As one of the most powerfully addictive substances, nicotine can be one of the hardest to give up.
In fact, most smokers are likely to relapse several times before achieving long-term abstinence. When a craving hits, natural treatments for nicotine addiction can help ease withdrawal symptoms and alleviate the desire to smoke.
Acupuncture is a commonly used therapy for people struggling with nicotine dependence. While medical studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture for smoking cessation are varied, some have suggested that the ancient practice - which involves hair-thin needles that are inserted into various areas on the skin's surface - can help with cravings. Combined with a smoking-cessation program, acupuncture might be helpful for patients who have been unsuccessful with other therapies.
It may seem strange to suggest one addictive substance as a replacement for another, but caffeine is relatively safe and can provide some of the same effects that a smoker would experience using nicotine, like increased energy, better concentration and improved mood. During the beginning stages of quitting smoking, caffeine may be helpful - as long as it does not contribute to anxiety or agitation.
The herb lobelia is found in many anti-smoking products, and it has been touted as an effective substance for fighting nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Research on lobelia has shown that it might increase levels of dopamine in the brain - which is a similar side effect of smoking. Note that lobelia may not be safe for everyone, and it can be toxic in high doses. If you experience symptoms like shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or confusion while taking lobelia, see a doctor immediately.
Possibly the most widely known natural treatment for nicotine addiction, hypnotherapy can be effective for some people. Studies have shown mixed results about hypnotherapy's long-term effectiveness, but also encouraging statistics about its ability to promote short-term abstinence.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a big part of nicotine cessation includes setting goals and asking for support from friends and family members. Distraction techniques can also work in the beginning stages of quitting - replace the urge to smoke with physical activity, chewing gum or some other type of habit. If you can't quit cold turkey just yet, cutting back a little each day will eventually help you reach your goal.
Source: Mayo Clinic, US Library of Medicine