Mind & Body

6 Natural Ways to Quit Smoking

TIMEApril 12, 2016
The scent of black pepper essential oil helps reduce the craving for cigarettes.

It’s one of the hardest things to do, but quitting smoking isn’t impossible–and  it’s the single most important step smokers can take to improve their health.

By kicking the habit, you will almost immediately gain benefits, including these:

  • Lower your risk of cancer and heart disease
  • Reduce inflammation in the body
  • Improve circulation
  • Improve the absorption of nutrients
  • Improve the quality of your skin
  • Reduce the number of free-radicals attacking your body

How awesome is that? Oh, and you’ll smell better, too!

The first thing you need to quit is determination. You have to really want to quit.

Some people can quit cold turkey, while others need to wean themselves off. There are physical withdrawal symptoms you may experience as well as some mental ones, too.

If you find yourself tempted to get back into the habit, try ringing a support line in your local area (use Google to find “stop smoking support”), or find a friend who’s quit and call for support when needed.

With a good hypnotherapist, one session can help you quit.

Since quitting puts your body through a detox process, try going as all-natural as possible to facilitate the cleaning, and gently ease yourself into a new, healthier way of living.

Drink lots of pure water, eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and follow these six natural ways to quit smoking. You’ll be very, very glad you did.

1. Get hip to hypnosis

Hypnosis can be very helpful and apparently works best on men. A study by Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Texas followed smokers who underwent eight hypnotherapy visits over a two-month period, at the end of which 40 percent had quit.

With a good hypnotherapist, even one session can have an impact—but you need to really want it to work.

2. Get on point

When you try to quit smoking, your brain isn’t happy. It reduces the feel-good chemicals that smoking induces, and that makes you cranky and irritable. Fortunately, acupuncture stimulates serotonin in the brain, and it can be used to reduce all sorts of cravings.

Acupuncture works best if you get treatment the day you quit or within the first 72 hours. Get it done around your ear, and after a total of six treatments, you have a 30 percent chance of kicking the habit for good.

3. Give yourself a hand

You can easily use this two-minute massage technique to supplement any other therapy you’re trying. Just gently rub each ear between your fingers for one to two minutes a day while you’re at work or watching TV, or better yet, get someone else to do it to you. Feels good, keeps your hands busy, and should reduce your cravings, too.

4. Aromatherapy

Don’t turn up your nose at aromatherapy. According to the book “Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare” by Jane Buckle, Ph.D., R.N.,  several studies have shown essential oils have beneficial effects on nicotine cravings.

In one study that Buckle co-authored and that was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20 people who used nicotine products daily were divided into two separate groups and given an essential oil (either black pepper or angelica). They were instructed to place one drop of the oil on a tissue and inhale it for two minutes (roughly the amount of time it takes to smoke a cigarette) whenever they felt the urge to use tobacco.

Results showed that both essential oils effectively curbed cravings, but black pepper oil was far more effective. Why? Apparently, black pepper essential oil partially reproduces the sensations experienced when smoking, thereby reducing the craving for cigarettes.

5. Herbal help

There are also herbal supplements designed to help smokers quit. The U.K.-based company Organic Pharmacy has a kit that includes the herb ashwagandha, antioxidant capsules, and the homeopathic remedy tabaccum, which work together to help fight addiction and support the body during the stressful adjustment period.

St. John’s Wort is also thought to be able to reduce cravings as well as the incessant edginess some experience when trying to quit smoking. You’ll need two to three weeks for the effects of the herb to start building up in the brain, so start taking it two weeks before you decide to quit. Add some tincture to your tea, or just put drops directly on your tongue. Use as directed.

6. Use a homeopathic patch

The theory behind homeopathy is based on the premise that certain natural substances can stimulate the body’s own healing systems, allowing the body to heal itself.

It’s a unique system of medicine that uses minute doses of ingredients with great curative effect and no negative side effects. Homeopathic herbal stop-smoking patches abound and include natural ingredients like black spruce, lung wort, and evergreen bark to help build up lung strength and reduce cravings.

Diane Small writes for London- and Paris-based Eluxe Magazine, which is dedicated to sustainable luxury. This article was originally published on EluxeMagazine.com

Diane Small