Herbal Alternatives to Smoking

Nowdays, medical research confirming the health risks of smoking is well established. Cigarettes, according to Netdoctor.co.uk, contain over 4,000 chemicals, including 400 toxic substances. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites that 443,000 people die each year from the effects of smoking, making it the single most preventable cause of death. Despite this, many people find quitting difficult due to the addictive nature of nicotine. Herbal alternatives can provide an effective substitute for nicotine, as well as counteract the negative side-effects that accompany giving-up.

Lobelia

Also known as Indian tobacco or puke weed, lobelia is a powerful relaxant, often used as a herbal alternative for cigarettes. Until 1993, lobeline (the active substance in lobelia), was used as a main ingredient in anti-smoking products. However, it was later deemed to be ineffective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the University of Maryland, current research suggests that lobelia combats the effects of nicotine in the body, such as the release of dopamine and makes cigarettes taste bad. Caution should be taken when consuming lobelia, reported side-effects include nausea and dizziness.

Korean Ginseng

Used in Chinese medicine for over 7,000 years, Korean ginseng is well known for its stress relieving properties. According to Care2 Healthy & Green Living, Korean ginseng combats anxiety and fatigue, which not only makes it an effective herbal substitute for nicotine, but also it supports the body during the process of giving-up. Korean ginseng is available in the United States as a liquid extract, tea or food supplement.

Valerian

Valerian is one of the most commonly used herbs for anxiety and tension. Native to Europe, Asia and North America, valerian was traditionally used as a remedy for insomnia. It is a popular herb amongst those quitting smoking because of its benefits as a muscle relaxant and ability to reduce stress.

Skullcap

Skullcap is best known for its sedative benefits. According to Naturaltherapypages.com, skullcap promotes well-being by stimulating the release of endorphins within the brain, making it an effective alternative to nicotine. It also combats nervous tension.

St John's Wort

St John's Wort is a herb commonly used to combat feelings of anxiety and depression. It can be used when quitting smoking to curb nicotine cravings and promote a confident state of mind.