Alternatively Speaking: Giving up gracefully

Alternative medicine enthusiast Natalie Marx answers your questions: What homeopathic remedies can help to quit smoking?

smoking (illustrative) (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
smoking (illustrative)
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Overcoming the addictions associated with cigarette smoking can be overwhelming. However, my clinical experience proves that it can be done, and it can be done naturally. Cigarette smoking has been clearly identified as the chief, preventable cause of death in our society. Below are selections of questions that I have received from readers of Alternatively Speaking dealing with both the emotional and physical struggles of breaking the habit. Please feel free to pass this information along to those smokers that you care about and let us not let habit become stronger than reason.
Q. Hi Natalie, I have recently stopped smoking after 12 years and want to know how I can replenish my body again with the nutrients it needs. Thank you so much.
A. A healthy diet will help restore the body with nutrients robbed by cigarette smoke, however supplements provide higher doses and faster replenishment when you stop smoking. Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that produce free radicals to cause cell mutation. Vitamins C and E act as excellent antioxidants to protect the cells damaged by cigarette smoke. The fatigue that you experience once you quit smoking may be due to the Vitamin C deficiency since it can cause fatigue and weakness. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, Vitamin E disappears faster in smokers than in non-smokers. Vitamin E plays a crucial role in protecting lung tissue. Both vitamins C and E work more effectively together as antioxidants to fight disease. To improve your lung functioning, I recommend folic acid, an important B complex vitamin and selenium supplements. Cigarette smoke also destroys vitamin A, which protects lung tissue cells that guard against bacteria. Include a vitamin A supplement in order to return this protection.
Q. Please help me, I would like desperately to quit smoking. Can you recommend any homeopathic remedies or herbs that can help me in this process?
Homeopathic medicines can be an excellent aid in overcoming tobacco addiction. Homeopathic remedies are safe, gentle and effective, and help strengthen immunity. The homeopathic remedy Caladium both influences and modifies the craving for tobacco. It especially assists to counter the symptoms of respiratory problems associated with smoking. I almost always prescribe those who want to quit smoking the homeopathic remedy Nux vomica. This helps smokers from becoming too irritable when trying to quit. Finally, the Plantago remedy helps to lessen the tobacco addiction. It will increase the disgusted feeling you get with smoking the cigarette. If you don't manage to consult or find a homeopathic doctor, I suggest you take the single remedies that most closely resemble your symptoms. Start with a 6X potency for any of these and take one tablet five times a day.
Regarding herbal medicine, Hypericum perforatum is another wonderful herb that smokers use to beat the habit. This herb aids the weakened respiratory system and strengthens the immune system. If you are suffering from any anxiety or depression whilst quitting then you will find hypericum useful when dealing with the emotional effects of giving up smoking.
Q. I am suffering from a terrible smokers cough. Not only does it sound unpleasant, it is beginning to be painful. My doctor has of course advised me to stop smoking. Can you suggest any tips for getting rid of my smokers cough?
First of all make sure you are drinking plenty of water; between seven to eight cups a day. As well as flushing out toxins from your body, water works to loosen the phlegm by thinning the mucus. If you find it hard to drink plain water, you can alternate with herbal teas.
I also suggest taking a liquorice root extract supplement. Just as the liquorice root assists to break up the phlegm in your respiratory tract, it should also ease any discomfort caused by coughing. To loosen the mucus and to ease your cough try using inhalation therapy with eucalyptus essential oil. Simply add a few drops of the oil to a pot of boiling water. Once you remove from the boil, cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapours for 15 minutes.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that eucalyptus oil is an expectorant that can soothe your cough and sore throat. Garlic is nature’s antibiotic and can most certainly help in helping to clean the lungs of infection. Eat as much as you like; odorless garlic supplements can be found in all good health stores.
Finally, as a yoga practitioner I have seen the benefits that yoga can have to strengthen lung capacity. The poses in Yoga are designed to strengthen, clear and open the lungs. Each pose is done with specific breathing patterns. Try the cat posture. Begin by kneeling on all fours and as you inhale, arch your spine and look upwards, then as you exhale, arch your back so that you are looking down. The cat position opens up your chest, increasing lung capacity.
Alternatively you can simply practice slow, deep breathing exercises. Not only will this increase lung capacity but it will help to relax and relieve any stress that comes alongside giving up smoking.
Q. I am trying to give up smoking but I am finding it hard since I smoke mainly when I am stressed or unhappy. Do you have any natural remedies to help me deal with difficult situations instead of lighting up a cigarette? Thank you in advance for your help!
A. I have selected two flower essences which are strongly indicated for those who are dealing with their addiction to tobacco. Take these remedies when you feel cravings to help ease stressful emotions associated with withdrawal.
Nicotiana helps greatly to alleviate the emotional irritability that may accompany cigarette cravings. Use Yarrow or Golden Seal when you feel overwhelmed by stressful situations. It aids by helping you feel more confident and protected.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments.
This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at [email protected]
Someone Once Said: "To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."- Gautama the Buddha, 563 BC