Quitting smoking is a very important decision which usually gets a lot of support from close friends and family.
We all know that quitting cigarettes has to come with a firm decision and conviction from within. Without that solid determination the quitter is bound to fail.
There are numerous ways to help the addict get rid of the craving for the nicotine in the cigarettes. Most of the popular ones deal with replacing the cigarette with another form of nicotine transmittal – through the skin in patches or orally with gums and lozenges, all with the intent to reduce the amount of nicotine absorbed slowly, weaning the body until it doesn’t need the nicotine anymore.
Other ways involve doctor prescribed medications which have to be taken for a prolonged time – sometimes up to three month. Those medications do not replace the nicotine but manipulate the receptors in the brain. Cigarettes are not pleasurable anymore. Those medications have some unwanted side effects and have to be taken under the supervision of a medical professional.
Of course there’s the cold turkey method. Research showed that 90% of people who tried to quit smoking did it cold turkey – the first time. The success rate of a prolonged avoidance of cigarettes is only 10%, but it is definitely a way to stop smoking cigarettes without putting harmful substances into the body.
And there’s the natural way. Some herbs have a reputation for helping with withdrawal from nicotine. Others help calm the nerves and sooth the soul. Most of these can be found in health food stores, either in balk, pills or liquid form. They aim at helping the quitter calm his nerves and make his body stronger to help fight the craving for nicotine.
The quitter should be aware of some of the symptoms nicotine withdrawal can bring. It is a well-documented fact and important to understand that most of cigarette quitters feel the same way. It is equally important to know what to expect and be prepared for it.
- Difficulty in concentration
- Elevated appetite
- Higher blood pressure
- Feeling of restlessness
- Stomach irritability
Here are some of the herbs which can help stave off those symptoms and help the quitter on his way to becoming an ex-smoker:
Quitting Smoking? Herbs to Check:
Lobelia: This is the first herb that comes up when talking about quitting smoking naturally. Lobelia is known to act as a temporary nicotine replacement. Drinking Lobelia tea, they say, has the effect of making cigarettes taste bad. Lobelia has been banned for a short time in 1993 for being ineffective but later research showed that lobeline, the derivative, may increase levels of dopamine in the brain similar to cigarettes. The FDA has allowed it again.
St. John’s wort: has been known for years for its ability to promote positive mental attitude. When quitting cigarettes there is a tendency to feel depressed for a short time. St. John’s wort helps combat that feeling without resorting to medications.
Black Cohosh: In addition to its ability to help women stay balanced during the menstrual cycle, Black Cohosh is a sedative that relieves anxiety and nervousness. Those elements appear sometimes when the body goes through the withdrawal process.
Korean Ginseng: One of the most often used herbal supplements, it is known to stimulate energy and help the body deal with stress. It is also known to help in reducing cholesterol and balancing different body systems. When quitting smoking cigarettes, Korean ginseng helps by alleviating the fatigue and anxiety associated with the process.
Peppermint leaves: have a relaxing effect on the digestive system. It should be drank with every form of nicotine withdrawal, since it is known that nicotine has an effect on the digestive system. A great remedy for gas in babies and adults, it will help regulate the digestive system and avoid constipation that sometimes accompanies the withdrawal.
Valerian root: has been known for generations for its calming properties. It also acts as a muscle relaxant. If you suffer from insomnia and restlessness, valerian is one of the best sedative herbs.
Mimosa tea: is known to improve mood and peace of mind. Using the root bark to make tea, when a person feels anxious, will relieve the feeling of uneasiness.
Blue Vervain: An herb used to treat insomnia. It has calming effects as well.
Passion flower: To help with irritability which is associated with the first few days of the quitting process, the passion flower has the ability to promote calmness and relaxation.
Hyssop: helps in cleaning the mucus that has accumulated in the smoker’s lungs. In the first few days after quitting cigarettes, the body starts to reject the mucus that has been accumulating. The quitter might go through coughing bouts that bring up some of the mucus. Hyssop helps in separating it from the lungs and making it easier to cough it all out. It is recommended not to use any medication to dry up the mucus. Use Hyssop instead to get it out.
Skullcap: encourages the brain to produce more endorphins. It is used in treatment of nervous tension and anxiety.
There are off course some who sell a mixture of herbs to help in smoking cessation. They come under many names and include different combinations of the herbs mentioned here and some that very few know what they are. They might help as well in the road to becoming nicotine free.
It is important to note that all of those herbs have to be taken with an increase in intake of liquids, preferably water. It is equally important to change the diet a bit to accommodate more fruit and vegetables to add fiber to avoid constipation. Experts recommend avoiding dairy foods because they produce mucus. Aromatic herbs such as rosemary, thyme, ginger and cayenne may help the quitter feel better as well.
You can quit smoking the natural way. It is not an easy road, but the rewards of not smoking far out way the limited time difficulty.