Ayurvedic herbal smoking (Dhumpana) is the best alternative for regular smoking. Combined with a healthy diet, Ayurvedic herbs, and physical exercise, Ayurvedic herbal smoking may help you get rid of your smoking habit easily, without any adverse effects.
Ayurvedic Herbal Smoking (Dhumpana)
One of the Ayurvedic ways to quit smoking is by smoking itself. This is known as dhumpana or Ayurvedic herbal smoking.
According to Ayurveda, a person who wishes to take care of his or her health should inhale herbal smoke daily to treat or to prevent the onset of diseases of the parts above the shoulders1, arising from increases of Kapha and Vata.2
The penetrating hot smoke increases Pitta antagonizes Kapha and Vata and has a cleansing action on the air passages.
The aggravated doshas, seated in the nose, throat, and chest, are subdued through the act of smoking.
Benefits Of Ayurvedic Herbal Smoking 3
1. It relieves many ailments.
Ayurvedic Herbal Smoking may help relieve the following ailments.
Heaviness of the head, headache, rhinitis, migraine, earache, pain in the eye, cough, hiccup, dyspnoea, obstruction in the throat, weakness of the teeth, discharge from the morbid ear, nose and eye, purulent smell from nose and mouth, toothache, anorexia, lockjaw, torticollis, pruritus, infectious conditions, paleness of the face, excessive salivation, impaired voice, tonsillitis, uvulitis, alopecia, greying and hair loss, sneezing, excessive drowsiness, loss of consciousness, and excess sleep.
It also strengthens the hair, skull bones, sense organs, and voice. The diseases pertaining to the head and neck arising out of Vata and Kapha dosha do not affect the person who does Ayurvedic herbal smoking.
2. It’s a healthy alternative to regular smoking.
Because it’s a better alternative to regular smoking, it’s also one of the ways to quit smoking. Smoking nicotine or tobacco reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha (kaphavata shamaka), and increases Pitta dosha (pittavardhaka). It is penetrating in nature (yavayi). Its action is intoxicating.4
Reason for its Addiction
Nicotine or tobacco travels quickly to the brain when it is inhaled and can cause a feeling of temporary relaxation and/or stress relief. It causes pleasant feelings and distracts the smoker from unpleasant feelings. This makes the smoker want to smoke again. That’s why it is highly addictive. Regular and excessive use of tobacco smoking leads to addiction and serious health hazards.
According to Ayurveda
Vata (air properties of human body) likes smoke to calm down anxiety and give distraction from worry. Pitta (fire properties in the human body) loves the addition of fire properties which makes it feel more powerful. Kapha (water properties of the human body) likes the stimulating power of tobacco smoking.
Ayurvedic Health Counselor Marissa Mele quit smoking with the help of yoga and Ayurveda. Read her story here.
Ayurvedic Herbal Smoking: Ingredients + Method Of Use
What does a typical Ayurvedic Herbal cigarette contain? Indian bedellium (guggulu), mixed with neem, turmeric, saffron and black gram is formed into a wick. It’s then dipped into ghee for lubrication. When you burn this wick, it easily catches fire and yields medicinal smoke.
Ayurveda herbal smoking (dhumpan) is an initial step to overcome the craving for nicotine. Herbal cigarettes such as turmeric, holy basil (tulsi), spikenard (jatamansi), sandalwood (chandan), saffron (khas), cinnamon, licorice, clove and guggul which are free from nicotine can also be used as a good alternative.
Inhalation of vapors of black pepper also reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms.5
Here’s a recipe to make Ayurvedic herbal cigarettes at home.
Ayurvedic Herbal Cigarettes Recipe
Take 8 grams of Indian bedellium (guggulu), and pound it well. Add 2 grams each of powdered neem, turmeric and black gram (urad dal) and one half to one gram of saffron and ghee to the Indian bedellium and mix well. Make it into the form of a wick in the size that suits you. On adding ghee, if you burn this wick, it easily catches fire and yields smoke.
Note: If Indian bedellium (guggulu) is not available, you can simply make the combination with the other herbs, as per availability, put on a hot pan and inhale the smoke.
