Recent reports in the media reveal that some four million people suffer from alcohol dependence and 4,000 people die of alcohol-related deaths in the UK every year.

Throughout the world and since time immemorial, alcohol has held a special position in society, used by people to entertain, socialise and celebrate special occasions.

Great poets such as Khalil Gibran wrote famous poetry using alcohol as an analogy for love, beautiful women and life.

But communities have also been aware of the evil effects of too much alcohol on people, resulting in many losing their lives, committing serious offences, losing money and the break-up of marriages.

While a glass of wine or a pint of beer now and again helps you relax, relieves fatigue, enhances a sense of well-being and aids circulation, the problem lies with the addictive nature of alcohol.

Too much alcohol can cause disinhibition and even depression.

How do we control our intake of alcohol?

When someone suffers grief, anxiety or depression, alcohol is often the first thing they reach for. Providing friendly groups for people to share and obtain reassurance without prejudice seems to be a difficult notion in modern living.

Counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy, coaching for younger people and adults on personal skills to help cope with life situations are helpful tools.

These are available at various adult education centres and perhaps they should be introduced into the school curriculum.

Yoga and yogic breathing or pranayam are powerful exercises which help to wean people off alcohol. They enable the individual to take control of their lives and harness their own inner strength.

The Ayurvedic remedy for alcohol dependence is ashwagandha arishtha - a medicated herbal wine made from the root of withania somniferra, which rebalances brain cells.

Herbs such as curcumin, liqourice, wild yam, terminalia chebula, star aniseed, ginger, long pepper and cardamom are fermented and added to floral essences in flower remedies.

These ingredients are powerful rejuvenators and curcumin protects the liver, vital in treating alcohol dependence.

Cyavanprash, made from Indian Gooseberry, honey, fruits and herbs, provide energy and nutrition.

Amla (vitamin C), tinospora cordifolia and curcumin extract also repair liver cells.

Anyone who drinks alcohol should keep the following herbal remedies in their store cupboard: Ashwagandha arishtha, Chyavanprash (Energy Plus), ginger and blackpepper tea, ashwagangha capsules, curcumin powder.

After a hangover, 20 to 30ml of ashwagandha arishtha and cups of ginger and nutmeg tea will restore normal brain function in no time. Add half a teaspoon of ginger, black pepper and nutmeg tea to half a pint of warm water, half a cup of fruit juice or lemon juice and a touch of rock salt.

Drink this up before you leave for work the morning after the night before.

Dr Milind Jani works as a conventional and holistic GP and Dr Asmita Jani as Ayurvedic Consultant from 3 Eaton Gardens, Hove.

Call them on: 01273 777448 or email: