Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths every year, across the world. Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to do, as any smoker (former or current) will tell you. The primary reason why smokers find it hard to kick the habit is nicotine dependence. Once the body gets used to nicotine in the body, it requires the substance at regular intervals. These are called the ‘pangs’ that all smokers experience. Avoiding nicotine for an extended period of time causes a physiological change in the body, which is called withdrawal. Withdrawal can be life threatening where more potent drugs are concerned, but can also be very uncomfortable for smokers. Withdrawal is the primary cause for relapse in smokers trying to quit.
Many smokers trying to quit use medication that provides nicotine to the system without the harmful effects of smoking. While it seems counterintuitive to supply nicotine to the body when it is the primary reason for the addiction in the first place, smoking is much more than a chemical dependence. Many smokers experience behavioral ticks that cause a relapse. For example, the simple act of sucking on the end of a cigarette, blowing smoke, or even the repetitive action of lifting your fingers to your face are all potent triggers. Therefore, nicotine supplements aim to first break these habits.
Natural remedies are a great way to ease into quitting smoking. Herbs like licorice not only allow smokers to mimic the smoking action, the sweet substance secreted by the root also acts as a suppressant for the urge to smoke. Cayenne pepper is another oft-used home remedy. Substances in cayenne pepper reduce the efficacy of tobacco absorption in the lungs and a pinch of it with water is recommended by many former smokers to kill the urge. Another herb, Ginseng, soothes your nerves and reduces anxiety. Since one of the major side effects of nicotine withdrawal is edginess and restlessness, Ginseng greatly helps in calming your senses when you feel the urge to smoke. Ginseng is best consumed with hot water or tea.
Valerian is another herb that can be consumed in a home-prepared tea and addresses withdrawal symptoms with aplomb. Valerian contains substances that have a mild sedative effect and treat irritability and restlessness quite effectively. Along with herbs and plant products, former smokers report that massages and acupressure can also help your mind distract itself from the urge to smoke. While there may not be any scientific reason behind the efficacy of these home techniques, they are widely reported to be excellent at creating a distraction from nicotine cravings. After all, quitting smoking is mostly a psychological battle!
Smokers attempting to quit should know that nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be quite uncomfortable. These home remedies help alleviate some of these symptoms, however, the process is complete only when the body flushes out all the toxins from the body. The longer you can suppress the cravings, the closer you are to the day your body doesn’t wake up craving nicotine.