Withdrawal from any type of drug can be a very difficult task and withdrawal from narcotics or opiates is no exception. Withdrawal from opiates may produce a number of physical and mental effects on the body. The extent of the effects may depend on several factors that include the type of opiate and the addiction period. For those who are already unhealthy, opium withdrawal can be dangerous. That is why people who know that they are addicted to opiates and want to quit are told to join a detox program or ask for medical professional help. However, many people prefer natural remedies over prescribed medications. This is the use of various natural products such as certain vitamins, minerals and herbs like milk thistle for opiate withdrawal.
Opiates refer to all narcotic opioid alkaloids that are derived from the opium poppy plant. These include Vicodin, Oxycontin, morphine and heroin. It is very easy to get addicted to opiates, given that an opiate causes an addictive feeling or high. However, withdrawal can be quite difficult. The physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal include nausea, diarrhea and sweating, together with mental symptoms such as insomnia, restlessness, anxiety and depression. These disturbing symptoms make addicts give up their attempts to quit the drug and make them return to their old ways.
During withdrawal, your body may be depleted of several neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine, and stress hormones. This may cause depression and anxiety, which are usually manifested by people undergoing drug withdrawal. Milk thistle for opiate withdrawal might not appear as an antidepressant and mood stabilizer at first. However, a clogged and unhealthy liver could not break down stress hormones or neurotransmitters properly. Despite milk thistle being a liver detoxifier, it is traditionally considered as an herbal antidepressant.
Oftentimes, people experiencing narcotic withdrawal have drug-induced liver damage, medically termed as drug-induced hepatotoxicity. As such, it is important to help the liver recover and do its natural functions – getting rid of body toxins, which include leftover opiates. To do this, you may take supplements that might improve liver health like milk thistle. Milk thistle contains silymarin, an active compound known for its liver-protecting properties as well as its ability to restore damaged cells. The use of milk thistle for opiate withdrawal can restore the liver so it can filter and eliminate the opiates from your body.
Another beneficial effect of silymarin is its anti-oxidative activity, which removes free radicals or toxins that build up in times of stress, such as during opiate detoxification. Antioxidants such as silymarin from milk thistle bind to these free radicals and get rid of them from the body. Other silymarin effects include the increase of glutathione production, which also removes toxins.
Besides taking milk thistle for opiate withdrawal, drinking plenty of water can greatly contribute to the detoxification by washing out the opiate residues from the body. It also prevents the body from dehydrating due to excessive sweating and diarrhea during acute withdrawal stages. Herbalists also claim that eating other detoxifying herbs such as garlic, parsley leaf, ginger root and green leafy vegetables help cleanse the liver and the entire body as well.