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By Ray Thorpe, Founder of Happy Herb Co 

To be quite honest, I enjoy drinking alcohol. Like many, I drink it for the relaxing feeling it gives me, especially after a busy day.

I believe I am qualified to speak on the subject after drinking almost daily for 55 years and being the founder of the Happy Herb Co, whose raison d’être is promoting non-addictive options to minimize harm and addiction from substances, such as alcohol.

For a start, it is a good idea to break your dependence upon alcohol by giving up alcohol for a month or even dedicating a day to it each week. What works for me, is picking one day a week. I deliberately do not drink each Monday, telling myself I can look forward to a drink tomorrow. Gee, I love Tuesdays!

Someone told me recently that there’s a certain dignity and self-esteem when you deny your habit, whether it be for a month or a regular day of the week. That way you feel in control of your habit. I definitely agree with this. Another reason to participate in Dry July, beyond the health benefits for your mind, body, and soul.

When drinking socially, there are a few simple habits that can help reduce harm. The very best, and easiest, habit is to have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. I especially recommend sparkling water, so that way you are protecting your liver (and your behaviour) at the same time! I also suggest taking Milk Thistle before and after an evening of drinking, as it can greatly reduce hangover symptoms and help protect your liver. I will talk more about this herb in a second!

Here are two herbs that are key to have on hand to minimize the harm associated with drinking, whether you choose to participate in Dry July or not.

1. Relax & Unwind with Damiana

I drink socially, although not to excess (or I try not to anyway)! It helps relax and ease any social anxiety. The good news is, there are healthier & non-addictive herbs that can have similar effects, minus the hangover!

We have found that Damiana tea puts you in the mood, somehow puts you off drinking alcohol, and is an alternate way to reduce your alcohol consumption, while tonifying your kidneys as well.

One teaspoon of damiana steeped in a pot of hot water makes quite a fragrant and pleasant-tasting tea that many will enjoy. Beyond the good taste, it uplifts the spirit and relaxes the body.

Drinking damiana tea easily substitutes alcohol for social occasions and many have reported that they desire less alcohol after drinking damiana. We have found that people who have given up cannabis, and even alcohol, enjoy the occasional damiana  tea and/or smoke for its relaxation and happy feelings, three-dimensional effect, and colour enhancement, without any side effects and hangover.

Anyway, it’s great that you do dry hjuyl, but it’s best to detox your body through this process and get the most out of it!

People often talk about detox diets and juices etc but I believe there is no need to as there is a marvelous herb the detoxes your liver and that’s:

2. Detox & Liver Support with Milk Thistle 

Milk Thistle, aka St. Mary’s Thistle, is indeed an amazing herb. It may have anti- depressant effects and work as an incredible liver tonic.

We must remember that alcohol is a poison and is toxic especially to the liver. I am reminded of this recently because I have a friend in hospital with just six months given to live. On inquiry I learned that it was because of liver problems, due to her high consumption in earlier life. On learning this I immediately expressed Milk Thistle to her. My friend is undergoing tests and I am confident that her inflamed liver will restore to normality.

As I wrote earlier I’m a regular drinker (I love my two glasses of red wine at night), but perhaps I wouldn’t be if I suffered hangovers as I used to do in the past. I never have a hangover now as I take MILK THISTLE probably 2-3 times a week and I always feel fully up and alive the next day.

By the way, a symptom of a struggling liver is the dark lines underneath the lower eyelids, irritability, waking up tired in the morning, or even jaundice (yellow skin appearance).

Cheers to Dry July (and if you still drink after July, I suggest trying picking at least one day to abstain), and take Milk Thistle for harm reduction!

Love your liver!

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