, Alpha-HA, Alpha-MS, Nux vomica15 3x tablets
Dosage: Unless otherwise prescribed, 2 tablets 2-3 times a day. Reduce the dose as symptoms improve. If complaints are not relieved, consult a specialist.
Side effects: No side effects of Schwabe’s Quercus robur1x are known.
Contraindications and interactions: No contra-indications and interactions with other drugs for the use of Schwabe’s Quercus robur1x are known.
Presentation: Bottle of 20gm.
David Zieve, David C. Dugdale, Medline Plus Medical Encyclopaedia, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000944.htm. Retrieved on: 17 July 2012.
Thomas F. Babor, John C. Higgins-Biddle, BRIEF INTERVENTION - For Hazardous and Harmful Drinking, A Manual for Use in Primary Care, World Health Organization, Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence. Available at: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2001/who_msd_msb_01.6b.pdf. Retrieved on: 20 July 2012.
Alcohol Related Harm in India – a fact sheet, Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance, V15, Green Park Extn., New Delhi 110 016. Available at: http://www.addictionindia.org/images-ttkh/alcohol-related-harm-in-india-a-fact-sheet.pdf. Retrieved on: 17 July 2012.
Yoginder Rai , Clinical evaluation of homoeopathic medicines in the management of withdrawal symptoms of drug dependents. Available at: http://www.ccrhindia.org/abstracts/cr/drugdependents.htm. Retrieved on: 17 July 2012.
S. Gopinadhan, A pilot study on the effect of Arsenicum Album in alcohol dependents. CCRH Quarterly Bulletin, 16 (1&2) 1994:10-15p.
P. N. Varma, Indu Vaid, Encyclopaedia of Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia, Updated edition 2007, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
J. C. Burnet, Diseases of Spleen, RadarOpus 1.33, Archibel S.A. Rue Fontaine St. Pierre 1E, Zoning Industriel de la Fagne, 5330 Assesse, Belgium.
J. H. Clarcke, Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, Reprint Edition 1992, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
F. Schroyens, Synthesis Treasure Edition 2009V, RadarOpus 1.33, Archibel S.A. Rue Fontaine St. Pierre 1E, Zoning Industriel de la Fagne, 5330 Assesse, Belgium.
Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, Southeastern, PA, Homeopathic Pharmacopeia Convention of the United States (available by subscription at http://www.hpus.com/).
German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (GHP) Vols 1 and 2. Stuttgart, Medpharm Scientific Publishers, 2006.
K. M. Nadkarni, Indian Materia Medica, Edited by A. K. Nandkarni, Volume 1, Bombay Popular Prakashan, Mumbai – 34
W. Boericke, New Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory [with Relationship of Remedies], Second Re-Augmented & Revised Edition Based on Ninth Edition, Reprint Edition 2002, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
C. Richardson-Boedler, Psychic causes of Illness: Applying Homeopathy and Bach flowers therapy to Psychosomatic illness, Part Two : Keynote Materia Medica of the Bach Remedies, under ‘Homeopathic indications for Quercus robur’, RadarOpus 1.33, Archibel S.A. Rue Fontaine St. Pierre 1E, Zoning Industriel de la Fagne, 5330 Assesse, Belgium.
Homöopathisches Repetitorium, a publication by Deutsche Homöopathie-Union, Ottostr. 24, D-76227 Karlsuhe, Germany