Ask The Herb Lady

With Cathy Burkemper

Stop Smoking Herbs?
What’s The Story With Red Pepper?

Q: I really want to stop smoking.  Are there any natural supplements that may make this easier for me?

A: I applaud you for wanting to take the step to stop smoking.  This is not always an easy thing to do, but there are a few things that may help you curb and quit your nicotine dependency.  The herb Lobelia, aka “Indian Tobacco”, has helped many smokers “kick the habit”.  It helps to quench your desire for tobacco, while helping to strengthen and rebuild the respiratory system.  Lobelia helps promote stronger and deeper breathing.  You may want to take it in a combination with Passion Flower to help keep you calm while you are going through this process.
Acupuncture is also a great method to help you stop smoking.  Some people have quit in as little as one or two treatments.
Did you know that smoking increases the risk of catching a cold?  Tobacco smoke paralyzes the cilia of the nose and throat, reducing the capacity to clear the passages and move mucus to the outside.  Just another reason to stop smoking.  Good luck!

Q: My dad puts red pepper on everything.  He says it is good for you.  What is it used for?

A: Red pepper, cayenne or capsicum.  They are one in the same.  I like to refer to it as capsicum.  It is used for many things.  In addition to spicing up your food, it is used as a stimulant to increase blood circulation and cardiovascular activity.  It can help lower blood pressure and aid in the prevention of heart attack and stroke.  Capsicum also has warming properties and is used for poor circulation and can help with conditions such as cold hands and feet.  Surprisingly, capsicum is good for ulcers because it stimulates the protective mucus-forming membranes of the stomach.  It is also high in vitamins and minerals that are needed for healing.  You can add a small pinch of capsicum to water and gargle for sore throats and hoarseness.  When applied directly to a wound, it can stop bleeding.  It may sting at first but then produces a numbing effect.

This herb information is for health education purposes only.  It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners.  Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins?  Send them to Cathy Burkemper, CNHP and Certified Herbalist.  Write to:  Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO  63011.
hout a charge. Closed on Mondays, but open late on Thursday evenings until 8 p.m. Find out more at www.camstl.org.