Dietary Changes To Help You Quit
- Along with Ayurvedic Herbal smoking, it is advised to bring a change to your diet.
- A low fat, vegetarian diet containing milk, yogurt, ghee, fruits, and vegetables is ideal.
- Increase your consumption of alkaline foods such as dry nuts, sprouts, lima beans, and raisins and cut down on the acidic content of your food by reducing bread, coffee, tea and red meat. Protein improves concentration so fish, egg whites, or lean meat can be taken. Sip green tea or use a coffee substitute like Raja’s Cup.
- Nicotine from cigarettes acts as an appetite suppressant and slows down the body’s metabolism which results in skipping meals. Quitting smoking leads to feeling more hunger than usual, and increases body weight. So swap your usual snacks with healthier options such as raw fruits and vegetables, carrots, celery sticks, apples, guava, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, blueberries, flax seeds and plain popcorn.
- Foods high in fat, sugar, salt, and alcohol should be avoided.
- Drink plenty of water stored in a copper container which helps in removing toxins and in reducing weight by increasing metabolism and boosting the ability to burn fat.
- Fresh lime can be used effectively as a smoking cessation aid.6 It is rich in vitamin C which helps in strengthening immunity. Juicy fruits such as oranges and grapefruits can also be taken.
- Ginger, ginseng and grape juice are natural detoxifiers. They rejuvenate your system and cleanse out the toxins faster.
Read the nutritional information on packaged food products for foods that have:
- Less than 10g total fat per 100g total weight.
- Less than 15g sugars per 100g total weight.
- Less than 400mg salt (sodium) per 100g total weight.
Several herbal combinations are available which, if used appropriately, not only reduce the craving for cigarettes, but also control withdrawal symptoms, increase appetite, and create a sense of well-being.
- Powder containing ingredients such as ginger, Indian Gooseberry (amla), turmeric and licorice powder has to be made into a ball and consumed to reduce the cravings for a cigarette.
Regular use of tobacco causes deposition of nicotine, tar and other toxic compounds in the tissues. To expel such toxic substances, take one tablespoon of triphala powder or two capsules every night, before bedtime. Triphala is helpful because it has the potency to cleanse the colon and flush out toxins.
A powdered combination of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Bala root (Sida cordifolia) taken every morning is helpful in detoxification. This powder is also found helpful for the brain, nervous system, chronic pain and sexual health.
Chyavanaprash, a combination of various useful herbs, is considered to be a strong supplement for immunity boosting.
It is seen that chewing tender neem leaves (Azadirachta indica) daily for about one month regularly helps to quell the urge of tobacco chewing.7
Rhodiola rosea prevents the development of nicotine dependence and has therapeutic effects in the treatment of smoking cessation.
Dosha Predominance In Smokers
Use these herbs to avoid any side effects of quitting smoking.
Vata Dosha Symptoms: weak lungs, dry cough, and constipation.
Use ashwagandha, shatavari, ginseng, marshmallow.
Pitta Dosha Symptoms: infected with various diseases of lung, liver, and blood.
Use Aloe Vera gel, Shatavari, bayberry.
Kapha Dosha Symptoms: prone to congestion.
Use cloves or calamus mixed with honey as well as trikatu.
More herbs to overcome cravings and for recovering.
- Passionflower (Passiflora Incarnata) and Lobelia (Lobelia Inflata) both affect the same receptors in the brain as nicotine.
- Ginseng (Panax ginseng), stops the brain from releasing dopamine when tobacco is smoked, thereby making tobacco less pleasurable.
- Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) drunk as a tea or smoked helps to relieve coughs and clean mucus out of lungs.
- Elecampane (Inula helenium) drunk as a tea helps to clean out, tone and rejuvenate the lungs.
- Dandelion Root (Taraxacum offinale), Artichoke Leaf (Cynara scolymus) and Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) are excellent herbs to cleanse and strengthen the liver when recovering from long-term smoking.
- Oats (Avena sativa), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) are excellent nerve tonics, helping the nervous system to restore a state of balance.
- Damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca) is relaxing and mood-enhancing.
- Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) once called ‘sailor’s tobacco’, used for relaxation or to cleanse the liver.
- California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is a satisfying and relaxing alternative to relax nerves.
10.Herbs such as valerian, chamomile, hops, skullcap, and peppermint are also very beneficial in suppressing the urge for smoking.
Exercise, Yoga And More Supportive Practices
Physical exercise causes the release of mood-enhancing endorphins. Yoga is a form of relaxation and exercise that incorporates stretching, meditation and the knowledge of the body’s full potential.
It helps in relieving tension and stress and increases strength and vitality in a regular smoker. It can bring remarkable results to refresh the mind and consciousness.
It enhances the effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) on smoking cessation outcomes, reduces the negative symptoms associated with quitting smoking, decreases stress and cigarette cravings, and improves mood
and perception of quality of life.8
Neti Kriya (nasal cleaning) with a Neti pot, a cleansing practice for the sinus passages provides physical, psychological and spiritual benefits.
Performing Neti Kriya morning and night with normal saline solution at room temperature helps in sinus infection and allergy problems mainly caused by smoking.
Practice of Bhastrika Pranayama involves a rapid and forceful inhalation and exhalation powered by the movement of the diaphragm.
The breathing pattern resembles the blowing of bellows. Done morning and night, this practice is helpful in expelling tobacco contaminants from the upper and lower airways.
Smoking cravings can also be reduced by self-massage.9
Corpse pose (Shavasna) gives relaxation and releases stress. Meditation also aids in quitting smoking.
Adding Yoga or exercise and meditation to your smoking cessation plan makes it easier to quit smoking.
It helps prevent weight gain when quitting smoking, and also provides other benefits like stress reduction.
Other Helpful Alternative Treatments
Acupuncture treatment ameliorates smoking withdrawal symptoms as well as the selective attention to smoking-related visual cues in smokers.10
The point found around the crease of your wrist influences the taste of cigarettes. Thus, there will be some changes in the cigarette taste. Nicotine appetite goes down.
Put your thumb at the upper side in widest part of your ear and massage in a circular motion.
Massage the front of your ear which connects directly to your head and also the small inner crevices. Gentle pulls and circular motions can also be applied in the earlobe areas.
Applying acupuncture to stop smoking can also be effective.
Quitting smoking is really a tough challenge. But if one has strong self-determination, Ayurveda provides these effective steps to overcome the addiction.
If you have craved in the morning for a cigarette, just remember, drink a cup of juice, then eat plenty of protein for breakfast.
Do not take sugar, stick to protein, fruits, and vegetables. Allow your body to rest. Sleep at will, but exercise as well. Use herbal alternatives and detoxifiers.
Daily Yoga or any physical exercise is also essential.
Consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before following the guidelines mentioned in this article. Consult your primary healthcare provider if you want to quit smoking.
1 Charaka Samhita Sutra sthana chapter 5 verse 32
2 Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa sthana chapter 40 verse 14
3 Charaka Samhita Sutra sthana chapter 5 verse 27-32
4 Yogratnakar, Nicotiana tabacum – Tobacco Medicinal Properties.
5 Rose JE, Inhalation of vapor from black pepper extract reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms. 1994 Feb;34(3):225-9 PUBMED
6 Rungruanghiranya S et al Efficacy of fresh lime for smoking cessation 2012 Dec;95 Suppl 12:S76-82 PUBMED
7 Neem (Azadirachta indica) as an Alternative Therapy for Tobacco Cessation, Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci 2015;57:42-43
8 Beth C et al Yoga as a Complementary Treatment for Smoking Cessation in Women, Journal of Women’s Health 2012 Feb; 21(2): 240–248. doi:10.1089/jwh.2011.2963 PMCID: PMC3304243
9 Hernandez-Reif M,Smoking cravings are reduced by self-massage. 1999 Jan;28(1):28-32.PUBMED
10 Chae Yet al,Effect of acupuncture on selective attention for smoking-related visual cues in smokers. 2010 Feb;32 Suppl 1:27-30. doi: 10.1179/016164109X12537002793805.PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20034441