Have you made the decision to quit smoking? Have you decided that you’d like to do it the all-natural way? If quitting cold turkey seems like a monumental challenge, you just might consider some all-natural herbs and other simple, inexpensive remedies available in your local health food store, grocery, or even in your home office!
A few weeks before you plan to cut back on your nicotine intake, you might want to begin taking the herb St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum). It has been touted as the all-natural alternative to Prozac, and its calming and anti-depressant properties have been known for centuries.
The next herb you might want to try is wild oat (avena sativa). It has been widely used in folk medicine to treat insomnia and nervous exhaustion. It can help calm your rattled nervous system, and studies have shown that it can also help reduce nicotine cravings. The best form to try is a liquid tincture (found in most health food stores), the suggested dosage is 10 drops dissolved in water or juice, three times per day. (A higher dose is not necessarily toxic, but can cause headaches.) Wild oat is a mild herb, and adverse reactions are uncommon.
If wild oat doesn’t do the job on your cravings, you can stop taking it and give lobelia (lobelia inflata) a try. (It is a stronger herb, and should be used with caution, as very high doses can be toxic.) Lobelia can be quite effective as a nicotine replacement, as it causes an effect in the body which is similar to nicotine, but it is not addictive. It’s best to start using lobelia if you have already given up smoking cigarettes but are still experiencing nicotine cravings. Do not use lobelia if you are still smoking – combined use of cigarettes and lobelia can intensify nicotine side effects. Try a tincture – 10 drops dissolved in water or juice, three times per day. (Or try placing a few drops under your tongue as needed, when cravings hit.) Do not use lobelia if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Another natural remedy for quitting smoking can be found in your kitchen or grocery store. A combination of orange juice and cream of tartar is said to help flush nicotine from your system, thereby reducing your cravings for it. Your cravings should subside more each day as more nicotine is flushed from your body. Mix one half teaspoon of cream of tartar (found in the spice section of your local grocery) in a glass of orange juice, and drink it right before bed each night.
Some natural substances can actually create a taste in your mouth which lessens your desire for a cigarette. When you find yourself wanting to smoke, try putting a drop of clove oil on your finger and applying it to the back of your tongue. (Clove oil can be found at most health food stores.)
Some natural remedies to help you quit smoking don’t involve ingesting or tasting anything at all. The “rubber band cure” is just such a method. There is actually research indicating that this simple method is quite effective: Place a medium-size thick rubber band around your wrist (not too tight, it should not make a mark or cut off circulation), and when the urge to smoke hits, pull the rubber band back and snap it on your wrist. It will sting, but it can also break the cycle of craving.
As with any program that involves taking medicine or supplements – natural or otherwise – it is best to consult with a physician before beginning. There are natural practitioners in every state who can guide you through the difficult process of quitting smoking. It may take a while, and it may be one of the toughest things you’ve ever done. But you will be glad you had the persistence once you’re living a healthier and more satisfying life without a cigarette addiction.