The CDC reports that 443,000 deaths a year are attributed to smoking. That is one out of every five deaths. Smoking increases the risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive lung diseases (chronic bronchitis and emphysema). Smoking also causes infertility, reduced circulation, and lower bone density.
In fact, according to the CDC, smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. With facts like this, it is no wonder more and more people every year are attempting to quit smoking. Did you know that once you quit smoking, some benefits are immediate? Your blood pressure and pulse rate drop immediately, and within weeks of quitting, circulation improves and lung function increases. Unfortunately, there will be some withdrawal symptoms. They can be intense, but fortunately will not last long and can include: cravings to smoke, tightness in chest, irritability, dry mouth, cough, and headache.
Herbs can play an important role in your quest to quit smoking. Herbs are plants, including leaves, berries, bark, and flowers. They are known for their flavor and smell and contain vitamins and minerals. Herbs are a natural way to quit smoking. Herbs do not contain nicotine and they are natural with virtually no side effects. Some prescribed mediations contain trace nicotine and carry side effects including insomnia and depression. Herbs are the natural choice when kicking the habit!
Did you know that it is easy to grow herbs at home? Most require six to eight hours of sunlight and many can be grown in doors in pots. Many of the herbs below can be grown at home, but do require a bit of time. Using herbs to quit smoking may require you to purchase the dried product at a health food store or the plant from a nursery.
Some effective herbs include:
* Lobelia: Also known as Indian tobacco – mimics the effects of nicotine without the harmful side effects, controls cravings, makes cigarettes taste bad, helps clear throat and lungs of mucous. This herb grows two feet tall and has a bluish flower that blooms when in season. To use, take the dried leaves, steep for 15 minutes in hot water, and then drink.
* Avena Sativa: Supports the nervous system, balances the mood, reduces cravings, good sleep aid. Avena Sativa is more commonly known as oats. This herb can grow rather tall – up to six feet. The dried stems can be used to make a tea. One teaspoonful into one cup of boiling water before bed is the best way to take in Avena Sativa for medicinal purposes.
* Mimosa Tea: Helps ease headaches, aids in keeping calm, boosts mood. This herb grow as a shrub and is found mainly in Brazil and Mexico. The root, when made into a tea, is effective in treating issues related to withdrawals.
* Korean Ginseng: Alleviates stress in the body, helps with anxiety and fatigue. Ginseng can be eaten raw or steamed and should be cut in thin slices.
* Caosu: This traditional Chinese herb helps with the nicotine cravings and alleviates headaches often associated with withdrawal. Again, the root is used to make a tea.
* Black Cohosh: Relaxes muscles, relieves tension headaches, relieves anxiety. This herb grows wild in Canada and part of the United States. The root is what is beneficial and 300 – 2000 mg can be taken daily. Its roots and underground stems can also be made into a tea.
* Valerian: Has a relaxing effect on the mind, helps with anxiety and insomnia. Valerian can grow two to four feet and has a nice scent with pale pink blooms. When dried, the scent changes, many likening it to dirty socks! To use, soak two teaspoons of the Valerian root in cool water for eight to ten hours. Add a few drops of peppermint to hide the taste and drink.
* Hyssop: Loosens mucous. Hyssop grows to about 3 feet and has blue flowers that bloom July through October. It grows in the wild in several places across the United States. Another tea, make this one by steeping two teaspoonfuls of the herb in hot water for 15 minutes.
Kick that unhealthy cigarette habit naturally with herbs.