Herbal Detox and Alcoholism

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Herbal detox products may in fact enhance the overall functioning of the liver.

When a person makes an effort to detoxify herself because of unwarranted, extreme, or careless drinking, however, she is fooling around with hazardous, life threatening situations that simply need to be managed and supervised by qualified, medical detox practitioners.

Please continue reading and discover why the phrases "herbal detox" and "alcoholism" do not go together and why they do not make sense from a safety or from a health point of view.

Toxins, Poisons, and Environmental Pollutants

Research has shown that environmental pollutants enter our bodies via the water and liquids we drink, via the food we eat, via the air we breathe, and via cuts or openings in our skin.

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When pollutants enter the body, they accumulation in the form of toxins or poisons.

Since these toxins adversely affect all of the major organs and systems of the body, these poisons thereby affect the overall functioning of the body.

In spite of the fact that many of the body's organs are significant in combating environmental toxins, the two organs that are perhaps the most important in the body's ability to defend itself against poisons and diseases are the skin and the liver.

The Importance of the Liver and the Defense System

Next to the skin, the liver is the largest organ in the body and is often viewed as one of the most critical organs in the human body.

Indeed, according to traditional Chinese medicine, for example, a healthy liver is seen as the most meaningful organ employed by the body in the struggle against disease and in the maximum functioning of the body's defense system.

The liver has a number of important functions, including the following:

  • The liver is the organ that stores Vitamin A, D, E and K.

  • The liver metabolizes alcohol

  • The liver is responsible for eliminating and detoxifying the poisons that enter our body

  • The liver produces bile that is essential in the breakdown of fats

In sum, then, it can be seen that alcoholism, sedentary lifestyles, alcohol abuse, environmental pollution, and drug abuse are all factors that lead to the less than optimal functioning of the liver.

Consequences of A Poorly Functioning Liver

The following list represents some of the main outcomes of a poorly functioning liver:

  • Allergies

  • Cirrhosis of the liver

  • Ineffective digestive system

  • Unhealthy skin

  • Depressed immune system

  • Obesity

  • Alcohol poisoning (due to drinking beyond the ability of the liver to metabolize the alcohol)

  • Fatigue

  • Respiratory ailments

Herbal Detox Products and the Liver

There are "natural" ways to augment the overall performance of the liver. One of these ways is the ingestion of herbal detox drops, sprays, or pills.

These detox products usually contain herbs such as dandelion, black walnut hulls, milk thistle, cascara sagrada, and licorice root.

It is believed in various "holistic health" groups that herbal detox products rid the liver, colon, and the kidneys of unsafe toxins.

It is also believed by these health-advocates that herbal detox products strengthen the muscles of the large intestine, improve digestion, and cleanse the gall bladder and the liver.

Building up one's liver via herbal detox methods, therefore, is a slow but sure process that needs to be followed on a daily basis.

In short, herbal detox products do not instantly cleanse the liver; nor do they immediately augment the overall performance of the liver.

Poor Thinking, False Advertising, and Misconceptions

As a consequence of the above, the following "testimonial" from a 31-year old person about the positive effects of a certain herbal detox product he or she takes is a great illustration of faulty thinking, misinformation, irresponsible behavior, and false advertising:

"I take XXXXX before and after a good party - I mean you are only young once! We all know the effect alcohol has on the liver and how you feel the next day, so I start taking them the day before and carry on for a day or two. I hardly ever have a hangover like I used to, thank goodness!"

So what is so "erroneous" with this testimonial? First, an individual who has been abusing alcohol for an extended time period cannot instantaneously optimize the functioning of his liver simply by taking herbal detox drops, pills, or sprays.

This kind of faulty logic, as well as false advertising, can result in severe headaches, hangovers, and all too often in alcohol poisoning (which can be deadly).

Second, by taking this herbal detox product, the individual may actually be developing a false sense of security.

How? By telling herself that her liver is functioning optimally due to the herbal detox pill or drop she has taken, she may actually drink more alcohol than can be metabolized by her liver.

