Quitting smoking isn't easy. Fortunately, several safe, natural substances can help reduce your cravings. Use these remedies on their own or in conjunction with a smoking-cessation program. I recommend quitting cold turkey-with help from the first two remedies on this list.

  • St. John's wort. Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute Prevention Center in Buffalo found that 375% of participants in a cessation counseling program were smoke-free after taking this herb for 12 weeks, compared with 30.5% who were smoke-free after using prescription drugs. Look for a product standardized to 0.3% hypericin. Take 300 milligrams (mg) three times daily with food.

Best: Take it for four weeks before you stop smoking and then for another month. Don't use St. John's wort if you are also taking an antidepressant or an oral contraceptive.

  • Caladium seguinum. This homeopathic remedy can reduce cigarette cravings. Take two pellets, 30C potency, daily for 10 days, beginning the day you quit.

If you still can't quit, add the two remedies below to your regimen and take all four at once-until your cravings subside.

  • Herbal oat straw (Avena sativa). This herb can calm the nervous system. Take 20 drops of a tincture in water or juice three times daily at any time of day.
  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). This amino acid that enhances mood is converted in the body to the neurotransmitter serotonin. It can help reduce the anxiety and irritability associated with nicotine withdrawal. Take 100 mg three times daily on an empty stomach. It is safe when used with St. John's wort, but do not use 5-HTP if you also are taking an antidepressant or medication for Parkinson's disease.

Helpful: Acupuncture can help to reduce cravings. Most qualified acupuncturists will know how to treat smokers who want to quit.

Try hard, and don't stop trying. It takes most smokers about three attempts at quitting before they succeed.

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