Herbs to Help with opiate withdrawal and transition to an opioid-free life.

I get asked multiple times a week for advice to help people get off of oxycontin, hydrocodone, oxycodone and heroin. Methadone and Suboxone can be dangerously hazardous processes that often lead to complex chemical dependencies. Along with seeing a naturopath or tapering off the drugs according to a doctor’s recommendation, here is a list of herbs for assisting getting off opiates!

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)- Cherished for lifting depression, restlessness, insomnia, and can reduce fatigue. If taken regularly it can act as an anti-depressant and boost GABA. Drink tea for breakfast and before bed to assist with withdrawals and mood swings when coming off opiates. Suggested for people who struggle with the mental side of withdraws. The spiral-like loops the tendrils make suggest this plant is fabulous for looping thoughts / habits and a restless mind.

Mucuna puriens - Contains a constituent called levo-dopa, a precursor to dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for enjoyment and feelings of pleasure. Mucuna (and L-dopa) help our bodies naturally produce dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that the brain releases when you're happy! When coming off opiates many individuals experience a lack of happiness and joy due to opiates destroying the pleasure/reward pathway in the brain. Mucuna can re-supply your brain with dopamine and help one find joy and happiness without the aid of opiates. Mucuna can help to reverse depression, boost mood, help with insomnia, and decrease opioid cravings. Mucuna is also an adaptogen and specifically, dopamine is essential for mental function, emotions, and regulates the release of various hormones known to calm the nervous system. Take 1 tsp 3 times a day with maximum dose being 2 grams a day. Can be taken whenever needed if one is lacking in happiness and the pleasure of living.

Ginseng- For those suffering from lack of energy while coming off opiates, ginseng can assist. It can support your adrenal system, help your body deal with the stress from opiate withdrawals, as well as help your body fight fatigue while it's going through many chemical changes. Adaptogens like Korean Ginseng, American Ginseng, Codonopsis, and Peruvian Ginseng (Suma) can help your body maintain a good balance, and in a time where one will be extremely unbalanced, this herb helps to bring vital energy. Take first thing in the morning daily. Adaptogenic herbs work best when continually taken, but you should notice the boost in energy pretty quickly!

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)- An excellent herb for helping with nausea and vomiting. Can reduce stomach discomfort and help assist with low appetite as well as sugar cravings. Also ginger can help reduce bodily inflammation, so those who have used opiates for years for pain can be taking ginger to help reduce that pain and also reduce cramping. Use fresh ginger tea 1-3 times a day with meals to help one keep food down and help reduce the pain from inflammation.

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum or lingzhi) - A fabulous fungi adaptogen to assist while detoxing from opiates. Reishi can provide your body nourishment as well as nourishment to your soul, spirit, or Shen. Reishi can help conquer depression, harmonize and calm the mind and help with focus. This mushroom can improve cardiovascular function, as well as support the liver and assist with expelling opiates from it through cleansing. Drinking Reishi mushroom tea daily will assist with supporting one when coming off opiates, and also boost your overall health. It's not called the mushroom of immortality for nothing! Suggested taking 1-2 times a day for at least a week before you really start to notice an improvement in mood and energy levels, but it's highly recommended to start incorporating this into your daily life. Available from Rainbow Bliss in dual-extract tincture and sliced mushroom form.

Mulungu- An excellent herb to take when experiencing insomnia and restlessness. Mulungu has alkaloids in it that can reduce pain and inflammation, deepen sleep, and reduce anxiety. Not only does it help one fall asleep quicker, but it can also deepen sleep and have you waking feeling more rested. Can be either taken before bed or during the day if a lot of pain and inflammation are present. Mulungu is most effective in the treatment of withdrawals when taken just at night time so it doesn't build a tolerance.

Kava Kava- A Polynesian root used for years and years as a ritual and recreational herb. Kava is beneficial to those who suffer high stress and anxiety while coming off opiates or who are high-stress individuals in general. It can calm the nerves but not cloud one's judgment. Will help reduce cravings and still keep one's mood elevated. Can increase talkative behaviors and help with social anxiety. Great for those who get restless leg syndrome, as it can make you feel heavy and comfortable. It is slightly intoxicating, especially in higher doses.

Skullcap- One of the best herbs to be using for anxiety. It has been used for hundreds of years as a mild relaxant. Coming off opiates can leave one stressed and moody, skullcap can make one feel calm and less likely to snap at ones friends or loved ones. Apart from helping with anxiety, skullcap can also assist with insomnia. Unlike some other sleep-promoting herbs, skullcap won't leave you feeling drowsy in the morning. Skullcap promotes a deep sleep but doesn't make you groggy or tired. It's recommended to take skullcap daily to build in your system and become more effective. Take every night before bed, and if extra stress appears in the day you can always take it again.

St. Johns Wort- Many studies have shown the effectiveness of this plant in fighting Depression and anxiety while having fewer side effects compared to prescription drugs. It makes more serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine available to the brain. Those neurotransmitters are beneficial in boosting the mood and helping treat depression and anxiety. When coming off opiates one will have very big mood swings and usually go through some depression and anxiety. St. Johns wort can help prevent mood swings and help one deal with the stress of withdrawals more effectively. It can be taken daily in tea for or different extracts. 2 times daily is recommended for at least a week to find the most benefits.

Tinctures we have that are effective in helping one with their opiate addiction

Milky Avena - A sublime nerve tonic to ease anxiety and nourish the mind. Known to aid in a cultivating a sense of wholeness and soothe irritation from withdrawals. Safe for children.

Motherwort Heart Healer - Traditionally used for pain & irritation associated with PMS and postpartum. Cools and calms the nervous system and useful for any grieving process.

Grinning Adaptation – Adaptive, bright, intelligent, immune supporting, and root-nourishing. A Shen, Qi, and Jing harmonizing tonic for supporting adrenals, reducing stress, and feeling smiley.

OPI-allevi-ATE – A pain-relieving formula to reduce body aches, opiate or alcohol cravings, and help calm irritability while withdrawing from Rx anti-depressants or pain-killers.

Mulungu – A powerful sedative and nervine used for insomnia, restless mind, shaky legs, nervous tension, back pain and for opiate or alcohol withdrawal.
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