Nicotine addiction is a serious condition and is one that is very difficult to let go of. Smokers who try to quit find that the withdrawal can be unbearable and so any type of aid that can ease the transition is not only helpful, but, can greatly improve the chances of success.
Herbs That Ease Nerves
Herbs that are mildly sedating have two-fold benefits: they soothe nerves and curb nicotine withdrawal. Green oats are believed to have both sedating and tonic effects on the nervous system.
The post-cessation period will invariably call upon a varying degree of anxiety and panic attacks. While in such a state, passion flower can be used as a remedy.
Mood swings and depression brought on by smoking cessation can be cured by kava kava, which, is an effective antidote to such emotional disorientation.
Anxiety that follows immediately after you give up smoking can be alleviated by skullcap. It should be taken alone during the day, and with valerian at night as a natural sleep aid.
Valerian is known for relaxing tense muscles. It is highly effective for insomnia, if that happens to be one of your quitter’s symptom, and allows you to get a good night’s sleep.
The herb lobelia is used in many anti-smoking products, mainly because, lobeline, the herb’s active ingredient has similar effects on human body as nicotine.
Studies have found that lobeline increases the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in human brains, much in the same way cigarettes do. Dopamine is responsible for producing feelings of pleasure.
Lobelia is a toxic herb, use with caution.
St. John’s Wort
As much as St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is used to treat depression, some preliminary studies have validated the herb’s efficacy in smoking cessation.
Up until now, all standard St. John’s Wort extract supplements were known to contain 0.3% of the active ingredient hypericin. A recent study suggests that another compound, hyperforin, found in the herb could be the reason why St. John’s Wort works as an antidepressant.
On a cautionary note, St John’s Wort has the tendency to interfere with some prescription and over the counter drugs, such as, other antidepressants. HIV and AIDS treatment drugs, drugs to prevent organ rejection for transplant patients, and contraceptives.
It is never recommended for pregnant or nursing women, kids, those suffering from liver or kidney disease and those with bipolar disorder.
Nicotine releases neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain and causes smokers to experience the feeling of pleasure, which, results in addiction. Ginseng prevents nicotine-induced release of dopamine, however, no concrete research has been carried out to establish the herb as an anti-smoking agent. Evidence does exist, however, that Ginseng can help.
Ginseng can help with side effects as both Asian (Panax ginseng) and American (P. quinquefolius) ginseng -- the former more aptly called “adaptogen” -- can help the body to deal with and adapt to the physical and mental stresses of quitting smoking.
Ginseng’s positive effect on the brain is implicit. Regular intake of ginseng increases respiratory quotient, enhances alertness, concentration and improves visual and motor coordination. All of which can become impaired during withdrawal from nicotine.
The Liver plays an important role in filtering out the toxins created by smoking, it is, therefore, crucial to ensure that it functions properly. Seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) can be used to produce extracts that support healthy liver functions.
Silymarin, at 70% concentration, is central to standardized milk thistle extract. Studies prove that standardized extract of milk thistle changes the liver’s outer cell and prevents toxic chemicals from entering the liver’s inner cells.
The extract also elevates the liver’s capacity to create new cells, which, activates the liver-specific antioxidants. These antioxidants then eliminate the notorious oxygen radicals residing in the liver.