Herbal Treats

Herbal Smoking Mixtures Workshop

We present an Herbal Smoking Mixtures Workshop about twice a year. You can purchase a downloadable recording of the last workshop here.

Herbal Smoking Mixtures Part 5

Smoking Herbs to Quit Tobacco

by Howie Brounstein


Let’s face it, herbal smoking mixtures will not cause you to quit Tobacco. Only you can cause you to stop. Smoking mixtures can aid in the process if you are ready. A variety of mixtures can be helpful.

At first, a thick bodied flavorful smoke with Lobelia and calming herbs is indicated. After the physical withdrawal is finished with, drop the Lobelia smoke and use a calming smoke with lots of astringent herbs for a heavy “Tobacco” smoke. In reality, no herbal smoking mixture tastes as “thick” as Tobacco. Be sure to add some Mullein and possibly some expectorants to aid in the cleansing process.
Finally, you may wish to cut the astringents and just go with the very light Mullein alone. Mullein is so light it will feel as you aren’t really smoking anything, and you will eventually lose interest in it.
This regimen is an example, and can be modified to your own personal needs. Some examples of these mixtures are found in the recipe section.

Other herbs, taken as tea or tincture, may be helpful during the withdrawal process. A liver stimulant like Oregon Grape Root or Goldenseal may help your body remove the nicotine quicker. This won’t make the withdrawal symptoms easier, but it will just speed it up. Salicylate herbs, like Willow and Oak, can help with headaches. Calming herbs like Skullcap, Valerian, and Parrot’s Beak, are definitely indicated. After the physical addiction is broken, it’s up to you to break the psychological addiction.

Lobelia, Lobelia inflata:

Lobelia is another example of a strong herb whose dosage can be regulated by smoking. It is a very strong muscle relaxant and tranquilizer that should not be mixed with any other pharmaceutical tranquilizers or alcohol. It also is an expectorant. As an added bonus it is an alterative that increases your body’s own natural defense mechanisms. All this makes it ideal as an herb to stop smoking with.

Your body sees Lobelia’s main ingredient, lobeline, as nicotine. Certain receptors in your body are waiting to be filled with nicotine and so you feel nicotine fits. Lobeline is the same shape as nicotine and fits into these receptor sites, fooling your body into thinking you’ve been smoking Tobacco.
Lobeline, however, is not addictive when used properly for the short term. The prescription chewing gums that doctors prescribe to quit smoking have lobeline as the main ingredient.

Years ago I had a booth at a weekly fair where I sold my herbal products. Eventually I got very tired of this. Towards the end I could no longer stand being available for questions for eight hour stretches. One day I had a wicked headache and took some Lobelia. It was a good solid dose; I had to sit down but my headache was gone. I went to light a cigarette, but after one puff I could not smoke any more. My body felt as if I had smoked too many cigarettes already. It was just the Lobelia.

The important thing to remember about Lobelia is that it is so strong. When making tea, use a teaspoon per 1/2 gallon of water mixed with other herbs. For a smoking mixture add a pinch to a bag of other herbs. If you do take too much Lobelia will make you throw up over 90% of the time.
Unfortunately, if you do not throw up, you can have respiratory failure from the sedative effects. This is a very difficult thing to do because you’ll feel so wretched long before it’s dangerous. Unfortunately, Jethro Kloss in Back to Eden recommends an insane fasting regime that includes using Lobelia every day to throw up. This recommendation has sent a few alternative minded folks to the hospital.
My suggestion: don’t use Lobelia as an emetic (causes vomiting), use something that is safe and effective like syrup of ipecac.

In the United States Lobelia is illegal to sell for internal consumption. Certainly official reasons include the possibility of poisoning. Strangely enough Lobelia is extremely effective for a significant amount of asthmatics. For some people the tincture is useful in place of inhalers. I am sure that the powerful pharmaceutical companies losing a significant percentage of inhaler business has nothing to do with this law.

When I was a pimply adolescent looking for psychic pyrotechnics, I found this ad in the back of High Times for legal highs. My friends and I purchased some Lobelia touted as a mild LSD type feeling.
Leaving our parents and going on a camping trip, we promptly rolled thick joints of Lobelia which we smoked endlessly. After puking our guts out, we were left with headaches and not so vague feelings of depression. We were so bummed out we canceled the camping trip. The difference between poison and medicine is dosage. Personal note: almost all of the 15 or so herbs we tried during that time period had similar results.

Lobelia is the herb for stopping smoking with its calming, expectorant, alterative, and nicotine mimicking effects. When making your mixture, add a pinch of Lobelia. If it’s not satisfying, add more. I once tried to quit smoking. It was very difficult for me, so I smoked a too strong Lobelia cigarette. It made me dizzy, light headed, and nauseous.
However, when I smoked my first cigarette after quitting Tobacco, it made me dizzy, light headed and nauseous. These herbs are very similar in some ways.

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