Smoking cigarettes is an extremely difficult habit to break, mostly because the nicotine contained in cigarettes is one of the most addictive drugs in existence. Nicotine patches and inhalers, certain prescription drugs, as well as hypnosis and acupuncture are among some of the most common methods employed to help smokers break their addiction. Certain herbs can also help you stop smoking, either by easing your cravings for nicotine or reducing the withdrawal symptoms of quitting, such as difficulty sleeping, depression, irritability and concentration problems.
Also called Indian tobacco, lobelia is one of the most popular herbs used to aid smoking cessation. Lobelia contains the constituent lobeline, which may provide similar effects on the nervous system as nicotine, says the University of Michigan Health System. Medical studies focused on lobelia’s use in supporting smoking cessation have yielded mixed results, however. Nevertheless, lobelia appears to help “curb the craving and desire for tobacco products,” notes the QuitOnce Chicago Smoking Cessation Program.
Wild oats, or Avena sativa, may help to decrease anxiety and calm the nervous system in people who are quitting smoking and enduring nicotine withdrawals, according to the QuitOnce program. Studies have found mixed results in wild oat’s effects on smoking cessation. The University of Michigan Health System reported that that “taking 1 mL of an alcohol extract of oat straw four times per day significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked per day.”
Although licorice hasn’t been “evaluated scientifically” for helping in smoking cessation, the herb is often recommended to aide in quitting smoking. Licorice helps to support the adrenal glands, promoting the release of hormones to open up the bronchial tubes, says the QuitOnce program. Licorice also helps to stabilize blood glucose levels and reduce sugar cravings that many people experience when quitting smoking.
Another unstudied but often recommended herb used for smoking cessation is passionflower, notes Flowing Free. Passionflower can help to calm disturbances in concentration, sleep and other “cerebral excitement” that some individuals experience during and after quitting smoking, according to the QuitOnce program.
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