Phytotherapy of alcoholism.

Abstract

Alcoholism is a medical, social, and economic problem where treatment methods mostly include difficult and long-lasting psychotherapy and, in some cases, quite controversial pharmacological approaches. A number of medicinal plants and pure natural compounds are reported to have preventive and therapeutic effects on alcoholism and alcohol dependency, but their constituents, efficacy and mechanism of action are mostly unknown so far. Recently, kudzu [Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi], St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.), danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge.), ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Mey.), Japanese raisin tree (Hovenia dulcis Thunb.), ibogaine (Tabernanthe iboga H. Bn.), evening primrose (Oenothera biennis L.), prickly pear fruit (Opuntia ficus indica (L.) Mill.), purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata L.), thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), fenugreek seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.), ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and many others drew the attention of researchers. Can, therefore, drugs of natural origin be helpful in the treatment of alcoholism or in decreasing alcohol consumption?

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