Addiction to nicotine is commonplace in our society, one for which we have a variety of reasons. Cigarette smoking is thought by smokers to reduces stress; it provides a reason for a break, and gives the chemical compounds the body learns to depend on.
Looking at addiction through the lens of humanity, the use and abuse of substances does more than what we might think. As a communal animal, human beings depend on one another for support, companionship, shared work, ritual, and so many other interconnected needs. This culture of connection supports coping, the actualization of one’s capabilities, as well as service to others.
Now, with the sheer volume of expectations placed upon individuals, compounded by the speed at which we operate, daily life itself can be overwhelming. For many of us, the stress derives from our efforts to acquire food and shelter, and to build belonging. Work, family, and internal anxieties becomes the baseline to which other life stressors are added. Addictions offer a chemical release from the aggregate anxieties of life, and deaden feelings of isolation from the other people who, once upon a time, were a regular part of keeping us connected, accountable, and devoted.
Because of the breadth of impact of an addiction, they can be very hard to confront. Essential oils can support the process of breaking the smoking habit. To free yourself from an addiction to smoking, it is also necessary to weave more social support and self-care into the tapestry of your life.
Essential Oil Research
In Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice, Jane Buckle identifies three essential oils that have the following effects: reducing cravings, simulating the respiratory sensations of smoking, and calming the anxiety of cravings.
In a clinical trial that tested the efficacy of essential oils at curbing cravings, clinicians offered Angelica essential oil just after meals, at the time of the most intense cravings. The baseline time participants could wait before smoking was 2 minutes. The group who inhaled Angelica archangelica essential oil were able to wait 53 minutes, about 25 times longer than those without treatment.
Quoted in the same book, Rose and Behm (1994) suggest that to effectively quit, it helps to mimic the respiratory sensation of smoking. Black Pepper essential oil provides that sensation, thus making it easier to resist cravings
Another test was conducted with a sample of women who were recovering from other addictions. The women slept for 7 nights with a few drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil on a cotton square in their pillowcases every night. During the day, they were asked to inhale a few drops from a cotton square if they experienced cravings. The women in the experimental Ylang Ylang group experienced an overall reduction of the number of cravings, over the control group, who inhaled Almond Oil. 4 out of 5 of the women in the Ylang Ylang group reported that, “smelling the oil relieved the stress and anxiety of that moment.”
Patricia Kaminsky and Richard Katz, in their book Flower Essence Repertory, highlight the efficacy of Nicotiana Flower Essence Remedy in assisting with smoking cessation. True to flower essence form, Nicotiana addresses nicotine addiction by encouraging coping with deep feelings, and awakening the bodily and emotional numbing of the period of addiction. Nicotiana also helps a person to remain grounded and establish a stronger connection with nature.
In order to nurture oneself through the period of transition, the traditional methods of adequate rest, supportive nutrition, and enough water will help the body repair itself. In addition, taking time to relax in nature, to connect with loved ones and friends, and to do the things you love will also create in you the connection and nourishment that the cigarettes used to.