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A year into the pandemic we have seen a lot of new habits arise and experienced many unforeseen changes. One habit that can negatively affect our health is the increased consumption of alcohol. The escalation of drinking alcohol was so prominent it led the New York Times to write about the Return of Cocktail Hour.

While some have seen it through whimsical eyes, there are also folks whose drinking has become an issue and cause for concern. According to the Cleveland Clinic, here are some of the ways alcohol consumption can have a negative affect on your body:

  1. Makes your body work, keeping it from other processes
  2. Causes bacteria to grow in the gut
  3. Can be bad for your heart
  4. Can develop pancreatitis
  5. Raises risks of some cancers
  6. Negatively affect your immune system


In addition to the impact on relationships and mental health, the biggest side effect from alcohol consumption is on the liver. 

Alcohol and the liver

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, defines heavy drinking as:

  • For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week         
  • For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week

According to Healthline, 8-10% of Americans drink heavily. Of those 10-15% will develop Alcohol-Related Liver Disease (ARLD). There are three stages of ARLD including:

  1. Alcoholic fatty liver disease
  2. Acute alcoholic hepatitis, and
  3. Alcoholic cirrhosis 

The results of these can be long-term health problems and even loss of life. The best thing to do is to take action before you get to a bad place with your liver. The good news is that some of the negative effects in the liver can be healed over time. And usually the steps to complete are:

  1. Work on the process of stopping the consumption of alcohol
  2. Do things to heal the liver


Oriental medicine and acupuncture and how it helps the liver

We can address how acupuncture addresses addiction another time. For now we want to focus on how acupuncture and herbal remedies can help improve your liver functions after alcohol consumption. 


What are drinking-related liver problems caused by in Oriental Medicine?

Whether it’s oriental medicine or western medicine, one of the main functions of the liver is detoxification and is responsible for metabolising nutrients through the decomposition of enzymes that break down food. Alcohol takes a lot of time to detoxify when broken down. It means that the liver is overwhelmed.


What are some ways acupuncture can help with alcohol consumption/ liver health?

As stated earlier, it is best not to drink alcohol. If you consume, your liver would benefit from bean sprout soup and an acupuncture treatment that detoxifies the liver. 


How does Herbal medicine help with alcohol consumption/ liver health?

Herbal medicine can help signficiantly. Everything that detoxifies the liver comes from herbs.


What are some examples of things that Dr. Ko might prescribe?

Glycyrrhiza uralensis (gān cǎo), Radix Bupleuri (Chai Hu), malt suger/maltose (yí tang)


Getting started with acupuncture

If you are ready to explore acupuncture, oriental medicine, and herbal remedies to help your liver book your initial consultation with 120 Acupuncture today. In your initial visit, Dr. Ko will work with you to create a custom plan that will support your path to wellness and guide you toward your health goals.

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