Herb Treatment to Quit Smoking
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Mike
Posted on: August 23, 1998

I have become aware of an "all-natural" herbal treatment intended to eliminate withdrawal symptoms associated with the process of quitting smoking and to remove all traces of nicotine from the body.

The treatment includes Passionflower, Ginseng, Sarsaparilla, Bayberry Root, Echinacea Powder to eliminate withdrawal symptoms and Burdock Root, Goldenseal Root, Kelp and Hyssop to remove the nicotine from the body.

Are there any negative side effects to the ingestion of the above combination of herbal treatment?

Are you aware of this or any other natural herbal treatment that will aid an individual in his efforts to stop smoking? If so, would you please share that insight?

It is difficult to comment on formulas like this. Herbs rarely have such narrowly defined effects that one simply can look up all the herbs, add up their effects, and easily conclude what the combination is going to do.

In general, herbal formulas are derived from traditional formulas that have been used for years and are known to work against certain ailments. These are passed on from herbalist to succeeding herbalist generation. Alternatively, new formulas are created based on a herbalist’s experience and knowledge, and while they are often effective, they do not have the benefit of the years of trial and error that traditional remedies have.

In this case, this formula appears to be a new formula. We, at least, have not seen it before. It contains sedative herbs to calm the nerves, restorative herbs to rebalance the body, "blood purifying" herbs and herbs to promote elimination to cleanse the system, etc. It appears that it could provide a basis of support for someone wishing to quit smoking. There is no doubt, however, that anyone taking it will also need to rely on one’s own willpower to quit.

Are there any side effects? Herbs often do have side effects, or negative interactions, or contraindications. Much depends on the amount of herbs being taken, and on the particular condition of the patient. If you are taking this herbal remedy without the supervision of a herbalist, you should watch for any undesirable effects. We recommend that you consult a good book that describes the effects of the herbs so you know what to look for. Better yet, consult a trained herbalist for advice.

John Lust, in his book, "The Herb Book" (available from Richters), has a list of herbs that have some utility in stopping to smoking. He does not give a formula or a supporting dietary program to stop smoking, but the list is interesting because, although only one of the herbs (echinacea) is also found in your formula, the herbs have much the same mix of properties. For instance, Lust lists blue vervain and scullcap (sedatives), black cohosh and blue cohosh (hormonal), slippery elm (elimination), which have rough equivalents in your formula.

To help deal with the habit of holding a cigarette, there are herbs that can be used in smoking mixtures to help tide you over the withdrawal phase. Coltsfoot leaves have been recommended for this purpose.

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