Close up of stubbed-out cigarettes
Very little beats good old fashioned will power when it comes to quitting - but some natural therapies can help [Image@ Estres - Wikimedia Commons]

Q&A: Natural support to stop smoking

19 April, 2012

Q  – Are there any natural aids to help me stop smoking. I’ve tried several times using things like nicotine replacement  gums and patches but always seem to go back to smoking. Can you give me any advice?


A  – The idea of ‘replacement therapy’ suggests that something crucial to health is being replaced. But of course, your body has no biological need for nicotine, and quitting does not produce a deficiency. Instead, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that involve pills, patches and gums, are what the late stop-smoking guru Allen Carr called nicotine continuation therapy.  They pump the very chemical that makes cigarettes addictive straight into your system

What is more several studies have shown that nicotine replacement simply doesn’t work over the long term. The authors of a Harvard University study published earlier this year found that relapse rates were the same whether a person used NRT or not.

What this means is that in spite of the millions we spend each year on nicotine replacement products, when it comes to quitting smoking very little, it seems, beats old fashioned will power combined with a supportive network of friends and family around you.

The good news is that acute cigarette cravings usually only last less than 5 minutes. If you can get past this this you will be one step closer to quitting and each time you do get past the craving the next craving gets a little less daunting and a little more manageable.

Cravings are also ‘situational’ inasmuch as the impulse to smoke can be triggered by the places you are (like pubs or bars) and whether or not the people around you are smoking. While you are trying to quit keep a “smoke free” zone around you in order to help yourself naturally quit smoking. It is advisable to stop drinking alcohol while quitting smoking, especially if you are a social smoker.

It’s also worth trying a natural colon or liver cleanse to detox your body faster and help you naturally quit more easily. See our tips on detox in this article. In addition, consider these helpful steps:

  • Drink more fluid as this will help your body eliminate the chemicals which have built up due to smoking more quickly. This will result in the common withdrawal systems such as cravings and irritability passing more quickly too.
  • Don’t suffer unnecessarily. If you support your body and spirit through the quitting process you are more likely to be successful. Take the homeopathic remedy Nux vomica for the irritability and to support your central nervous system.
  • By taking St John’s Wort daily for counter the cravings and any natural feelings of being low or feeling depressed from the chemical withdrawal, you will be more likely to succeed. Ginger may help with any feelings of nausea you may experience.
  • Support your nervous system with Lemon balm & Rose either as a tea or, if you are not fond of tea, as a tincture  – a few drops of which can simply be added to your drinking water.
  • If you are having problems sleeping, Passiflora and Chamomile Tea, will help you with relaxation and sleep.
  • Use the opportunity to treat yourself and pamper yourself with soothing bath oil or a relaxing massage which will help you to relax, sleep and feel good about yourself.
  • Consider a course of acupuncture as research has show it to be highly effective where other treatments may have failed in the past.
  • Listen to your body. Everyone responds differently to giving up smoking and the symptoms you are experiencing are just your body dealing with the quitting process. If you are aware of, and accept, what your body is going through and the positive result that you are working towards, you will be more likely to persevere.

Finally if you have tried to stop smoking before and it didn’t work, don’t be disheartened, with patience and perseverance you will succeed.