Smoking causes addiction, there’s no mystery there. Wanting to quit an addiction and be in control again is more than understandable. It is, however, very difficult. Not only because of the withdrawal, but also because of the emotional hardship. Using essential oils to quit smoking may be just what you need!
In this post, you’ll be reading about:
- Brain chemistry and the effects of nicotine.
- The way essential oils can help with smoking cessation. Learn more about their potential, as well as the way they act on your mind and body.
- Some of the best aromatherapy oils that can aid in the process of quitting smoking. These oils have been tested and the results were very encouraging.
- Best ways to use these aromatic essences for effective results.
- Aromatherapy blends to experience the oils’ benefits on your own.
- Smoking-related conditions like smokers’ lung and cough, and remedies. Plus a few safety precautions and tips to aid you in your quitting mission.
Essential Oils to Quit Smoking – How to Use and Blends
Addictions, whatever their nature, control us instead of the opposite way. Besides this play of power, other factors contribute to wanting to quit smoking too. Smoking is a very expensive and unhealthy habit, which you already know.
Quitting smoking is also a very personal experience (and choice). One needs clear motivation to go through all the detoxification that this process involves.
Nicotine is a very real addiction. It is not really comparable to sugar or coffee addiction, for example. Nicotine changes your brain’s chemistry, just like cocaine or heroin does.
Nicotine is able to mimic the action of acetylcholine by attaching to its receptors. Acetylcholine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the body.
It regulates muscle movement, breathing, and even memory. In the absence of nicotine, your muscles become weaker, you can’t focus properly, etc.
Like all drugs and eating habits, nicotine increases dopamine levels in the body. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released in the brain region of pleasure and reward. People smoke to feel good and relaxed.
This is one of the reasons why, for the majority, is so very hard to stop smoking. Source: National Institutes of Health.
The time it takes to get your body used without nicotine is also very unpleasant. It’s called withdrawal. So many people start smoking again before completing the withdrawal period.
You have to get your body used to lower dopamine levels, like when it was before starting smoking. A smoker’s dopamine levels are different than those of a non-smoker.
When you don’t get nicotine in your blood and brain, you become depressed. That happens because dopamine drops below the level at which nicotine kept it.
Sugar acts a bit similar, as in it raises dopamine levels (and insulin) for a short time. When it drops again (to normal), you feel it very intensely. Mainly, you feel less energetic.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms start in 4 – 24 hours from the moment you smoked the last cigarette. The worse of the symptoms peak on the third day. Fortunately, in the following 3-4 weeks, they slowly become weaker and weaker.
How Can Essential Oils Help You Curb Smoking
Essential oils and Aromatherapy in general, are a form of CAM. CAM means complementary and alternative medicine. This means that you can use them as an alternative to drugs, patches, etc., or in combination with them.
Of course, some of them may interact with certain medicines, but that’s another story. You’ll find out about the pros and cons of aromatic oils soon.
They are very concentrated plant liquids extracted via steam distillation. The liquid contains tens or hundreds of volatile oil molecules. Each oil is unique in its chemical composition.
Once inside our bodies, they also act differently. Though, sometimes the end result is the same with another oil, the path it took to achieve it is different.
An essential oil is:
- Analgesic (pain reliever).
- Expectorant (helps getting rid of mucus).
- Antitussive (stops or calms down coughing episodes).
- Diuretic (promotes urine production and toxin elimination).
- Boost memory.
- Help you stay more focused on a task.
Unfortunately, there is very little evidence supporting the anti-smoking effects of complementary medicines.
But there are other studies that reinforce the beneficial effects of essential oils. For example, I was telling you about acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter has many vital roles in the body. It also controls memory and learning among others.
There is also an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme breaks down the acetylcholine and diminishes or stops its action.
Some essential oils like Rosemary (ct. cineole) can inhibit the effect of acetylcholinesterase. Other aromatic oils that can help with this are Cardamom, Eucalyptus, Myrtle, and Sage.
In other words, inhaling some of these essential oils could help you quit smoking. Meaning, they can keep your brain more alert, fire the necessary synapses and give you more energy.
If you’re looking for essential oils to help with smoking detoxification, you need them to be diuretic. This ability promotes urine production. Through urine, we eliminate toxins, some fat molecules, and cholesterol. Diuretic essential oils can also eliminate excess water too.
Essential oils to stop smoking can be used with other smoking cessation methods. They have very little side effects (though, they do exist!). They also cost almost nothing compared to what cigarettes cost.
