Smoking cessation is one of the top New Year’s resolutions that people make each year. Nearly 2/3’s of smoker’s plan on quitting in the next 6 months, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Unfortunately, quitting smoking is a difficult journey. Half of smokers attempt to quit each year, with only 11% still abstinent after a year’s time. Both conventional medicine and natural medicine have a plenitude of approaches in helping people who smoke quit for good. Quitting is always most successful when the person has a specific plan, patience, and support.
Homeopathic remedies are given based on the presenting symptoms. Most people are familiar with the withdraw symptoms of stopping smoking: cravings, moodiness, increased appetite and insomnia. Over the counter homeopathics are usually combination remedies, meaning that they contain multiple remedies in them to best cover a broad spectrum of these withdraw symptoms that a person might experience. Constitutional homeopathy, as practiced by professional homeopaths, would look at the individual symptom expression and correlate a single, best-fitting remedy. The homeopath would look at symptoms on a holistic level, considering physical and emotional states as well as sleep, appetite and other lifestyle habits. Individualization allows for the most precise evaluation of the person, and typically translates into the highest degree of success.
For those who want to add homeopathy to the arsenal of their stop-smoking plan, there are many remedies that have therapeutic effect, and are easy to purchase from health food stores. Homeopathics do not interfere with other medicines and so can be used in combination with over the counter nicotine patches and gum, naturopathic/TCM herbs, and supplements. Here are a few examples of some common homeopathics used to help people succeed with smoking cessation. Note: homeopathics come in a multitude of strengths, please follow package directions for dosage, and contact a professional homeopath for further help. Remember, if a combination remedy doesn’t work for you, it is likely that the remedy you specially need is not part of that combination.
Nux vomica – has irritability and a tendency to overeat. It is also liver supportive and so helps manage the detox stage of quitting.
Tabacum – helps curb cravings, particularly if they have a component of nausea to them.
Lobelia – helps reduce the cravings and eases the cough associated with quitting.
Staphysagria – helps increase willpower, especially in those who typically have a mild temperament.
Sarah Hutchinson is a registered Homeopath in the province of Ontario, and is available at KIHC on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.