Herbal Help For Smokers

I’ve been told that it is at least as hard to quit smoking as it is to get off heroin. That’s a scary thought. I do know that it’s extremely difficult, my mother had a hard time doing so. She did quit and you can, too. Many of the herbs I’m going to suggest have important actions on the lungs. There are also a few herbs that have warnings to go with them.

Licorice: If you want something to soothe your throat, this is a good choice. Many smokers like to chew on twigs of licorice to replace a cigarette, and it could work. However, you have to be careful with it. People with high blood pressure and/or diabetes should use another method as it can make both worse. A good alternative could be birch, though you should watch out for sores in the mouth. Birch is the choice of many people in the Appalachians.

Mullein: Both the leaf and flower of this plant are good for the lungs. As you are trying to quit smoking, I don’t recommend burning it, though that is one method for treating asthma. A tea, perhaps sweetened by licorice, could be useful in caring for your lungs.

Pleurisy Root: The common name of this plant gives you the hint that it is good for your lungs. Pleurisy is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs. Another benefit of this plant is that it contains a chemical that can help heal tissue injuries. It’s a relative of comfrey, but it does not contain the chemical that causes kidney and liver damage.

Lobelia: This plant is on my “do not use” list. It makes attractive ground cover but should not be ingested. It is one of the most violent purgatives in herbal lore. It also shuts down the central nervous system. If you use it, you could die.

Your spice rack contains a couple of herbs that may be helpful in your quest to stop smoking. That comes in handy if you don’t happen to have an herb store nearby.

Black Pepper: Studies indicate that the vapor of black pepper can stop the craving for cigarettes. Not only that, it may actually help with the irritability that can be a problem for those suffering from cigarette withdrawal. A lot of care has to be taken if you are using the essential oils of black pepper, as it can burn you.

Ginger Root: Withdrawal from nicotine can cause nausea, and ginger root is a well known home remedy for several different types of nausea. If you are on blood thinners, check with your doctor before using ginger.

Another tip that comes from my mother is chewing gum. It gives the mouth something to do and helps to break the habits that form around smoking.