The Drop – your dose of natural and homeopathic healthcare. This episode covers the traditional homeopathic remedies to help with quitting smoking.
You’re with David Haubenschild, and the theme of this episode is Quit Smoking with Homeopathy.
Smoking rates in Australia have been steadily declining, and according to Quit! Victoria, smoking rates amongst Australian adults have almost halved since the 1980s.
Australia has very strong public health policy designed to curb smoking behaviour, and this includes plain packaging on cigarettes and advertising restrictions, which limit a tobacco company’s ability to brand and promote their products.
In recent years, there have also been graphic television and print campaigns showing the consequences of smoking, and since March 2006, cigarettes packets ware these graphic health warnings as a deterrent.
Despite this and other restrictions, tobacco smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia.
To give some context, during 2004 to 2005, smoking-related diseases killed close to 15,000 Australians – equating to something like 40 preventable deaths every day.
The major tobacco-related diseases include cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Lowering risk of developing a tobacco-related disease is a compelling reasons to give up smoking. Other reasons include the financial burden, with tobacco becoming increasingly expensive, as well as social reasons, with smoking considered no longer the norm.
The Quit! Victoria website has a wonderful page listing the benefits to the body from the moment smoking is stopped. For example, within as little as 6 hours, heart rate slows and blood pressure decreases – showing the importance of quitting smoking on cardiovascular health and managing conditions such as hypertension. Within a day, almost all of the nicotine has left the bloodstream, carbon monoxide in the blood has lowered, and oxygen can more easily reach the heart and muscles. Within a week, the lungs’ natural detox system starts to kick-in, helping to remove mucus, tar and dust from the lungs, and higher levels of protective antioxidants such as vitamin C are found in the blood. At the benefits go on. I’ll put a link to the Quit! Victoria page in the show notes for this episode at holisticnotion.com/thedrop.
There are a lot of conventional healthcare resources available to help quit smoking, and the Quit! Website can connect you to many of these.
But today’s episode is about the use of Homeopathy to aid in quitting smoking.
I haven’t found any recent studies investigating homeopathy for smoking cessation, so I’ll be looking at the topic from a traditional perspective.
One of my favourite sources for investigating traditional use of homeopathy is in the writings of John Henry Clarke, who was a homeopath and medical doctor who practiced in the UK during the early 1900s. He gathered both his own and his peers experiences and successes with homeopathy, and documented them in a number of books which are still available today.
One protocol he believed was of great assistance in leaving off tobacco, was using the remedy Nux-vomica in a low potency (he specified the 3C potency), and taking it every four hours. Complementing this, when craving occurred, the person would take a pilule of homeopathically prepared Camphor, which is chewed until the craving recedes. In this approach, one remedy is attempting to address the underlying dependency to and withdrawal from tobacco, and the second, is helping to manage the intensity of cravings, and hopefully helping to break the habit. Nux-vomica as a remedy is also traditionally used in promoting detoxification of the body, so its use here is doubly interesting. Some people believe that Nux vomica assists in eliminating the toxins contained in tobacco smoke.
Nux-vomica may be especially indicated where the person giving up smoking is irritable, and there may be headaches, dizziness, nausea, and constipation.
Another traditional remedy is Plantago, and again, it is used in low potency, repeated 3 – 4 times a day, and additionally when cravings occur. As an interesting side note, in herbal tincture form, Plantago produced an aversion to tobacco in those that consumed it.
Plantago may be indicated where there is more of a dull state of mind, and there may be a hoarseness when breathing.
Tabacum, which is made from a tincture of the fresh tobacco leaves collected before the flowers are developed, and in diluted homeopathic form, is used to influence tobacco craving. It is also said to stimulate the elimination of toxins carried by tobacco smoke, but of course, there isn’t any current research on its detoxification ability.
Some indication which suggest the use of tabacum include cold hands or feet, sickly headaches in the morning, indigestion, palpitations, hypertension and even dizziness.
These remedies may be used alongside conventional methods, or supporting those going ‘cold turkey’.
There are other remedies that could also be of service depending on the individual, as homeopathy always attempts to tailor treatment.
For example, in a more restless, anxious, exhausted individual with respiratory mucus, Arsenicum album may be more strongly indicated. The remedy Caladium is said to promote dislike for tobacco if used when smoking, especially in people where they feel worse for motion. Ignatia may be used for anxiety connected to tobacco cravings, especially in people whose senses are extremely sensitive, or have mood swings. One thing you may have picked up in what I’m saying is that its not just the habit of or craving for smoking which homeopaths are interested in when selecting a remedy, but the other symptoms or the general state which go with it, and can include mood and emotions.
There is a sub-discipline within homeopathy called organotherapy, where there are remedies known to influence and improve the functioning a particular organ. The remedy Lobelia inflata is traditionally used for the lung, particularity where respiration is effected, such as difficult breathing and emphysema. In lobelia, there is this curious indication for its use where the individual has a craving for tobacco, yet they can’t stand the smell of it.
Some of the above remedies should be able to be readily sourced from homeopathic pharmacies which service the public, but when in doubt, for a tailored, individualised homeopathic treatment plan, visit your local homeopath.
There is also information for booking in with me on the holisticnotion website.
That takes us to the end of this episode, and I hope that it has given you some insight into the use of homeopathy to support individuals to quit smoking.
The links and references mentioned in this episode will be listed at the end of this episodes shownotes at www.holisticnotion.com/thedrop
Thank you for listening.
References & links
- Quit: Smoking stats & facts
- Better Health Channel: Smoking statistics
- Graphic health warnings
- Tobacco reforms in Victoria