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Coffee: To Quit or Not to Quit

Coffee Withdrawal
If you decide to experiment with eliminating caffeine, you’ll quickly discover it’s addictive. Other than the morning fatigue, which can often be reduced with a shower and some vigorous exercise, and the sluggish bowels, which can often be stimulated by another hot drink (although not always as effectively), the main withdrawal symptom is a headache. This usually announces itself as a dull, heavy pain, but it can take the form of a severe tension headache or migraine, beginning 16 to 36 hours after the last cup (depending on the habitual level of consumption) and lasting two to three days.

For those who wish to persist in the cold-turkey approach to self-decaffeination, the homeopathic remedy nux vomica 30c taken nightly for three to seven days may help, especially if the first dose is taken the night before mounting your first assault on the habit. Ease Plus, an herbal remedy based on a traditional Chinese formula, invigorates the liver and digestive system while calming the nervous system all of which may make the transition easier.

Patience also helps, and if worst comes to worst, so may an ounce or two of the offending brew itself. If an abrupt halt seems too radical, a gradual transition may be more palatable, although it will require persistence. Eliminate a cup from your daily quota, stay at that level until you are comfortable, and then eliminate another cup. You can also gradually make the brew less concentrated either by diluting it with water or milk or by substituting black tea. Another trick is to eliminate the sweetener before you begin to eliminate the coffee, especially if you’ve been using sugar. Caffeine and sugar seem to be a particularly habit-forming combination.

Dropping caffeine from your life is like changing any habit the best approach is to make the smallest change possible that still gets the job done: keep the rituals, change only what’s in the cup. Decaf may help in the transition, although if you really want to pursue this, herbal tea, a roasted grain beverage, or hot water mixed with fresh lemon juice and honey are preferable.

Pat Klein, R.Ph., is a pharmacist who has been working in holistic health care for over 25 years.

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Megan, selected from Yoga+ Magazine

Yoga International is an award-winning, independent magazine that contemplates the deeper dimensions of spiritual life--exploring the power of yoga practice and philosophy to not only transform our bodies and minds, but inspire meaningful engagement in our society, environment, and the global community.

429 comments

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4:13AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

I'm not overkeen on coffee actually, I find it too bitter and I can only have very weak coffee so I usually stick to tea! I kind of want to like it though since a lot of other people do but I'm not into it.

3:56AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

I like coffee one cup a day or week it's no problem.

1:40PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

i drink it so infrequently that it probably doesn't effect me much

1:52AM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

4:06PM PST on Feb 13, 2013

Ah heck, no point in giving up now.

8:10AM PST on Feb 7, 2013

Great read,thanks. Everything in moderation...1-2 cups of coffee is okay.

1:17AM PST on Feb 7, 2013

Interesting and useful info, thanks!

8:24AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Useful information.

8:13PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

Thanks

4:27PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

I love my cup of coffee when I get up and I doubt anything will change that, thanks for posting.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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