What Are The Best Herbal Remedies to Help You Quit Smoking?
According to the CDC, out of every 100 adults in the United States, 14 of them smoke cigarettes and 68% of these people say that they want to quit smoking.
Despite many different over-the-counter medications being available in the Western world to combat smoking addiction, many people prefer to use more natural options.
Eastern treatments for smoking cessation use herbal remedies and forms of alternative medicine to tackle the addiction. There are several different kinds of remedies that have been shown to reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and make ditching cigarettes much easier.
Some common natural alternatives to smoking include acupuncture, essential oils, and lifestyle changes.
Even though every natural remedy for quitting smoking has anecdotal evidence showing its effectiveness, they might not all work for you. To figure out which approach suits you the best, you will need to try each method along your smoking cessation journey.
You might find that acupuncture works perfectly to reduce your nicotine cravings or you might find certain essential oils better for you. It’s all down to trial and error when it comes to alternative remedies for quitting smoking.
In this article, we’re going to cover whether or not herbal remedies can help to curb nicotine cravings and quit smoking once and for all. We’re also going to cover some of the most commonly used herbal remedies for smoking cessation.
What Are Herbal Remedies?
Herbal remedies contain plant extracts. Lots of phytocompounds (plant compounds) have been shown to provide amazing benefits for physical and mental health.
Different herbal remedies can be used in the treatment of certain medical conditions. They can reduce the activation of your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and increase the activation of your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).
Herbal solutions can also be used to help people quit smoking. They can lower stress and anxiety, two of the most common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and reduce cravings to make smoking cessation easier and more manageable.
How Effective Are Herbal Remedies for Quitting Smoking?
There are hundreds of different plant compounds that might benefit you on your quit smoking journey. They are available in a variety of forms, including oils, creams, balms, and teas.
The evidence for using herbal remedies to help you become smoke-free is promising. Most of the evidence is based on Ancient medical practice and anecdotal reports but it highlights the effectiveness of using different plants to stop nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
The effectiveness of natural quit smoking aids can differ from person to person. Even if you find a few particular herbal remedies to be helpful in helping you quit smoking, you might find others have no effect on you. It’s worth trying several different remedies before you settle on one or two.
If you’ve tried multiple herbal remedies to help you quit smoking and none of them have been helpful for you, there are other things that you can try, including:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy
- Lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly and reducing alcohol consumption
- Meditation and mindfulness
What Are the Best Herbal Remedies for Quitting Smoking?
Here are some of the best herbal remedies to quit smoking.
Green tea is abundant in polyphenols, which are antioxidants found naturally in the green tea plant. These polyphenols can protect your cells against oxidative damage that is caused by the carcinogens in cigarette smoke.
Smokers are at an increased risk of developing COPD. The plant compounds found in green tea have been shown to lower the risk of COPD in people who previously smoked. It may also reduce the severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Drinking green tea can also help to reduce nicotine cravings during your detox from smoking. It contains a number of other beneficial nutrients, such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, that can contribute to improved overall health and well-being.
One trial found that when smokers drank green tea filters for two months, cigarette consumption decreased by 56.5% and 31.7% of them quit smoking altogether.
Lobelia is a blue flower that has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine. It is colloquially known as Indian tobacco and is one of the best herbs to help curb smoking cravings.
The active component of lobelia is called lobeline and this compound is known to have a similar effect on the body as nicotine. However, it does not have the same addictive properties as nicotine and actually has protective properties on the lungs and airways.
Lobelia can cause adverse effects if you take too much of it and lobelia extracts are not appropriate for those of you who suffer from cardiovascular disease or seizure disorders. It’s essential that you consult your doctor before you start using it so that they can advise you on how much to take.
Catnip is well-known by the cat mums and dads out there. If you’ve ever seen a cat around catnip, it’s entertaining to watch. It produces a euphoric effect in cats, causing them to roll around and behave differently.
However, catnip isn’t just for cats. It can also be used by humans to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and promote relaxation. This powerful herb can lower irritability, anxiety, and stress, and may soothe a sore cough and dry throat.
Catnip is most commonly available as a tincture. You can add it to your hot drinks or place a few drops under your tongue when you’re feeling stressed and irritable on your smoking cessation journey.
Licorice root is a herb that produces soothing effects on your respiratory and digestive tracts. It can fight against nicotine withdrawal and reduce irritation in the airways.
Extracts of licorice root can be added to natural quit smoking aids, such as herbal vape pens or other herbal blends to enhance their benefits for quitting smoking.
Aromatherapy oils (essential oils) may be beneficial when used with additional quit smoking methods. Their main benefits centre around their anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and calming effects.
You can take essential oils in a number of ways. The most common applications include essential oil diffusers and tinctures. They are also used in aromatherapy to support mental well-being during a smoking detox.
Essential oils can be lower your stress levels through their influence on the limbic system, which is formed from a collection of structures within your brain.
The limbic system is responsible for your emotions and feelings. Aromatherapy oils can positively influence this system to lower the negative impacts of a smoking detox.
Essential oils that are particularly beneficial to reduce stress and anxiety in smoking cessation include:
- Black pepper
- Roman chamomile
Milky Oats and Oatstraw
Milky oats and oatstraw are obtained from the oat plant. They have been shown to reduce sympathetic nervous system activation, which can help to lower stress, anxiety, and irritability.
Both milky oats and oatstraw can curb the negative nicotine withdrawal symptoms during and after your smoking cessation journey. They contain a range of micronutrients that can improve your overall health and well-being.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is a herb that was popular in ancient medicinal practices and it is still used around the world today. It has natural sedative and mood-stabilising benefits, which can be helpful when you’re trying to go smoke-free.
Taking St. John’s Wort can lower stress, anxiety, nervousness, and irritability, all of which are common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. It can also improve sleep quality and fight insomnia. You can take it in tincture form, or as a capsule or tablet.
For optimal results, start taking St. John's Wort around 2-3 weeks before you stop smoking because it a while to start eliciting its beneficial effect in your body.
Make sure you speak to your doctor before you start taking St. John’s Wort. It can interact with certain medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Research shows that smokers tend to have lower levels of vitamin C and folate in their bodies compared to non-smokers. Although taking vitamins and minerals won’t necessarily prevent nicotine cravings, they can be helpful to negate the negative impacts that smoking has had on your body.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can protect your cells from oxidative damage and iron is necessary to carry oxygen around your body to your organs and tissues. If they are depleted, it can cause increased cellular damage and reduced oxygen saturation in your blood, leading to fatigue and dizziness.
Most multivitamins contain most of the daily recommended intake for vitamin C but make sure to check the labels on each product before you spend your money. To bump up your folate levels, look for either an iron or folic acid supplement.
Take your vitamin C and folic acid supplements together as vitamin C is known to increase the absorption of iron in your digestive tract.
Alongside your supplements, add more micronutrient-rich foods into your diet. Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, and berries. Iron-rich foods include red meat, seafood, beans, legumes, and green, leafy vegetables.