If you’ve ever tried to stop smoking, you know that it is an extremely difficult process. It’s said that it’s as hard to quit smoking as it is to stop using heroin. While going cold turkey may be accomplished, many people respond better and have a better “quit rate” with help.
There are several aspects to the process of smoking cessation that can be helped by herbal remedies. Anxiety, depression, irritability and insomnia are all problems that smokers face when they choose to quit.
Black Cohosh: While this herb may help with the irritability factor, it is very high in a plant form of estrogen. Men should use this herb with caution, if at all. Boys should *never* use it, and anyone at risk for hormone related cancer should avoid it.
Catnip: This is a much better choice for irritability. It is a mild relaxant and it’s considered a nervine. That means it can help nervous problems, which is important when quitting. It is considered safe for children over the age of six, so if you are a teenager who wants to quit, this may help.
Corn Silk: Smoking corn silk has been praised as a means of getting off tobacco, but smoking anything can cause problems with the lungs. I’m also told that it tastes perfectly foul. It certainly smells bad enough.
Damiana: This herb is more often used by women for increased desire, but it can also help relax. It may also help with depression, and is considered generally safe for healthy individuals. Diabetics should use damiana with caution as it can affect sugar levels.
Lobelia: About the only safe use of lobelia for most people is as ground cover. It is a violent purgative, meaning extreme nausea, violent vomiting and diarrhea. While it’s doing that, it shuts down the central nervous system, meaning you could pass out. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Peppermint: It’s not just your mind that will have trouble when you quit smoking. Your body will have to go through a lot of changes, and some of them are hard to deal with. Peppermint can help with these changes, as well as improving your mood and mental alertness.
St. John’s Wort: Mild to moderate depression may be helped by this herb, though it is a good idea to see your doctor if you develop serious depression. People who wish to quit smoking often find themselves depressed, and this may help. It has several drug interactions, including those for some heart problems. It can also cause photosensitivity.
Valerian: Many people find valerian useful in helping them beat insomnia. It does take time for it to start working. You have to take it consistently for a few weeks before you notice the difference. It also smells extremely bad.