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Aromatherapy support for alcohol abuse.

Aromatherapy support for alcohol abuse.

  1. Februar 2022 from Maria Hoch

Dependence on alcohol can develop gradually, but once it’s there, it becomes difficult to drink in moderation.

Take the test:

If you are concerned about your own relationship with alcohol, you can use tests from the World Health Organization (WHO) to find out how dependent you are on alcohol, such as the Face Test (Fast Acohol consumption Evaluation).

The month of January is the namesake for a new practice from the United Kingdom, “Dry January” or “alcohol-free January.”

The principle is simple:

Not drinking a drop of alcohol for a month is a real challenge, especially because alcohol, and wine in particular, is a symbol of tradition and gastronomy in France.

So it’s no coincidence that France is one of the countries with the highest alcohol consumption in the world. But even if a few glasses of alcohol at the weekend or on festive occasions are synonymous with conviviality and relaxation, alcohol consumption is problematic when it is difficult to control. When one can no longer do without alcohol, one speaks of alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence. According to the 2017 Health Barometer, alcoholism affects 10% of people in France.


For adult women and men, the following guideline values apply:

No more than 10 glasses of standard 10 g alcohol (beer, wine or high-proof alcohol such as whiskey) per week; No more than 2 glasses per day; and No more than two days of alcohol per week.

“The danger is that if you exceed these limits, it becomes difficult to moderate your alcohol consumption,” explains Francoise Couic-Marinier, PhD, a pharmacist and aromatherapist.


Neurological impairment

Destruction of the intestinal microbiota, inflammation, attacks on the liver and kidneys, depressive syndrome, impairment of memory.

Cognitive disorders are observed in more than 50% of alcohol addicts.

Some diseases are even attributed exclusively to alcohol, such as alcoholism or neurological diseases like Gayet-Wernicke encephalopathy

(due to acute vitamin B1 deficiency) and Korsakoff syndrome (a form of amnesia). Alcohol is also a risk factor for cancer and cardiovascular disease, which is why it is crucial to become aware of your addiction as an alcoholic.


When addiction takes hold

“Habituation is silent and permanent.”

When you drink, the ingested alcohol triggers a release of dopamine and serotonin in the brain’s reward circuitry.

“This release of dopamine leads to a state of well-being, a feeling of being less shy and more free, which eventually leads to a psychological dependence on alcohol,” explains the aromatherapist.

Conversely, the decrease in dopamine and serotonin leads to stress, anxiety and withdrawal symptoms that lead to consumption. While there is no actual addiction gene, genetic, behavioral and environmental factors make us more susceptible to alcohol:

Exposure during adolescence or even in the womb, a personality that seeks sensation and risk-taking, lack of parental supervision….

And when habituation sets in, you may want to have a glass in the morning after getting up.

The consequences of withdrawal can also be physical and emotional: shaky hands, sweating, racing heart, feelings of anxiety, depression or mental restlessness.

“On the road to alcohol withdrawal” reduce alcohol consumption and drink at longer intervals.


Olfactory blend with aroma/inhalation stick:


Calming, invites to let go, helps to gain distance.


Regulate excessive alcohol consumption, either once or regularly.


For a 10ml bottle ( for 1ml = 25 drops/gtt)

Essential oil

Marjoram – Origanum Majorana 50gtt

Angelica – Angelica Archangelica 10gtt

Litsea – Litsea Cubeba 10gtt

Basil – Ocimum basilicum var. Basilicum 30gtt

Bergamot – Citrus bergamia 50gtt



Put 2 drops of the mixture on a handkerchief or 15 drops on the wick of an aroma/inhalation stick. Inhale deeply with eyes closed for 1 to 2 minutes as soon as the desire to drink arises, or while drinking to limit the number of glasses.


Inhale up to 5 times daily. Use for 1 to 2 months if drinking daily.


o people under 18 years, people with psychosis, because it contains methylchavicol (basil).

o no sunbathing if bergamot is included in the formula.


A companion in the withdrawal

There are different methods of withdrawal (specialized clinics, medication, hypnosis), but it is questionable whether essential oils are effective in this type of disease, since no scientific study has proven their positive effect in alcohol dependence. However, in some hospitals they can accompany withdrawal and help limit the number of glasses consumed.

