Ray’s Rave: Give Up Smoking Using Herbs
It’s on the packages of tobacco, the ads on tv, your friends want you to quit…it is clear that smoking cigarettes is not good for your health. But if we know that it’s not good, why are we still doing it? The answer is clear– it simply isn’t that easy to just quit smoking cold turkey.
Someone recently asked me for advice on helping their mother quit smoking and it had me reflecting on my own personal journey of giving up cigarettes. What really triggered me to want to quit was a brilliant ad that appeared on television* many years ago– it showed what the amount of tar built up in your lungs after a year of smoking, using the visual metaphor of a sponge soaked in oil. Maybe you remember it too.
Apparently this ad was one of the most successful ads of all time. But I didn’t know that back then. All I knew was that it made me feel gross and think that cigarettes are dirty and yucky and that you have to stop smoking. But simply choosing that you want to quit doesn’t nick the habit.
It often goes like this. You get it in your mind that you’re going to give up smoking. “Alright, no more smoke, starting tomorrow.” You smoke your “last” cigarette and then go cold turkey. But then you start to shake and rock n roll and you get grumpy with your partner and it’s not going so well…
That’s where the herbs come in.
There are lots of herbs that can be used as a tobacco replacement, some with additional benefits such as actually combating nicotine addiction, helping your lungs recover, and easing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
In my opinion, the best option is passionflower. Not only does passion flower have a pleasant taste, but it actually helps overcome nicotine addiction. Many previous chain smokers have quit tobacco altogether by weaning themselves off with passionflower. They either smoked passionflower in the morning and refrained from cigarettes for the rest of the day, or alternatively smoked passionflower sparingly as a ‘crutch’ to get them past their initial craving and habit of smoking.
OTHER HELPFUL HERBS FOR QUITTING SMOKING
To help detoxify the lungs:
- Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara): Helps recovery of tar-covered lungs from years of smoking by loosening mucus.
- Mullein (Verbascum sinuatum): Helps soothe the nasal passage and lungs.
- Licorice Root: Great for lung detoxification, relieves irritation.
- Lobelia (Lobelia inflata): Loosens phlegm and thins the mucus in the air passages, detoxifying the lungs; May also help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings because it contains an alkaloid lobeline, which produces similar bodily effects to nicotine but it is non-addictive or habit-forming.
To calm the mind and aid with withdrawls:
- Catnip (Nepeta cataria): Reduces anxiety, helps with insomnia.
- Mucuna (Mucuna pruriens aka Velvet Bean): Studies show that the velvet bean is capable of producing high amounts of L-dopamine, a common antidepressant.
- Damiana (Turnera diffusa): Calming, uplifts mood. NOTE: This smoke/taste can be a bit intense for some, but many enjoy it as a replacement for tobacco
- Calamus (Acorus calamus): Calming and centering herb that can relieve anxiety, also helps clear toxins and congestion in the lungs.
- John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): A natural antidepressant that helps reduce many negative withdrawal symptoms.
Ultimately it is a matter of finding what you like the taste of and what works best for your individual needs. You may have to try several herbs until you find the right one, or the best combo of a few.
We created a product of our own, No Nic, with our favorite herbs for smoking cessation. No Nic is a herbal blend with passionflower, coltsfoot, catnip, mugwort, damiana and more, mixed together with the intention of ending cigarettes once and for all.
QUIT ONCE AND FOR ALL, HAPPY HERB STYLE
No matter what herbs you decide to use (ideally a blend of many), what I recommend people to do is first give up cigarettes and make the resolution to not smoke anything. Then when the cravings get stronger and you feel like you need to smoke, you pick up the herbs and say, “alright I’ll smoke this for now.” Remember you shouldn’t really be enjoying it, you should just use these herbs to feel as if you are smoking tobacco– use them to trick your body into seeing this replacement as tobacco, just mimicking the habit. Many people report success quitting smoking by mixing passionflower or other herbs into their tobacco and smoking the mixture. Over the course of a few weeks, they put more and more herbs and less and less tobacco until only herbs remain.
After a few weeks of this, you will put a cigarette to your mouth and absolutely hate the taste and smell. You just have to get through the few weeks. And any time you get a craving in the future, just pick up the herbs instead.
But remember, the only proper way to use No Nic or other herbs to give up smoking is that you must first have it in your mind that you are going to give up smoking. You have to want to do it. It begins within you first, and the herbs are a great tool for actually getting there.
*Brilliant ad that appeared on televison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbwsET7_6kQ