Natural Remedies to Quit Smoking

There are several natural ways to help people quit smoking.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture provides many healthy benefits. One of them is to help people quit smoking. In acupuncture, hair thin needles are inserted into various points in the ear and are left there for about 20 minutes.

In a study two years ago involving 24 placebo-controlled trials on acupuncture, acupressure, laser therapy and electrostimulation for smoking cessation, it was found that there were no consistent evidence that these therapies were effective for quitting smoking. Researchers however, concluded that further research is necessary due to the poor design of a number of the studies which made it difficult to draw a conclusion.

In another study involving 141 people, it has been found that acupuncture plus education on quitting smoking was four times more effective than acupuncture alone. The study also yielded that acupuncture plus eduction is twice as effective as sham acupuncture plus education.

In between sessions, therapists provide tiny balls which are invisibly taped to the ear. When a person’s cigarette cravings hit, he/she is to gently press on the ball to stimulate the acupuncture point.

Lobelia

Lobelia is an herb that helps people fight the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Lobelia is usually an ingredient in many anti-smoking products. Lobeline, the active ingredient in lobelia, is said to have similar actions on the body as nicotine.

Sale of lobelia products was temporarily prohibited in 1993 by the US FDA. Reports said that evidence showed that lobelia was not effective. Later research however, showed that lobelia may increase dopamine levels in the brain, like cigarettes. Dopamine produces feelings of pleasure and influences mood, though there is still no evidence showing that it helps people quit smoking.

Lobelia can be toxic, thus it should not be taken without the supervision of a qualified health practitioner. Lobelia can cause ry mouth, profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, rapid heartbeat, confusion, convulsions, coma, and in larger doses, even death. People with conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, tobacco sensitivity, paralysis, seizure disorder, shortness breath or recovering from shock shoul not take lobelia. Children and pregnant women should also avoid this herb.

St. Johns wort

St. Johns wort is an herb which is used to treat depression. However, initial researches on this herb which showed that it could be used to help people quit smoking.

A pilot study involving 24 people who smoke at least one cigarette stick a day, St. John;s wort plus counseling showed that 37.5% or 9 out of 24 people quit after 12 weeks.

Although St. Joghn’s wort appears to be safe when taken by itself, it has been found to interfere with the effectiveness of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs which include antidepressants, HIV-AIDS treatment drugs, drugs to prevent organ rejection fro transplant patients and oral contraceptives.

Pregnant or nursing women and children should avoid taking St. John’s wort. People with conditions such as bipolar disorder, liver or kidney disease/s should also avoid taking st. john’s wort.

Ginseng

Ginseng also has many healthy benefits. Ginseng has also been found to prevent the nicotine-induced release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the reason why people feel good after smoking. It is also a part of the addiction process.

Although ginseng has many healthy properties, it is yet to be determined whether ginseng can actually help people quit smoking.

Hypnotherapy

A study conducted in 2002 by the Cochrane Collaboration analyzed 9 long-term studies which involved the use of hypnotherapy in quitting smoking found that hypnotherapy was not anymore effective on 6 month quit rates that other treatments or even no treatment.

In pilot study conducted in 2006, which examined the effect of hypnotherapy (one visit a week for 8 weeks) or no treatment (people were put on a waiting list), it was found that after the eight weeks , 40% has quit smoking. After 12 months, 60% has quit and at 26 weeks the rate was 4%.

In another study, researchers examined 12 hypnosis studies that reported their results by gender, it has been found that the odds of achieving smoking cessation was 1.37 times greater for male than female participants.