The outcome: possible alcohol overdose. Stated simply, "responsible drinking" means limiting the frequency and the amount that one drinks---it does not mean taking a herbal detox drop or pill and then drinking abusively.

Third, chronic drinkers who try to stop drinking on their own will, in almost every instance, experience some degree of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Due to the fact that these withdrawal symptoms can be exceptionally hazardous, and, in some cases, fatal, ALL people who experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms should see their healthcare provider or doctor immediately so that he or she can evaluate the seriousness of their situation and recommend the treatment approach that is the most appropriate and effective for their particular circumstance.

Fourth, it is important to emphasize the fact that by using doctor prescribed meds during the alcohol detoxification procedure, alcoholics who receive detox rehab in a detox center or in a hospital are less likely to experience possible brain damage and/or seizures.

In short, involving oneself in "self-detoxification" via herbal detox products can lead to critical health issues and at times, death.

The Lethal Dose and Alcohol Overdose

Substance abuse researchers use the term "lethal dose" (LD) to describe the dose (or "concentration" for alcohol cases) that causes death in half of the population (LD: 50).

The majority of addiction researchers agree that blood alcohol concentrations in the 0.40% to 0.50% range satisfy the LD: 50 requirement.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the percentage of alcohol in the blood after the alcohol has been absorbed by the stomach and entered the blood system.

Based on the above preliminary work, we are now able to determine a working definition of "alcohol poisoning."

Alcohol poisoning is a dangerous and sometimes deadly outcome of drinking large amounts of alcohol that lead to blood alcohol concentrations in the 0.40% to .50% range.

It must be stressed, moreover, that binge drinking (consuming five or more alcoholic drinks during one sitting) can also result in alcohol poisoning.

The effects of the alcohol on your body are related to the amount of alcohol in your blood, that is, to your BAC.

The following are factors that affect your blood alcohol level:

  • How much food is in your stomach at the time you drink

  • How quickly you consume the alcoholic drink

  • How strong the alcoholic drink is

  • How fast your body metabolizes the alcohol

What Does This Mean in Most Normal Drinking Situations?

Substance abuse researchers define a "standard drink" as 1.5 ounces of 72-proof distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine, and 12 ounces of beer, all of which contain around .54 ounces of alcohol.

In addition, the typical individual metabolizes alcohol at the rate of roughly one drink per hour.

Now that we realize what a "standard drink" is and how long it usually takes a person to metabolize an alcoholic drink, we can now discuss the term "lethal dose" or "lethal concentration" into a more understandable framework.

  • A 100-pound woman or man would have to consume 9 or 10 standard alcoholic drinks in less than an hour to reach the LD:50

  • A 200-pound woman or man would have to ingest approximately 5 or 6 standard alcoholic drinks per hour for 4 hours to reach the LD: 50.

Granted, drinking patterns such as these are not typical in most drinking situations.

Participating in various "drinking games" on a regular basis, however, involves drinking that can, and does, arrive at the lethal dose.

This is especially the case when these drinking games are "played" at various parties or are a part of club "initiations" such as fraternity or sorority initiations.

The following represents a few examples of these drinking games:

  • Bat Beer

  • Flip The Cup

  • One Big Chicken

The key point: irresponsible drinking can result in poor decision making, faulty thinking, and deleterious health problems that can be fatal.

Conclusion: Herbal Detox and Alcoholism

People who are "responsible" are concerned about their health.

As a reflection of this concern, these individuals often try to boost the performance of the body's organs, such as the liver, by "natural" methods. Herbal detox products are a prime example of this mentality.

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It almost goes without saying that taking herbal detox products may be shown by research to indeed augment the overall performance of the liver.

When an individual tries to detoxify his body because of heavy or abusive drinking, however, he is fooling around with dangerous, life threatening circumstances that simply need to be handled by addiction detox professionals.

As a result, it can be determined that the terms "herbal detox" and "alcoholism" make little or no sense from a health or from a safety perspective.

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