Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kick Your Smoking Habit With St John's Wort

Most smokers find it difficult to quit smoking when withdrawal symptoms set in. Failure to overcome the withdrawal symptoms lead many smokers into relapse. If you want a natural remedy for these symptoms, you can consider St John's Wort.

In Europe, doctors treat people who suffer from depression and anxiety with St John's Wort which comforts them. In scientific terms, St John's Wort refers to hypercium perforatum. It acts as an alternative remedy for commercial drugs such as Prozac. Studies show the effectiveness of St John's Wort in easing the symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression. In major depression cases, however, St John's Wort yields poor results.

Until today, no scientific studies can claim St John's Wort as an aid in quit smoking programs. The only recent study was conducted by Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Although the results of the pilot study appear to be encouraging, more clinical studies are needed to support the effectiveness of St John's Wort in treating nicotine addictions. So, this herb still remains as an unapproved or unlicensed herbal remedy for smoking cessation.

Nicotine helps smokers overcome depression by increasing the levels of dopamine, a body chemical which induces a happy mood. When you give up smoking, your brain adjusts to changes in dopamine. During this transition period, your body undergoes withdrawal symptoms as absence of nicotine causes the dopamine levels to drop. St. John's Wort increases levels of dopamine to counteract your cravings to smoke cigarettes.

Pharmaceutical companies use a standardized extract of hypericin, the active ingredient, to make over-the-counter St John's Wort supplements. They come in different forms such as oil, tincture, and capsule. You can easily buy them from drug stores, grocery stores, health shops, and pharmacies.

Many people assume St John's Wort does not produce side effects because of its natural and herbal properties. However, reports reveal side effects in isolated cases. For example, it causes nerve damage or cataract when you expose yourself to too much sunlight. So, avoid exposure to sunshine, tanning rays, and tanning salons. Wear sunglasses when going out in the daytime especially under strong sunlight conditions. Studies caution consumers to be careful with the dosages. You should only take 300mg of standardized St John's Wort either once or twice daily. Read the warning labels on the bottles. This potent herb also interferes with other medications. You should not take St John's Wort during:

1. Pregnancy
2. Consumption of other anti-depressant drugs, contraceptive pills, and blood-thinning drugs

Start taking St John's Wort the week before your designated quit day. Even though clinical studies to support the effectiveness of this herb in smoking cessation is insufficient, you can consider this herb as an option. Instead of taking prescribed drugs, St John's Wort is safer and costs less. Many people take it without their doctors' advice. However, consult your doctor first if you plan to use this herb to kick your smoking habit.

No comments:

Post a Comment