Smoking cigarettes is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, so it's only natural that you want to try anything that might help you quit. Many people try natural remedies and studies do show promising results.
Nicotine is the main addictive drug in tobacco that makes quitting so hard. Cigarettes are designed to rapidly deliver nicotine to your brain. Inside your brain, nicotine triggers the release of chemicals that make you feel good. As nicotine stimulates parts of your brain over and over, your brain gets used to having nicotine around.
Over time, nicotine changes how your brain works and makes it seem like you need nicotine just to feel normal. That’s why, when you stop smoking, you get irritable and you might even get anxious or upset. You might have a hard time concentrating or sleeping, have strong urges to smoke, or just feel generally uncomfortable. These feelings are all related to withdrawal. The good news is this improves over a few weeks after quitting as your brain gets used to not having nicotine around.
Be aware that some quit-smoking medicines contain nicotine. This gives you a safe way to get used to not having so much nicotine from cigarettes in your brain.
After you quit it may be hard for you to do your usual routines without a cigarette in your hand. Many people associate smoking with activities they do during the day, like taking breaks, drinking a cup of coffee, finishing a meal, talking with friends, or using the phone. These are known triggers.
Emotions can also trigger an urge to smoke. So when you quit, one of these feelings can trigger the urge to smoke.
When you quit, you will figure out a unique way to get through your routines without cigarettes. And you will figure out how to deal with feeling stressed or down without smoking.
The good news is that millions of people have quit smoking for good, and most report feeling better after they’ve smoke-free for a while.
Black pepper essential oil may reduce the severity of cigarette cravings. In one study, participants inhaled one drop of pepper oil on a tissue for two minutes whenever they were struck with a craving[i].
St. John's Wort:
St. John's Wort is an herb, it is used to treat the symptoms of depression, symptoms of menopause, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), among many other conditions. That said, it is not proven to be an effective long-term treatment for depression; it is also not proven to be effective in treating more severe types of depression. In the same way it shows promise in smoking cessation also [iii]. Please be aware that St. John's Wort can alter the body's metabolism of many drugs and also natural supplements or herbs so please do check with your doctor or any other practitioners prior to use.
Tobacco smoking is associated with lower concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants in the bloodstream, particularly vitamin C [iv]. Medicinal herbs such as astragalus has a high antioxidant capacity, and studies show they have a role in reducing withdrawal symptoms[v].
Both these supplements will support immunity, as smokers are seen to have lower functioning immune systems[vi].
Green tea- is one of the herbal remedies most commonly used to control cravings. It can be used to replace coffee or English breakfast tea, it’s also available in supplement form (try Green tea capsules)[vii].
Lifestyle modifications can greatly affect your ability to quit smoking. Here are some actions you can take:
Hypnotherapy is a type of treatment, in which a person is brought into a a state of consciousness that is deeply connected with their inner thoughts and feelings. This may help patients cope with emotional distress and trauma. Hypnosis is generally considered a safe treatment when performed by a trained therapist or professional[ii].
Acupuncture has also been recommended as an alternative therapy to support smoking cessation.
[i] Barbara Cordell and Jane Buckle.The Effects of Aromatherapy on Nicotine Craving on a U.S. Campus: A Small Comparison Study.The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.Aug 2013.709-713.
[ii] Williamson A. What is hypnosis and how might it work? Palliative Care: Research and Treatment. January 2019.
[iii] Di YM, Li CG, Xue CC, Zhou SF. Clinical drugs that interact with St. John’s wort and implication in drug development. Curr Pharm Des. 2008;14(17):1723-1742.
[iv] Schectman G, Byrd JC, Gruchow HW. The influence of smoking on vitamin C status in adults. Am J Public Health. 1989; 79: 158-162.
[v] Lee H-J, Lee J-H. Effects of medicinal herb tea on the smoking cessation and reducing smoking withdrawal symptoms. Am J Chinese Medi. 2005; 33: 127-138.
[vi] Rungruanghiranya MS, Ekpanyaskul MC, Sakulisariyaporn C, Watcharanat P, Akkalakulawas K. Efficacy of fresh lime for smoking cessation. J Med Assoc Thai. 2012; 95: 76-82.
[vii] Yan J, Di X, Liu C, Zhang H, Huang X, Zhang J, Zhao Y, Zhang L, Chang Y, Liang Y, Tao R, Zhao B. The cessation and detoxification effect of tea filters on cigarette smoke. Sci China Life Sci. 2010 May;53(5):533-41
[viii] Masento, N., Golightly, M., Field, D., Butler, L., & Van Reekum, C. (2014). Effects of hydration status on cognitive performance and mood. British Journal of Nutrition, 111(10), 1841-1852.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.