Several aroma products are also marketed. Some act on the neurotransmitters involved in alcohol consumption.

Aromatic molecules mimic the effects of alcohol on the dopaminergic system, allowing for a smooth withdrawal, explains Francoise Couic -Marinier. Others contribute to the regulation of emotions (anger, fear, sadness…) that trigger the need for alcohol.

“The volatile scent molecules of essential oils come into contact with olfactory receptors, which then transmit a nerve impulse to the limbic brain that deals with emotions, describes the expert. As emotions are regulated, the phenomenon of compensation by alcohol is reduced.”


Olfactory blend with aroma roll-on:

Anti-relapse formula/relapse prevention:


Calming, relaxing, emotionally balancing.


– Accompaniment of alcohol withdrawal

Essential oil

Chamomile Roman – Matricaria recutita (L.) 30gtt

Angelica – Angelica archangelica 30gtt

Petit Grain – Citrus aurantium ssp aurantium 30gtt

Jojoba oil – Simondsia Chinensis 10ml


For a 10ml roll-on essential oil 1ml = 25 drops/gtt).


In a 10ml roll-on, add the first two essential oils, then add 30 drops of one or two essential oils, depending on the feelings you are experiencing:

Petit Grain for anger or inner violence,

Lavender for anxiety, Bergamot or Marjoram for sadness,

Laurel in the context of shyness or lack of self-confidence,

basil when you can not be reasonable and set limits,

supplement with jojoba and fill the roll on.

Directions for use:

Regardless of when weaning began, make 2 to 3 rounds with the roll on on one wrist and then inhale deeply for 1 to 2 minutes with eyes closed.


Massage the roll-on and inhale as soon as the craving for alcohol occurs.


o Not suitable for pregnant or lactating women; no sunbathing if bergamot is included in the formula.

o Do not use laurel on epileptics.


“Control Yourself.”

In addition to aromatherapy, several techniques can help limit the amount of alcohol consumed, such as for the duration of a month.

– Set a maximum number of glasses per day and keep a drinking diary to motivate adherence to this limit.

– Decide to drink alcohol only on weekends, or set days of the week when you allow yourself the right to drink.

– If you have a party or celebration during the week, drink slowly, eat with it, and alternate drinking water or nonalcoholic beverages, such as soft drinks.

– Contact a patient organization or support group if you feel you need psychological support to get through.


“Angelica the anti-addiction star.”

“The essential oil for addiction is angelica root:

It has an anxiety-relieving and calming effect due to its monoterpenes and coumarins. You inhale it to act directly on dopamine receptors in the brain, mimicking the euphoric aspect of alcohol.”

It is used by addiction therapists in hospitals in Toulouse, Colmar and Marseille.

To better deal with emotions, it should be supplemented with marjoram, which mimics the joyful effects of alcohol, preventing mood lows.

Marjoram is also called “the magnesium of aromatherapy” in German-speaking countries.

Bergamot exudes a positive action/scent due to its content of coumarins, including bergapten. “Bergamot essential oil is the flashlight at the end of the tunnel.”

For anxiety and aggression, Roman chamomile and Litsea cubeba, which smells very fresh and invites lightness thanks to its citrals content (citrus), help.

“The basil, due to its psychoactive molecule, methylchavicol, has a slightly floating effect and helps to distance oneself from addiction,” explains Francoise Couic- Marinier.

The laurel is a useful tool to overcome shyness the synergistic action of the molecules of this essential oil, especially the lactones, allows to increase self-confidence.


“These oils, diluted in a suitable vegetable oil, can also be massaged on the wrists and then deeply inhaled, which has a fairly comprehensive effect to counteract addiction.

Anne Perron

Translation of the medicinal plant magazine ” Plantes et Santé n°233 January 2022″, article by Dr. Francoise Couic – Marinier, pharmacist , lecturer in phyto-aromatherapy at the University of Besançon (France), author of “Aromatherapsy” – Mieux vivre ses émotions avec les huiles essentielles, l’autohypnose et la méditation 2021.


Translated By.J.Doveri Median Achertalklinik Ottenhöfen

Our member Josiane Doveri has provided us with this interesting article, thank you dear Josi!

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