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Quitting smoking – Tips from a herbalist

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how i quit smoking exactly 10 years and 25 days today. It was no easy journey rest assured but here are my personal tips :

– Accept the facts – This is not going to be easy. You are going to be uncomfortable. You are going to be challenged.. Accept these facts bluntly before you move on. When you move on, be tough on yourself. Do NOT look back.

-Control your dose – Initially its important to reduce the amount you smoke to a set finite number and maintain that number for at least one month. Most folks go for 3-5 cigarettes a day and hold that as a static number.

-Slowly condition – When it comes to smoking its important to realize there’s both a physical and mental battle happening.

-The Start time – Pick a start time to smoke and hold it steady. Lets say you wake up at 8 am everyday. Give yourself an hour of “suffering” and then have your smoke time at 9 am. This is a short 1 hour period of discomfort with the finish line just in sight. You then have your finite amount of smokes for the day you can ration out. Once you have held your start time for a good 2-3 weeks, its time to start challenging your body.

-The progressive delay – here’s the trick though, pick a “delay number” and delay your first cigarette by that amount of minutes everyday. for some folks its 5 minutes for others its 15. Find your sweet spot and STICK WITH IT. I find 5 mins for heavy smokers and 10 mins for others works very well. Slowly conditioning your body in this manner is very efficient in helping you adjust to a life without the substance. The key again is to NOT look back!

-Use supportive tools – in today’s age specifically there are a lot of tools to help. I used Nicorette gum personally for 6 months and slowly weaned off that. When using the gum its important to use proper chewing technique. Patches im not a big fan of as its difficult to control the dose. E-cigarettes are now also a good tool to help the heaviest of smokers transition but in my eyes you need to get away from the hand to mouth fixation, so it may not be the best option in that regard.

-Preoccupy yourself – Rediscover new / lost passions. Pick up that instrument you ignored… Start doing creative activities.. Literally just start things with your time!

-Use supportive herbs – there are many herbs that can help support quitting. Smoke blends can be made for emergencies and tinctures can greatly help with cravings. One herb in particular I like to use is Lobelia, which has a constituent that acts on nicotine receptors and thus reduces cravings. Oddly enough it also tastes like an ashtray (at least to me). Care should be taken with this herb as it is emetic. Another Very important supportive herb that’s not very well known outside the middle east is Miswak (Salvadoria persica). This is a twig that has been used by the Islamic world since the days of the prophet. its essentially a natural toothbrush, which you soak in a glass of water and can use to brush your teeth. It contains small amounts of Fluorine amongst other constituents, and many studies have shown it to be superior than any toothpaste brush combo. Having said that it also has been used by some herbalists to help quit smoking. Partially because it appeases the hand to mouth fixation but also because of the constituents in the herb itself.

-Get Physically active – it really helps with cravings. You can also use the act of exhaustion to help wean off a strong craving. I used to run around the block at full speed until i was so tired id almost vomit! after that ordeal I’m so concerned about breathing that smoking is just not on the agenda.

-Nourish yourself – as you regain more of your sense of smell and taste.. Food will begin to taste better and better.. Ensure you eat wholesome, nourishing foods. You will naturally be more inspired to keep pushing in this direction as you connect with your food on a different sensory level than you are typically used to.

-Redirect your cravings – I programmed myself for about 8 months post quitting to eat fruit instead of smoke when i craved it. Its interesting how that eventually gave me the same satisfaction and calm that tobacco once did.

I personally got to the point where my first smoke was at midnight for 3 days.. then I took the plunge and ended it!

Post quitting :

So now you did it! you are smoke free its been a few weeks or months! Congratulations! How do you maintain it? think about the ordeal you just went through.. Why on EARTH would you ever do that again? Keep in mind the cigarettes everyone smokes can hardly even be classified as tobacco. It’s Genetically modified, pesticide laden and highly processed with a lot of gunk!  Yes you can opt for “natural tobacco” but that stuff although not as processed is much higher in tar and other nasties.. You lose either way in my opinion ..

Tobacco is a medicinal plant in its own right..A powerful one that shouldn’t be used in this manner. I heard of this herbalist that treats every single ailment with one herb.. Tobacco… His relationship with the plant and how he administers it is just so beyond my understanding or anyone else’s for that matter..



One thought on “Quitting smoking – Tips from a herbalist

  1. Very nice succinctly written advice.
    When I quit, back in Jan 2000, I identified my smoking behaviours. I smoked in the morning with coffee and smoked when I drank. I decided to not drink (alcohol) while quitting smoking.
    In order to not take on too much at one time, I also decided to first reduce the amount I smoked with coffee. I was able to quit in under a month.
    I have since reduced my coffee intake to only 1 cup a day (usually home brewed) and I have cut my alcohol consumption down as well (5 drink per month).
    It would have been a lot less stressful had I had your suggestions to follow. 🙂

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