Pay attention to how you feel during withdrawal. Angry, lethargic, restless, depressed and moody? These are all symptoms you can find an aromatic essence to help with.
No essential oil will help you quit smoking or chewing tobacco without wanting to. For some people who tried it, Aromatherapy has proven helpful. Essential oils for smoking cessation can also make your anxiety and depression more bearable.
They can uplift your mood and also help you sleep well at night. For some people, certain aroma oils helped curb their nicotine cravings. For others, all they did was to make the withdrawal a lot easier.
The effects of essential oils for smoking cessation can differ from one person to another. The good part about it is that they are quite safe. They do have proven health benefits, even if they can’t be as effective at helping you quit.
What essential oils help you stop smoking? The few proven ones are Black Pepper, Angelica, Lavender, and Bergamot. Let’s see their pros and cons, so you can make informed decisions.
1) Black Pepper Essential Oil
Botanical name: Piper nigrum.
- Black Pepper was used in a medical experiment on 20 volunteers. They were asked to inhale a drop of EO from a cotton tissue, every time they craved nicotine, for 2 minutes. The result was a reduced nicotine craving. Those volunteers also used nicotine after a longer period of time than usual.
- You can use Black Pepper essential oil to quit smoking, but also to stimulate all body functions.
- It improves the digestion. But it also improves circulation, especially in the hands and feet.
- Most importantly, Black Pepper oil has expectorant properties. It fluidifies the mucus and encourages its elimination. This helps clear out the smoker’s lungs and the respiratory system.
- It is dermo-caustic. This means that Pepper oil can burn the sensitive membranes and skin.
- People with asthma and seizures or epilepsy must seek their doctor’s approval.
- The oil may interact with certain medications, because it has cortisone-like effects.
Why I like it:
Black Pepper essential oil has an interesting scent. It is woody and spicy, but also fresh, which does not make it the same as the ground spice. The oil can be used to relieve muscle tension and prepare for a workout. It can also disinfect well and lower down the fever, among others.
2) Angelica Essential Oil
Botanical name: Angelica archangelica.
- “The root of the Holy Spirit” or the “oil of angels” and its soothing effects are known since the Middle Ages. It is a very good sedative and anti-anxiety essence. Angelica acts directly on the nervous system and prevents the heart rhythm to rise.
- The oil is soothing and calming and can promote a deep sleep.
- It is also great against intestinal and muscle spasms.
- The same study I mentioned at Black Pepper, used Angelica too. Angelica can also reduce the nicotine craving level. But it is more useful at delaying the time you use tobacco again.
- The oil of Angelica can also help with weakness and memory or focus during withdrawal.
- You can use Angelica essential oil to quit smoking and to relieve coughs.
- The oil can also prevent blood clotting and improve digestion.
- Some sources say that Angelica oil can increase your appetite.
- Angelica is phototoxic. This means it cannot be applied to the skin before sun exposure. Otherwise, it can cause severe burns.
- Avoid using Angelica essential oil to stop smoking if you suffer from hemophilia.
- Also, avoid its use if you’re on anticoagulants or taking aspirin. The oil can also interfere with kidney treatments.
- Angelica can also increase the risk of a seizure.
Why I like it:
It smells very warm and aromatic, with herbal notes. You can use this oil for insomnia or depression and anxiety. You can also use it to repel insects and calm down your nicotine cravings, of course.
3) Lavender Essential Oil
Botanical name: Lavandula angustifolia.
- Lavender oil is rich in linalyl acetate (and linalool). Linalyl acetate was able to repair cell damage caused by acute nicotine exposure. It can also help with possible cardiovascular problems caused by nicotine.
- Lavender is a very soothing and calming essence. It can decrease the heart rate and blood pressure. These are usually raised during withdrawal.
- The oil can relieve muscle spasms, help you sleep and improve blood circulation.
- Avoid the use of Lavender oil to quit smoking if you have serious cardiovascular problems.
- People with asthma should consult with their doctors first.
- Avoid using large amounts of Lavender oil for long periods of time. It can cause insomnias and make you nervous.
Why I like it:
Lavender oil can help you go through the withdrawal period a bit easier. Whenever you feel depressed or anxious, restless or angry, inhale this oil. It’ll calm your nerves down. The oil is great for skin care and digestion, as well as to repel insects.
4) Bergamot Essential Oil
Botanical name: Citrus bergamia.
- Bergamot is another oil rich in linalyl acetate and linalool. Thus, the oil can help your body recover from nicotine-induced cardiovascular damage.
