Stop And Smell The Oils
Nicotine addiction is complex, but a simple whiff of essential oils may help put cravings in their place. Inhaling a drop of black pepper or angelica oil made cravings less intense for tobacco users in a small pilot study published in the latestJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
During the study, 20 nicotine users wafted a drop of one of the essential oils on a tissue for two minutes—about the length of time it takes to smoke a cigarette—when they felt the urge to smoke, dip, or chew tobacco. Although both essential oils effectively curbed cravings, they had different reactions. Reported intensity of cravings dropped more dramatically for black pepper users than for those who sniffed angelica, while angelica users were able to delay their next nicotine hit for longer than those in the pepper group.
“We kept black pepper and angelica separate for the research, but if I were recommending these essential oils to someone trying to quit smoking, I would tell them to use both,” says Barbara Cordell, PhD, RN, a certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner and dean of nursing and health sciences at Panola University.
Dr. Cordell believes the difference can be pinned on the essential oils’ different properties—black pepper is a stimulant, while angelica has calming properties. She chose the two oils for this study due to their standout status in previous studies on aromatherapy and nicotine cravings.
To be clear, this pilot study was so small that no statistics could be gathered, but the affordability and wide availability of essential oils makes any contribution to kicking a tobacco habit a tantalizing possibility. “We’re just beginning to understand how they work and why they work, but we know they work,” Dr.
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