Friday, December 20, 2013

Herbal treatments To Assist Quit Smoking

Herbs to Help Stop Smoking

The United States Surgeon General states that smoking is the leading preventable disease in the U.S. With more than six million deaths a year, the obvious negative affects of smoking are serious. Aside for an increased risk of death, many other debilitating diseases are directly linked to smoking such as cancer, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Quitting seems more than obvious, yet millions of people continue the daily habit. Holistic medicine in the form of herbs may provide assistance to people ready to get off of the dangerous habit.


Most people who smoke consider giving up the habit. Unfortunately, nicotine, a substance found in tobacco plants is addictive and produces a slightly stimulating reaction. Nicotine passes through the lungs and affects the brain in about 10 seconds. Heart rate, blood pressure and a person's breathing rate increase. Dopamine, a brain chemical that induces a sense of pleasure, is released, calming the smoker. Nicotine withdrawal can cause a smoker to abandon his efforts to quit.

Nicotine Gum

One herb, Lobelia is perceived by the body as nicotine because it helps to ease the craving for cigarettes. It is a primary ingredient in many forms of nicotine gum and the dried herb can be used as a rolled cigarette. Lobelia is a strong muscle relaxer and should be used with caution.

Herbal Cigarettes

Smoking herbs to help curtail tobacco smoking appears counter-intuitive, however, there is logic behind the idea. In addition to nicotine, mass produced cigarettes have other chemicals from growing the tobacco or manufacturing the cigarettes. Another important aspect is that smokers also act out the ritual of lighting a cigarette for the sensory pleasure. Cutting out this stimuli can sabotage efforts to quit smoking.

Herbal cigarettes can be purchased pre-rolled at most tobacco shops or hand rolled. Although herbal cigarettes do not contain nicotine, they do contain tar, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Herbal cigarettes should only be used as a transition aid while going through nicotine withdrawal.

Herbs have healing properties and if used for a short time can help ease the transition to becoming a non-smoker. Mullein is a good example of a useful herb to aid during tobacco withdrawal and it is soothing to inflamed lung tissue, functioning as an expectorant to move congestion. The plant has a light taste that can be used alone or in combination with other herbs as part of the transition.

Horehound and Coltsfoot are both strong expectorants. Use small amounts of these herbs as they will clear the lungs and cause the user to cough. Another herb that has been effective is Jimson weed seeds. However, it should only be used with extreme care as it can cause a hallucinogenic affect.

Other Remedies

Many other herbs can help ease the dependence on tobacco and can be taken as teas, tinctures or pills. Oat Straw is a nerve tonic that stimulates the central nervous system gently. Valerian is a sedative often used to induce sound sleep. It reduces anxiety which helps with withdrawal symptoms. St. John's Wort is also a nervous system tonic. It is typically known for its anti-depressant properties. The herb contains hypericin, a mood enhancer.

Many health stores carry prepared mixtures of various herbs to help smokers. Use these products according to recommended use as they may contain strong expectorant or muscle relaxant properties.


An herbalist can determine the correct combination or quantity of herbs that support the body during the nicotine withdrawal and detoxification process. Health food stores often have trained herbalist or one can be located through the American Herbalist Guild.

Quitting smoking is not easy, but the health benefits are obvious. The use of herbs can be beneficial during the transition. Also, practice other means of caring for the body during this time. Get plenty of sleep, avoid overeating, drink plenty of water, and get gentle exercise.

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