- It also improves circulation by relaxing the blood vessels.
- Bergamot oil is an excellent calming and sedative substance. It can help with anxiety, spasms, and tension.
- The oil is a great digestive oil, thus it can speed up a slow digestion. It has important antibacterial properties also.
- Bergamot oil is phototoxic, which means no sun exposure after using it. Its effects should go away in a day or two.
- After a few continuous days’ uses, Bergamot can interact with certain medicines.
- Avoid using Bergamot essential oil to quit smoking if you have kidney stones. It can be toxic when ingested or used in large amounts.
Why I like it:
Bergamot has a citrusy, fresh aroma that uplifts the senses and mind. Since it can boost all vital processes and help your heart recover from nicotine exposure, it would be a shame not to use it.
Other essential oils for smoking cessation are:
- Sweet Marjoram
- Litsea Cubeba (Exotic Verbena)
- Eucalyptus (radiata)
- Lemon Myrtle
- Sweet Orange
- White Ginger Lily (Hedychium coronarium)
- Roman Chamomile
- Ylang Ylang
- Pink Grapefruit
- Clary Sage
- Juniper berry
When you’re a smoker, you get used to the foul smell of nicotine and the other substances. Your sense of smell becomes somewhat numb. Once you’re done with it, you will smell that smell, and oh, so intensely! Essential oils can also help you with that smoke in the air.
If you need essential oils for smoke odors, you can use any of the above-mentioned. Any aromatic oil can help purify the air, though some are more powerfully scented. For example, you can use:
- Ylang Ylang,
These essential oils you use to quit smoking can be from doTERRA, Young Living or any other company you trust.
I saw some people making their own “quit sticks” blend from toothpicks. I don’t really see the point, to be honest. Essential oils are more effective during inhalation (or topical use). They can even cause some discomfort if taken internally when you chew those sticks.
If you do want to chew on something else instead of tobacco, you can go for cardamom pods. There is some evidence supporting these effects. Cardamom flavored gum helped a few people to lessen their nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
You can quit chewing tobacco with essential oils or cardamom seeds/flavored gum.
How to Use Essential Oils to Stop Smoking
If you’ve read other articles I wrote, you know I always tell you that essential oils are very concentrated. Thus, they should always be diluted with a carrier oil before topical application.
Some can also irritate the nasal mucosa, which means you’ll have to dilute them for inhalation too. Mixing Black Pepper with Bergamot, for example, is a good blend. Pepper is a very irritant oil.
Through inhalation, we usually get 50 – 70% of oil molecules inside our bodies. They reach the brain and blood very fast as opposed to topical use.
So, to be able to inhale essential oils to quit smoking efficiently, you can use:
- Portable inhalers (the same as nasal inhalers). Soak the cotton wick inside the inhaler with an essential oil blend for quitting smoking. Unscrew the inhaler whenever you feel like smoking or chewing tobacco. Inhale deeply for about 2 minutes, every time.
- Aromatherapy diffusers. Place a few drops in its water or diffusing chamber. Keep the diffuser on for only 20 – 30 minutes, every two hours. Or diffuse for 5 minutes, every hour. Make sure the room is always well-ventilated. That will ensure you don’t get headaches or feel nauseous because of oil buildup.
- Cotton pads. Pour a drop or two on a cotton pad and inhale deeply for 2 minutes, every time you feel down or crave a cigarette.
- Aromatic baths. Mix some essential oils for quitting smoking with some salt. Throw the mixture into the hot bathwater. Relax and inhale deeply.
- Steam baths. Boil some water and add a drop of oil in it. Cover your head with a towel and inhale deeply for 10 minutes. This will help with nicotine cravings, mood swings, and respiratory problems.
For topical use, mix some carrier oil with essential oils for smoking cessation. Keep your blend in a small roll-on bottle.
It’s easier to use and carry around. Inhalers are also very easy and fast to use and carry around. Their intense fragrance will be only for your nose.
Essential Oil Blends to Quit Smoking
After all the theory and explanations, I say it’s time to get practical. Here are a few Aromatherapy recipes to help you start quitting smoking.
Aromatherapy “Quit Smoking” Inhaler Recipe
- Angelica essential oil: 5 drops
- Black Pepper essential oil: 3 drops
- Bergamot essential oil: 5 drops
You can either pour each drop on the cotton wick or you can first mix all the oils together. Then, soak the wick in the mixture and take it out with tweezers. Inhale for 2 minutes hourly or whenever you feel like smoking.
