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Quitting smoking is not easy, but you can do it. To increase your motivation to quit smoking and kick the habit to the curb you must be convinced of the downsides of smoking and identify the benefits you will reap once you remove cigarettes from your life. You must understand that you will encounter many problems during the first few months of quitting, but that the benefits will far outweigh the costs!

 

Of course, changing your diet will also help you realize the benefits of detoxing the body not only from cigarettes, but from harmful other toxins you may be ingesting from processed junk foods. Once you start cleaning up one area of your life (be it diet, stress, unhealthy relationships), it is easier to clean up other areas (i.e., getting rid of cigarettes). It is often the case that once you clean up your diet, your stress levels fall, and triggers that once made you want to smoke start to disappear.

 

It is also comforting to know that natural remedies exist to help aid you in your cigarette-quitting journey. These remedies include, but are not limited to St. John’s wort, ginger, cayenne peppers, ginseng, peppermint and lobelia.

 

St. John’s wort

St. John’s wort is an herb and its flowers and leaves are used to make medicine that is used primarily for treating depression. Preliminary research on this herb has found that is has the ability to help people quit smoking. In one pilot study conducted by Roswell Park Cancer Institute, 24 people who smoked more than 1 cigarette a day found that after 12 weeks of taking 450mg of St. John’s Wort twice a day, 37.5% or 9 out of 24 people had quit smoking. Although these results are encouraging, more clinical studies would be required to support St. John’s wort’s effectiveness in treating nicotine addictions. It wouldn’t hurt, however, to see if this herb works for you (it is cheap and available in many grocery stores!).

 

Ginger 

When most people quit smoking they get many different withdrawal symptoms. Nausea is one noted symptom of nicotine and cigarette withdrawal and can be put at ease by consuming ginger. Ginger has a warming and heating effect in the body which helps promote perspiration and thus help detox out excess toxins from the body. By removing the harmful toxins from cigarettes in your body, you are quite literally helping yourself detox your cigarette addiction and make quitting easier. Ginger can be taken in capsule form, or eaten straight from the root (or consumed in meals, or juiced in green juices!). You could also prepare lemon ginger tea – whenever you crave a cigarette, opt for some tea instead! This will condition your body into forming a new habit in place of an old one.

 

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper helps to desensitize the respiratory system to tobacco and other chemical irritants in cigarettes, and thus helps reduce cravings. Cayenne is rich in antioxidants too, so it stabilizes the lining of the lungs. Cayenne pepper’s intense taste is also known to prevent any strong cravings to smoke. Taking cayenne pepper every day, whether in your food (most bio-available) or capsule form, can help you on the road to quit smoking.

 

Ginseng 

Ginseng helps protect the body from the negative effects of stress. One of the main reasons people turn to cigarettes is to relieve stress – and quitting smoking is stressful in itself. Taking ginseng can help relieve everyday stress, and can also help ease the stress of trying to quit. Not only does ginseng help relieve stress, but it is also effective in helping prevent nicotine-induced release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is the main chemical involved in making a smoker feel that satisfied, euphoric feeling after having a cigarette. Ginseng also helps to cleanse the body of harmful toxins, and helps to cleanse the toxins accumulated in the lungs.

 

Peppermint 

Peppermint is inexpensive and can help individuals quit smoking by settling upset stomachs caused by nicotine cravings. Peppermint tea is great for treating digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and nausea, sore throats, colds and toothaches. In fact, many individuals choose to chew on peppermint flavoured gum when they are trying to quit smoking. The strong scent and taste of peppermint helps to deter individuals from wanting a cigarette.

 

Lobelia 

Lobelia is a non-addictive herb that has been known for centuries among native American communities as being an effective treatment for respiratory and viral disorders. Lobelia acts in a way similar to nicotine, in that the nicotinic receptors in the brain are stimulated by lobeline (an alkaloid of lobelia, which is similar in structure to nicotine). Lobelia, in a way, parks itself at these receptor sites, and thus blocks nicotine from activating them, and thus reduces the effect of nicotine in the brain from smoking, and reduces the “reward” associated with smoking. Gradually reducing the amount of cigarettes you smoke each day in addition with taking lobelia when the urge to smoke becomes impossible to resist is one way that you can kick your nicotine habit.

 

Sources:

Lawvere, S., Mahoney, M., Cummings, M., Kepner, J., Hyland, A., Lawrence, D., & Murphy, J. (2006) A phase II study of St. John’s wort for smoking cessation. Complementary therapies in medicine, 14, 175-184.