Alternative medicine coupled with conventional and psychosocial therapies has been shown to be greatly effective in treating chronic alcoholism with positive treatment outcomes. Herbs like Kudzu, Tangerine Peel, Gentian and Bupleurum have been used efficaciously to treat chronic alcoholism and reduce liver toxicity. This article reviews the herbs Kudzu, Tangerine Peel, Gentian and Bupleurum with respect to their actions on the enzymes alcohol and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. We further explore the genetic and pathophysiological basis of alcoholism while unraveling genetic polymorphisms in the genes involved in metabolic and effector action pathways that have an important bearing on why some individuals are addicted to alcohol, have severe withdrawal response and increased tendency to relapse. In this article we mainly discuss the role of alternative medicine, specifically in context with the above mentioned herbs for their role in inhibiting production of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, suppressing craving, regulating blood glucose balance and reducing hepatotoxicity in chronic alcoholics.