I was using herbs for nearly everything else in my life, cooking, medicinal preparations (tinctures, salves, hand creams, and more), and aroma therapy, so why not use them to quit smoking? After researching, I found that most of the herbs I needed literally grew in the backyard, but I was not experienced enough to identify some of them. I also needed them immediately and did not have time to cultivate, harvest, and dry them. So, the herbs were purchased in bulk and split with a friend, from reputable suppliers both online and locally at natural health food stores.

These herbs are legal and safe if used correctly, and have been used to purify and heal the lungs, rid the body of toxins, calm the nerves, and help ease the break from addictions, for thousands of years. Some are mixed together with tobacco to help wean the body from smoking, others are used mostly as a tea, and a few can be used either way.

Quit Smoking Herbs

Coltsfoot: tea or smoke for expectorant properties.

Licorice root: tea or smoke for flavor and expectorant properties; helps coughing. CAUTION: may increase blood pressure.

Lobelia: smoke to help with nicotine withdrawal; expectorant. CAUTION: overuse may cause vomitting.

Mints: (peppermint, spearmint, horehound, catnip, etc.): either use as tea or smoke for menthol flavor; expectorant properties; reduces stress; helps withdrawal.

Mugwort: tea for coughs and colds; calming; or smoked for expectorant properties. CAUTION: overuse may cause heightened dreaming, or nightmares.

Mullein: tea or smoke for expectorant properties; sedative; smoke has no taste, used as filler.

Plantain: tea or smoke for expectorant properties; flavoring; healing, and help reduce cravings.

Skullcap: tea or smoke for calming nerves; helps withdrawal; sleep aid.

St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort: tea has calming qualities; helps withdrawal; reduces stress.

Valerain: tea has calming qualities; helps withdrawal; eases stress; sleep aid.

Aids & Equipment

Quit-smoking aids

Nicotine gum and various tar/nicotine reducing filter tips.

Tea making with fill-n-seal bags and a tea strainer.

Tea making with fill-n-seal bags and a tea strainer.

The Herbal Quit Smoking Method

The herbal quit-smoking method uses mixes that contain loose-leaf tobacco and herbs, with decreasing amounts of tobacco per week, or every five days. The mix is "injected" into empty cigarette filter-tip tubes purchased from a tobacco shop. A pipe or rolling papers could also be used for the quit-smoking mix. Herbal Quit-Smoking Mixes

• Mix together one of the herbal quit-smoking recipes below.
• Divide the mix into fourths, then store in containers numbering 1 through 4.
• To #1, add the same amount of tobacco as the amount of herbal mix.
• To #2, add half as much tobacco as herb mix.
• To #3, add a fourth as much tobacco as herbs.
• To #4, do not add any tobacco to container.

Start using container #1, and then continue with container #2, and so on. Smoking the pure herb mix in container #4 will help with the post-quit cough that sometimes occurs, making it more productive to clean out the lungs.

Notes and Cautions

Moisture is the key in providing a more pleasant smoke. Do not add moisture to the base mix, as it may mold after several days. Spritz a little bit of distilled water into the weekly batch container, or tape a small roll of wet cheesecloth to the inside of the container lid.

Go organic when purchasing the herbs from your vendor, or if you are harvesting from your yard (or the wild), be careful of possible contamination from insecticides, herbicides, car exhaust, fertilizer/septic leaching, chemical drainage/spills, etc., which could make your usage less than satisfactory.

Lobelia is not entirely necessary for the quit-mix, but it is extremely helpful if you can tolerate it. It is known as "puke weed" for a good reason, so use it sparingly! Lobeline is a component of lobelia, which fools the brain into thinking it is receiving nicotine, satisfying the cravings for a cigarette. It has been used in many commercial quit-smoking aids (like nicotine gum).

Research the herbs and consult your doctor or herbalist for possible concerns and/or negative reactions, especially if you suffer from health issues, allergies, are pregnant, or on prescribed medications.

The Herbal Quit-Smoking Recipes

The following recipes are only guidelines and can be modified to suit your needs and taste preferences. All the herbs used are dried, cut and sifted, and NOT in a powdered format.Aids to create your own herbal cigarettes.

Herb Mix #1

1/3 cup Skullcap
1/3 cup Catnip
1/3 cup Plantain
2/3 cup Mullein *
1/2 tsp. Lobelia

Herb Mix #2

1 cup Coltsfoot
1/4 cup Mugwort
1/4 cup Plantain
1/4 cup Mullein *
1-1/2 tsp. Rosemary
1-1/2 tsp. Licorice root
1/2 tsp. Lobelia

NOTE: Two Tablespoons (more, or less, to taste) of dried mint herb to either of the quit-smoking herb mixes (see "Mint" reference in the sidebar at left) will create a more menthol smoking mixture

Mix the herbs well. Break up stems and remove sticks, or anything that may cause you difficulty in forming the cigarettes or smoking the pipe.

Follow the Herbal Quit Smoking Method as stated above.

* Mullein and mugwort should be rubbed between your hands to make them fluffy before measuring for your mix recipe. Mullein leaves and stems are very hard, but brittle, so break them into smaller pieces if you can.

The Results

A tobacco pipe can be used as a security blanket for a quick herb-only smoke, after you quit smoking cigarettes. It may help prevent a relapse, and the herb mix can help clear and heal the lungs if you have coughing or congestion.

I had never made it past three months without a cigarette, so naturally I figured the herbs were not going to be any different from anything else I had tried. After six months without a cigarette and only light occasional cravings, I was surprised and hopeful. I used the pipe with an herbal mix twice to clear chest congestion, then put it away. It has been just under eleven months since I smoked my last cigarette, as of this date. My computer desktop "Quit-Meter" says I have saved nearly $3,000, or NOT smoked 14,725 cigarettes, and extended my life an additional 16 weeks!

My good friend Pam (DG's pdhickey) also quit smoking using a slightly different herbal recipe. It really helped to have a "quit-buddy" to share and compare the experience with, and to encourage each other. I hope if you try any of the quit smoking mixes listed in this article, or within the links below, that you have the same success that we did!

The information in this article is for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice.

Additional Quit Smoking Links & Info:

Herbal Smoking Mixtures. Howie Brounstein. 1995.

For Those Who Want to Quit Smoking. Opossum Sally. 2001.

eHow. How to Cease Smoking With Herbs. Barbara Fahs.

Bella Online: Herbs Site. Herbal Smoking Mixture. Amelia Tucker, Guest Author.