What happens when you are addicted to a chemical substance? You lose control of your life. It doesn’t matter what you are addicted to alcohol, nicotine or drugs the effects are the same. It is usually not easy to get rid of an alcohol and/or nicotine addiction. Most people find it difficult to give up these substances even after years in de-addiction therapy. Hence, it’s prudent to let Ayurveda, the ancient science of healing handhold us in getting rid of addictions.
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins. These cigarette ingredients include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. Perhaps this list of ingredients that are found in cigarettes is enough to make you want to quit smoking for good! - Lowell Kleinman, M.D., and Deborah Messina-Kleinman, M.P.H
Addiction - The Ayurvedic View
Ayurveda considers alcohol and nicotine consumed in large quantities as ‘Visha’ or toxic. According to Ayurveda, alcohol has the following properties-
These properties are all opposite to the qualities that ojas possesses. Ojas has all life-giving properties and alcohol and nicotine have life-negating qualities.
Why do humans get addicted to alcohol and nicotine?
Human brain produces Dopamine normally and what alcohol does is to activate the nervous system to promote dopamine formation. The brain thus remembers the taste of alcohol and nicotine by creating special cells called receptor cells. As a person increases the quantity of alcohol, these cells also increase in numbers. When the person wants to give up his addictions these receptor cells agitate and create withdrawal symptoms with unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms.
In addition, herbs to improve memory, concentration and to fight depression are also given. These are:
In addition, herbs to treat sleep disturbances like Jatamansi, Sarpgandha, Brahmi and Jaiphal are also prescribed. Since most addicts have impaired liver function, herbs that improve liver function like Aloe Vera, Punarnava, Long pepper, Kutki, Tulsi are given to revive the liver. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ayurveda.