Natural methods for quitting have the benefit of helping to eliminate the physical addiction to nicotine without necessarily risk side effects. On the other hand, some are better than others at eliminating withdrawal symptoms.
Most ‘natural methods’ don’t in and of themselves deal with the psychological dependence related to smoking, but many of them can easily be paired with techniques that do.
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If you're looking for a natural way to quit smoking, chances are it's important to you to avoid the potential side effects that come with prescription drugs or nicotine replacement therapy. There are a handful of possible products or methods that fit these criteria, including a technique called nicotine fading, herbs to quit smoking, and plain-old cold turkey quitting.
(If you're looking for information about quitting smoking using hypnosis, acupuncture, or laser therapy, you'll find that in the Alternative Methods section of this site.)
Quit Smoking Gradually: Nicotine Fading
Probably the most natural way to quit smoking is by using a technique called nicotine fading. The 'fading' technique is commonly used within professional recovery programs because it helps to minimize withdrawal symptoms without introducing additional drugs into the body. This technique is deceptively simple - it's just a way to gradually reduce the amount of nicotine intake so that when you quit, withdrawal symptoms are minimal. However, implementing a nicotine fading plan can be challenging, simply because of the self-discipline that is required to meet self-imposed 'rules' or constraints. It may be easier to use this technique when it is embedded within a structured program for quitting.
You can read more about nicotine fading at the tab above.
BTW, nicotine fading is the technique that I use in the program that I developed, called The Complete Quit System. This program combines a structured nicotine fading strategy with a series of techniques designed to eliminate the psychological dependence on smoking, in order to address both the physical and psychological aspects of quitting.
Herbs to Quit Smoking: Lobelia
Another natural way to quit smoking is to use an herbal remedy. Most herbal remedies to quit smoking include lobelia, also known as "Indian Tobacco," which acts on the brain in ways similar to nicotine. The good news is that, unlike nicotine, lobelia is not addictive. The bad news is, lobelia is also know as 'puke weed,' and in larger doses can cause nausea and vomiting as an unintended side effect.
There are a number of herbal formulations designed to help people quit smoking, and used as directed they should be relatively safe. However, don't make the mistake of thinking that because herbal remedies contain 'all natural' ingredients that you need not take care with them. Especially if you are pregnant or have other health issues, DO be sure to check in with your health practitioner, get any herbal remedies or ingredients from a reputable source, and use them as directed. Although an herbal remedy can be an effective and natural way to quit smoking, herbs can be powerful, so don't misuse them.
You can read more about lobelia at the tab above, including a technical description of how its active ingredient, lobeline, works in the brain.
Quit Smoking Cold Turkey
OK, quitting smoking cold turkey is not necessarily something I'd recommend, but it certainly is one option if you are looking for a natural way to quit smoking without introducing any new drugs or chemicals into your system. Even herbs (which are certainly more 'natural' than the medicines derived from them) can have side effects. (Keep in mind that the definition of a side effect is just an effect from the herb or drug that is not the desired effect. For instance, if you take lobelia in sufficient quantity to make yourself vomit, this is a side effect if you are using it to quit smoking, but it is the desired effect if you are using it as an emetic - in other words, if you are trying to induce vomiting.)
Back to quitting cold turkey... You can read a little more about it at the tab above, including a list of nicotine withdrawal symptoms you can expect if you choose this method of quitting. My opinion is that there are a lot of better, more successful ways to quit smoking, but if you have never tried to quit smoking before, you could start with this one, just to get a 'baseline' measure of what it's like. It has about a 5% success rate long term, so some people are able to quit this way.
Nicotine fading is my favorite of all the methods for minimizing withdrawal symptoms, because of its simplicity and adaptability, and the fact that it introduces no new chemicals into your body. By any measure, this is really the most natural way to quit smoking - it mirrors how most people started smoking. However, it may be difficult to implement effectively outside of a structured program, and its success rate really depends on pairing it with effective behavioral techniques to beat the psychological dependence. Lobelia, the main ingredient in most herbal formulations, also has evidence suggesting it may be effective. Again, if you choose an herbal formula, you'll want to be sure to combine it with a plan for eliminating the psychological dependence, too.