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Ask the Herbalist--Smoking

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SMOKING
Answers from Karen:
QUESTION: I have been smoking for a very long time and have tried to quit many times. I want something that I can continue to take until I feel the smoking habit is gone. Any suggestions?  I'm 56 and really don't want to put on pounds either.

ANSWER: Congratulations on trying to quit smoking. Unfortunately, the only thing that will cure the dependency your body has developed for nicotine is to stop - Cold Turkey. There is no herb that will feed that addiction. I would suggest increasing the Zinc in your diet, though, since one of the things smoking purportedly does is decrease the amount in our systems.


QUESTION:
 
I'm in the process of kicking the NASTY smoking habit. I have herd a lot of good about the herb
LOBELIA, so I went and bought LOBELIA(inflata)50mg capsules. My question is is how many capsules should I take and how many time a day. There seems to be all different answers on the internet on the right dosage (I sure wouldn't want to OD on it) can you help.

ANSWER: 
Lobelia, also called "Indian Tobacco"  or "pukeweed" in large amounts can cause vomiting and could be fatal. Lobelia is usually used for coughs and other respiratory problems, but should never be taken internally long term. It is an anti-spasmodic as well as an expectorant. It is usually combined with other herbs as it is very potent.  I wouldn't venture a guess as to dosage. I can't find anything referencing using it as a smoking cessation aid. Since it is purported to have nicotine-like effects, it is probably feeding your cravings rather than eliminating or suppressing them. I did find a reference saying that more than 50 mg can suppress breathing, depress blood pressure and even lead to coma. Vitamins C, E and B complex will help you to rebuild your system. Catnip, hops, skullcap and valerian root are better choices to reduce the anxiety and nervousness associated with nicotine withdrawal.  Dandelion Root and milk thistle will help protect your liver from the toxins and slippery elm will help to relieve any lung congestion and coughs.

QUESTION:  What i am looking for is a natural herb's that remove nicotine from the body. In combination with helping with stress, etc that come with nicotine withdrawal.  Any information would be greatly useful.

ANSWER: Congratulations on trying to kick the habit! Vitamins C, E and B complex will help you to rebuild your system. Catnip, hops, skullcap and valerian root are good choices to reduce the anxiety and
nervousness associated with nicotine withdrawal.  Dandelion Root and milk thistle will help protect your liver from the toxins and slippery elm will help to relieve any lung congestion and coughs. If you are interested in a custom formulation, please e-mail me with the word ORDER in the subject line and ask for my smoking cessation tea.


Answers from David:
QUESTION:
Is there a herb that if I drink would cover up any tobacco use on a
insurance test?

ANSWER: None that I know of. I'd try stopping the tobacco.

QUESTION: 

I was wondering if you know of any herbs that can assist in the reduction of nicotine cravings? 

ANSWER: For Smoking Cessation yes there are herbs which reduce the cravings, make cigerettes taste bad and help with withdrawal.

Here are a few examples:

Lobelia, Pukeweed, Indian Tobacco, Latin Named: Lobelia inflata, L. cardinalis, L. syhpilitica

Lobelia is an Antispasmodic especially to the lung and diaphragm it is appropriately used for cough, spastic bronchitis, hiccups along with spasm in the muscle tissue and caused by the nervous system. In some instances it has been shown to decreases nicotine cravings (lobelia is closely related to the nicotine plants in the plant kingdom and it is theorized that the chemicals in lobelia take up the nicotene receptor sites in your body reducing cravings). 

Lobelia is contraindicated during Pregnancy (unless you know what you are doing), low Blood Pressure, Depression and people who get nauseated easily.

The dosage of lobelia is suggested in drops starting very low (5-10 drops of tincture) and working up a drop at a time until nausea occurs then drop back a couple drops to relieve the nausea. Lobelia can be irritating take it with food.

To make cigarettes taste bad use Plant Name: Licorice Root, Latin Named: Glycorrhiza uralensis or Plant Name: Fennel Seeds Latin Named: Foeniculum vulgarus 

To help with withdrawal utilize Fresh Oats, Latin Named: Avena sativa