Dry July is not just about abstaining from alcohol: it’s a time to focus on nourishing and supporting our bodies, particularly our hardworking liver and kidneys.

This detoxifying month can benefit and heal our whole bodies if combined with herbal formulations, dietary adjustments and hydration. As a naturopath, I believe this holistic approach will ensure optimal health during this month and beyond.

Dry July originated in Australia in 2008 with the intention of promoting a month of sobriety while also raising funds for people affected by cancer. It does this by encouraging participants to seek sponsorship for their sobriety to raise money for cancer patients and their families. Some  Australia-specific charities that you can support through Dry July and beyond are:

  • Dry July Foundation
  • Cancer Council South Australia
  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • Cancer Council Queensland
  • Cancer Connections

Alcohol, and particularly large quantities of alcohol, can put our body and many of its organs under a lot of stress. This stress can impact our health in countless ways and lead to health issues that are hard to treat later down the track. Abstaining from alcohol for large periods of time means our bodies can relax, heal and detoxify, by being given the time to stop working in overdrive.

Breaking the habit of drinking can be challenging, both physically and mentally, and as a naturopath, I understand the importance of addressing all aspects of addiction; the physical and the neurotransmitters, which play a significant role in addiction and cravings. Although addiction is a strong and scary word, and one that you may not relate to, the cravings associated with alcohol (and alcohol addiction) can be viewed through the same lens and will therefore be discussed below. Breaking the habit of drinking from a naturopathic perspective means N- Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) and neurotransmitter support.

Understanding the mechanisms of addiction:

Alcohol creates complex interactions in the brain, particularly the dopamine reward pathway. Alcohol consumption triggers a release of dopamine which results in pleasurable sensations and reinforces the desire to drink. Breaking the habit of drinking requires addressing this neurochemical dependence.

N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) and its role:

NAC is a natural amino acid derivative known for its powerful antioxidant properties. There have been recent studies that show NAC may help to reduce cravings, particularly for alcohol and other addictive substances. It has also been shown to replenish levels of glutathione, a crucial antioxidant that aids in detoxification and protects the brain from oxidative stress.

Neurotransmitter support:

Supporting neurotransmitter balance while recovering from alcohol addiction can help to stabilise mood, reduce cravings, and improve overall well-being. A naturopathic approach involves understanding each individual’s unique needs, taking into consideration genetic variations (such as the MTHFR snyp) and customising treatment plans to address the imbalances in neurotransmitter function.

By working with a naturopath you can find a comprehensive approach to breaking the habit of drinking by addressing emotional, physical, and genetic factors. They can tailor treatment plans to suit your unique, individual needs, taking into account your health history, detoxification capacity, genetic variations, and desired lifestyle changes. Working with a naturopath also ensures ongoing support, guidance, and adjustments as needed throughout the process.

So what are some things that can support us through quitting alcohol, be it for Dry July or for good?

Herbal Formulations

Herbal supplements play a key role in supporting the liver and kidneys when abstaining from alcohol. Some of the herbs that can make a powerful difference are:

  • Milk Thistle: It is known for its hepatoprotective properties and aids in detoxification. It can help to regenerate liver cells and protect against damage from alcohol or other harmful substances.
  • Globe Artichoke: Rich in antioxidants and supports the liver function by promoting bile production and enhancing digestion. It also contains detoxifying properties, helping to eliminate waste from the body.
  • Pellitory of Wall: This herb diuretic properties, meaning it can promote healthy kidney function and help eliminate toxins through the urinary system. It can also reduce inflammation and promote the elimination of waste.
  • Corn Silk: This is also a natural diuretic and aids in flushing the toxins from the kidneys. It supports urinary tract health and aids in reducing inflammation.

Acid-Alkaline Balancing Diet

Adopting a diet that helps to balance the acid-alkaline levels in your body will further aid in the detoxification when abstaining from alcohol. Incorporating more alkaline-forming foods such as leafy greens, fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps to reduce the acid buildup in the body meaning the load on the liver and kidneys is lessened, leaving them to function optimally. For more information on acid-alkaline diets, and how this can support you and your health, read this blog.


To support our body’s natural detoxification processes, it is essential that we stay properly hydrated. Drinking an adequate amount of water daily will help to flush out toxins, keep kidneys hydrated, and support our overall organ function.

Self Care

Nurturing your overall health is so important during a period of change. And during a process of detoxification through Dry July is no exception. Reducing stress by engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature can support the body’s detoxification efforts. Adequate sleep is also crucial as it allows for proper restoration and rejuvenation.

If you wanted to try Dry July, have already started but feel it is too difficult, or would like to break the habit of drinking in general, know you have support in Charmaine. There are tools to be utilised that can help and make this complex process easier on you.

In conclusion, a naturopath can help you navigate the complex time of breaking the habit of drinking. Through the holistic lens of physical, emotional, and genetic influences, a naturopath can help cater treatments and support that best help you achieve whatever goal you may have. Personalised treatment plans, and continued support give you the best chance for long-lasting, sustainable change.