The decision to quit smoking is not an easy one. Relying on willpower alone is usually not enough.
Incorporating several different strategies is thought to be the key to success. The NHS provides lots of information and advice to help you give up smoking (see yesterday's blog on acupuncture).
Herbal remedies are an aid that is often overlooked but can easily and effectively be incorporated into your plan. Today we discuss some herbs that can be used to both help you quit and also prevent cravings.
Californian Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety, restlessness and frustration are common during the first few weeks after quitting smoking. Californian poppy, the official state flower of California, may help smokers break their habit and support their weary nervous system. Californian poppy is known to promote relaxation and create a sense of calmness during nicotine withdrawal.
St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John’s Wort is best known for having antidepressant properties. Traditionally this herb was used as a nerve tonic and can therefore be useful to help with the low moods and increased sensitivity to the adverse effects of stress, which often accompany nicotine withdrawal.
Research has shown that St. John’s Wort may reduce the urge to smoke and moderate withdrawal symptoms. However, it is important to seek professional advice before using St. John’s Wort, since it can interfere with some prescription medications and over-the-counter products.
Oats (Avena sativa) and Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Two other herbs that may be useful in breaking addictions are Oats and Skullcap. Scientific research and clinical experience have shown that these two herbs can support the nervous system and help the body cope with nicotine cravings.
Skullcap is highly valued by western herbalists for the treatment of anxiety, tension and stress, while oats have a “nourishing quality” which is greatly needed and appreciated during smoking cessation.
Lobelia (lobelia inflata)
Lobelia, also known as Indian tobacco, is another herb that could be used as part of a “quit-smoking plan”. While it is traditionally helpful in respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and cough, the active constituent (lobeline) is thought to produce effects similar to nicotine on the central nervous system without being addictive.
However, it must be noted that lobelia is a restricted herb and misuse can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting and convulsions. It should therefore be
used only under the supervision of a medical herbalist.
Check here again tomorrow to see how diet can affect your efforts to quit. Maybe you are struggling because you are deficient in some amino acids?
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