Tobacco Withdrawal Essential Oil 10ml Roll-On Blend
- Lemon Myrtle essential oil: 5 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 5 drops
- Angelica essential oil: 5 drops
- Jojoba/Macadamia oil
Place the essential oils into the roll-on bottle first, then top off with a carrier. Give it a good shake before each use. Apply to pulse points and inhale deeply for 2 minutes.
Quitting Smoking First Aid Diffuser Blend
- Bergamot essential oil: 15 drops
- Sweet Orange essential oil: 10 drops
- Pink Grapefruit essential oil: 20 drops
- Black Pepper essential oil: 15 drops
Aromatic Remedies for Smoking-Related Conditions (Safety & Tips)
Long-term smokers are usually more prone to all sorts of health problems. Two of the most common ones are smokers’ lung and smokers’ cough. These two systems are interconnected and directly affected by the smoke (toxins + nicotine).
Essential Oils for Smokers’ Lung
The lungs have a delicate lining that gets irritated (and inflamed) by the cigarette smoke. When that happens, there’s also an accumulation of excess mucus. The results are clogged airways and coughing. Infections are also common at this stage.
The good news is that lungs can start healing right after you quit smoking. You’ll feel less shortness of breath. Your brain will be better oxygenated because there’s no more carbon monoxide in the blood. The inflammation of your throat and lungs will slowly start to decrease.
If you want to speed up this process, you have a few essential oils choices. Some of the best essential oils for smokers’ lung are:
- Eucalyptus (radiata)
- Rosemary (cineole)
- Tea Tree
Essential Oils for Smokers’ Cough
Lung infections are not unusual, especially while actively smoking for a long time. These infections are caused by an excess buildup of mucus. The little lung hairs (cilia) responsible for clearing out mucus get paralyzed. This leads to mucus buildup.
Most of the times, a smoker’s cough leads to chronic bronchitis (emphysema). COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a complication of chronic bronchitis.
Some of the best essential oils for smokers’ cough are:
- Juniper Berry
- Eucalyptus (radiata)
- Black Pepper
- Tea Tree
- Green Myrtle
As you can see, essential oils can aid in quitting smoking. But they can also aid your body in recovering after quitting smoking. During withdrawal, there’s a lot of inflammation and irritation that starts healing up.
They may be natural, with few side effects, but essential oils can sometimes be dangerous too. This happens when they’re improperly used.
Large amounts used for a long time can usually cause some toxic buildup. Some oils can also interact with certain drugs. It’s best to always look at both the pros and the cons of an essence. Also, keep these tips in mind:
- Test each new bottle of oil for allergic reactions. Their chemical composition may slightly vary from batch to batch. The geographical area influences this composition a lot.
- If you suffer from other health conditions, it’s best to talk to your medic first.
- Never take essential oils to quit smoking internally. Not without medical counsel, anyway.
- For elderly people, quitting smoking with essential oils should be done after talking to a doctor.
- Don’t pour essential oils on cigars/cigarettes! They are volatile substances that catch fire fast. Each essence has its own flashpoint, and without knowing it, you risk many accidents. Therefore, I do not advise anyone trying to smoke essential oils. Their volatile nature is enough to enjoy their benefits through inhalation.
Inspirational Tips to Help You Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is a wide topic. There is a lot of research and literature to read. Almost each and one of them have at least an idea or tip to make it easier.
Since no one method is guaranteed to work for everybody, these tips can only add to your knowledge. You never know which one will work until you try them. Here are a few more from me:
- Cravings, whatever their nature, last anywhere between 5 – 10 minutes. To reduce this craving requires you to do something else at that particular moment. That way, you divert your attention instantly and the craving goes away. Try to exercise more often and/or inhale from your essential oils to quit smoking.
- Of course, try patches and gums, and also e-cigarettes. At least you’ll know for sure whether they work or not.
- Consume more omega-3 fatty acids. They’ve been linked to smoking more when the intake is insufficient.
- Relax, breathe deeply and meditate. This will allow your blood to collect more oxygen and help you feel better.
Aromatherapy is a great alternative to medicines of all sorts. They can help with anxiety, depression, pain and lack of focus. A few volatile molecules have proved to be stimulant for the nervous system and the memory.
If you want to use essential oils to quit smoking though, keep in mind they’re not miracle cures. They can only make the process easier or help you create healthier habits. Have you ever tried Aromatherapy for this purpose yet? Do you know someone who has?