I am not a smoker. But the three closest members of my family all smoke. I grew up in a house of smokers. They have all tried to quit at one point or another with varying degrees of success. I love them all deeply, so I want more than anything to be able to help them stop smoking.
When I started getting interested in essential oils, I realized their amazing restorative and therapeutic powers. Naturally, I wanted to learn all I could, so I bought a reference book I use nearly every day: Modern Essentials. One of the first things I read was about supporting nicotine addiction withdrawals using Black Pepper essential oil. In fact after further research, I found a medical research study that found cigarette cravings were significantly reduced in the group that inhaled black pepper essential oil. Additionally, negative affect and somatic symptoms of anxiety were alleviated in the pepper group. The study abstract can be found at the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website here. The actual publication citation is: Rose JE, Behm FM. Inhalation of vapor from black pepper extract reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms. Drug Alcohol Depen. 1994;34:225-229.
It seems like an e-cigarette with black pepper vapor would be the answer, right? While e-cigarettes may be slightly better than traditional cigarettes, they are still very unhealthy, containing nicotine, known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. Even the emissions from the vapor can contain the carcinogen formaldehyde Our FDA, the British Medical Association and the World Health Organization all have warned about the dangers and addicting qualities of e-cigarettes. In fact according to this report, the U.S. FDA is spending $270 million in 45 studies to discover the effects of e-cigarettes, most of which are still widely unknown.
So is there a natural alternative? Yes- Black Pepper Essential Oil! Black Pepper Essential Oil has been shown to be the following:
Rich source of antioxidants.* • Enhances food flavor. • After your afternoon nap apply to the bottom of your feet for a stimulating wake up. • Maintains healthy circulation.* • Diffuse or inhale directly to soothe anxious feelings. • Take one to two drops in capsule for antioxidant support.*
Developing a recipe
I saw a picture online of black pepper soaked toothpicks, but have never been able to find an actual recipe. So, I’ve been experimenting with my own and pushing the trials on anybody that would try them-usually my sister. I’ll give you all my latest recipe, but you need to make them and help me by giving me feedback on what you think, deal? It’s an evolving thing.
The Cinnamon Bark essential oil is strictly optional and only used to help make the black pepper more palatable, but it also helped to keep me from sneezing while I made them (black pepper every time). Put the fractionated coconut oil (or any other food grade carrier oil, for that matter) in the bottom of an 8 oz mason jar or other air-tight glass jar, just enough to cover the bottom of the jar.
- 1-2 tsp fractionated coconut oil or unflavored food-grade carrier oil
- 15 drops Black Pepper Essential Oil
- 12 drops Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil (optional)
- 80 wooden toothpicks
- 8 oz glass mason jar with lid or airtight glass container
- Pour just enough carrier oil into mason jar to cover bottom, between one and two teaspoons.
- Drop Black Pepper and Cinnamon Bark essential oils into jar and stir.
- Arrange toothpicks standing up in jar so all are touching the bottom and therefore the oil too.
- Screw on top and allow to soak overnight or until all oil is gone.
- Use before cravings typically hit and as needed when unexpected cravings pop up.
- Happy Experimenting!
Now screw on the top VERY TIGHTLY. You don’t want all those oils evaporating, right? Soak overnight. In the morning, there should be no oil left and they are ready for use. Get one out right before you would normally crave a cigarette (like first thing in the morning, as soon as you get in the car, or right after a meal). Mostly for aromatic uses, but black pepper and cinnamon essential oils are both generally labeled as “supplements”, so they are acceptable to chew like any other toothpick. When you feel a craving coming, get one out again. Just make sure you screw the lid back on real tight after every time you open it. It also wouldn’t hurt if you stored the jar away from the light or extreme heat, as both things will accelerate evaporation. This might be a nice time to try wrapping your mason jar with all that pretty washi tape you bought but never used (guilty).
Now get out there and try these. Let me know how they work by commenting below. Do you think they need more black pepper and less cinnamon? Or same formulation and less toothpicks? Experiment for yourself and let me know what worked for you. I’ve read that study, so I know it will work. We just need to find the right formulation. Please share it with others to get the word out!