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Ways to Get Rid of a Caffeine Addiction

Published | 6 min read

Looking to quit your caffeine addiction? Addressing it with natural remedies may help you kick the craving.

Woman looking regretful as she is about to pour coffee into a tumbler while holding her left fist to her head. 

Are you sipping on a cup of coffee while reading this? And do you take more than two cups of it daily in order to feel like you can function? You may have a caffeine addiction and not realise it.

Normally, coffee, tea, soda, or sports beverages are relatively safe to drink and may even provide health benefits. These include: 

  • Healthier liver enzyme levels 
  • Decreasing breakage of DNA strands in the body. Strong DNA strands reduce the risk of cancer 
  • Helping prevent stroke or Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Helping prevent or suppress the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease 
  • Helping prevent diabetes, kidney disease, and coronary heart disease 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) states that caffeine use can help boost energy levels, increase productivity, and uplift mood by addressing a Qi (vital life force) Deficiency. Over time, however, a tolerance to the stimulant can develop. Consequently, you’ll require higher amounts of caffeine to attain the same psychological effects, triggering a caffeine addiction.

Steps That’ll Help You Kick a Caffeine Addiction for Good

Woman staring into space as she holds bunches of her hair with both hands while sitting at a desk.
An unsatisfied craving for caffeine may result in you losing focus, especially at work.

From TCM’s point of view, if you have an addiction, you’ll always seek external stimuli to satisfy a craving. It’s also possible you’re looking to fill a physical, mental, or emotional void caused by specific body constitution imbalances. 

“Addiction can happen when endogenic pathogens are present in a person’s body. These include Cold, Fire, Phlegm, Dampness, Qi Stagnation, blood clots, and fluids retention.” 

Real Health Medical Senior Physician Brandon Yew

Blood, Qi, and Yin (body fluids and passive energy) and Yang (warming and active energy) Deficiencies within the Heart, Liver, Spleen, Kidneys, and Lungs also contribute to the likelihood of addiction. 

Addressing the root causes of a dependency or an addiction help treat either problem holistically. If you decide to quit caffeine cold turkey, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as: 

  • Difficulty concentrating 

These symptoms can start within 12 to 24 hours after your last caffeine intake, and last for up to two to nine days.

Go cold turkey  

You don’t have to face this alone. Try taking these steps and speaking to people around you:

  • Inform colleagues, family members and managers about your caffeine detox  
  • Ensure that the first two days of the detox period fall on a weekend  
  • Avoid driving 
  • Have pain relievers on standby 
  • Stock up on food and prepare your meals in advance 

Wean off the stimulant gradually 

Reducing your caffeine intake slowly is an ideal alternative to going cold turkey and enables you to manage withdrawal symptoms better.

Coffee and energy drinks should be reduced by a quarter every two to three days. Cut back by half a can of soda or half a cup of tea within the same period.

Use herbal medication and ingredients 

Black garlic cloves
Add black garlic to dishes to improve cellular ageing and fight oxidative stress.

To regulate internal imbalances and keep withdrawal symptoms at bay, Physician Brandon recommends using these herbs: 

  • Cordyceps (dong chong xia cao, 冬虫夏草): Boosts Lungs and Kidneys, improves breathing to reduce fatigue
  • Honey (feng mi, 蜂蜜): Boosts immunity, eases gastric discomfort 
  • Lingzhi (灵芝): Strengthens Lungs to promote better breathing and reduce fatigue, nourishes and calms the Heart to improve quality of sleep 
  • American ginseng (xi yang shen, 西洋参): Replenishes energy and fluids to relieve fatigue and clear body heat 
  • Black garlic (hei suan, 黑蒜): Warms the stomach to promote digestion, improves qi flow to ease distention, neutralises toxins

Other formulas he recommends are: 

  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (补中益气汤) and Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang (当归补血汤): Regenerates Spleen qi and Liver blood 
  • Xiao Yao San (逍遥散): Soothes Liver and increases overall energy, strengthens Spleen qi to remove Dampness, and regenerates blood to nourish the Liver  
  • Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San (丹栀逍遥散): Soothes the Liver to break down blood clots and regenerates blood to nourish the Liver  

A herbal tonic that combines essence of chicken and ginkgo biloba extract, too, may help you stay alert throughout the day.

Stimulate acupressure points through massage

You may relieve withdrawal symptoms by activating specific acupressure points on the body. Examples of these are

  • Bai hui (DU20, 百会): Encourages blood and qi circulation for improved alertness, cognition and mood  
  • Guan yuan (RN4, 关元) and qi hai (RN6, 气海): Revitalises Kidney qi and yang  
  • Zu san li (ST36, 足三里) and feng long (ST40, 丰隆): Strengthens Stomach qi  
  • Tai yang (EX-HN5, 太阳) and feng chi (GB20, 风池): Restores and enhances localised blood and qi circulation for improved alertness, cognition and mood  
  • Tai xi (KI3, 太溪): Revitalises the Kidneys  

Any dependency, including a caffeine addiction, should be treated thoroughly. You must be fully committed to detox, especially if you intend to go cold turkey. The good news? Alternative remedies like herbal medication and acupressure massages can help you with withdrawals.

You should speak to a licensed TCM practitioner before considering these options instead of self-medicating without guidance.

If you’re looking to kick a caffeine addiction and you found this article helpful, share your experience with us in the comments below.

References

  1. Hopkins Medicine. 9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2023]  
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Caffeine: How to Hack It and How to Quit It. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2023]  
  3. Caffeine Informer. Caffeine Detox: How to Quit Caffeine and Break the Addiction. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2023]  

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