Was one of your new years’ resolutions about giving up smoking this year? Have you tried giving up or have you postponed it yet again? It is now near the end of January, so if you haven’t really tried or have not succeeded, maybe you could benefit from knowing how aromatherapy can help you give up smoking. There are essential oils that can help with cravings and there are essential oils that can help with the emotional issues that one goes through when giving up a habit. And there are also essential oils that actually specifically help with giving up smoking. In today’s blog I will give information on all of these.
Some people quote Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief and say that anything we give up, or we ‘lose’ from our life has the same stages to progress through as death or the loss of a person we love. First there is denial, then there is anger, then bargaining, then depression and then acceptance. After successfully passing through all these phases one has then given up. This can be likened to giving up anything as it is a loss for the person involved. Smoking is no different. One way to help the process of giving up smoking is with essential oils. If we look at the process as Kubler-Ross described it then the most obvious and easy issues to treat are anger and depression. The essential oils which will be used depend on the person to some extent and the aromas that they enjoy, as choosing oils which are liked is an important part of aromatherapy. There is a large choice of essential oils which could be used for these issues. Oils which could be used for anger include the following. They could be one of the ‘sunshine’ citrus oils such as bergamot, lemon, orange or petitgrain, or they could be more herbal such as thyme, clary sage, rosemary, Melissa or patchouli or more floral such as jasmine, lavender, rose, neroli or ylang ylang. Alternatively, they could be more woody such as cypress or cedarwood. For depression, we could use a great number of oils and again these include citrus oils such as bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin or other lemony aromas such as may chang, palmarosa or lemongrass, or there are more herby aromas such as basil, clary sage, thyme, rosemary, melissa, chamomile, patchouli, or more floral oils such as lavender, jasmine, neroli, ylang and rose or again the more woody oils such as cypress, juniper berry, rosewood or sandalwood. There are also other oils for depression such as Frankincense, clove, vetiver and black pepper. Some of the oils for anger and depression are the same and thus if possible it is good to use the oils which are good for both. If there are other emotional symptoms surfacing it is good to be able to identify these to and treat those with the same blend if possible. Another often quoted symptom seen in giving up habits such as smoking is anxiety and again many of these are the same as for anger and depression. Useful essential oils to treat anxiety include citrus oils (bergamot, grapefruit, petitgrain, lemon, lime and mandarin), herby oils (angelica, clary sage, chamomile, melissa, rosemary, thyme) floral oils (rose, neroli, jasmine, ylang ylang and lavender) and the woody oils (cypress, cedarwood) and other oils such as frankincense and vetiver. There has been research into the use of aromatherapy and giving up smoking. In 2013, one study found that black pepper and angelica essential oils helped nicotine cravings. It was found that both oils helped reduce cravings and allowed a longer a longer delay before the next use of tobacco. Black pepper was seen to be more useful in reducing cravings, whereas angelica was found to be more beneficial in lengthening the delay. Earlier research found that black pepper was very useful in reducing nicotine cravings and also reducing anxiety related to nicotine withdrawals.
Here is my blend (25 drops or 1 ml)- I would use this in a massage oil blended with a carrier oil, in an inhaler, on a tissue, on an aroma pendant or in a cold aroma diffuser.
Black pepper 8 drops
Bergamot 5 drops
Cypress 5 drops
Lemon 4 drops
Rose 3 drops
Black pepper - because of its aid in depression and the research with nicotine withdrawal. It also helps rid negative energy, increase motivation and clarity.
Bergamot - because of its aid in depression, anxiety, and anger and it also brings positive thinking and energy.
Cypress - because it is the oil to use in times of great transitions in life and grief (if we think of giving up smoking as something ending in our life). It also is very helpful for depression, anger and anxiety.
Lemon - because it gives clarity on our resolve. It is also good for anxiety, anger and depression.
Rose - because it is a great oil for depression, anger and anxiety and it increases feelings of happiness.
If this helps even 1 person give up smoking, I will be very happy.
Cordell, B & Buckle J (2013 Aug) The effects of aromatherapy on nicotine craving on a U.S. campus: a small comparison study. J Altern Complement Med. 19(8):709-13. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0537. retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23536963
Rose, JE & Behm FM (1994 Feb) Inhalation of vapor from black pepper extract reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms.Drug Alcohol Depend. 34(3):225-9 retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8033760