Of Tobacco: Poison or Medicine...

in Natural Medicine9 months ago

NO TOBACCO DAY is coming up on May 31st.

Do I endorse that? No! Perhaps No Cigarette Smoking in Shared Spaces Day.

As a child I had baby asthma and attributed it to my mother being a smoker. I do believe second hand smoke has an effect on those around you and I wonder what is actually in the cigarettes other than tobacco for it is a much harsher smoke than pipe tobacco which my husband smokes.

With a little research I found from Quit Smoking Support that

Cigarette ingredients include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic,Benzene and DDT.

And the FDA says

Manufacturers may use additives to enhance product flavor and reduce harshness. But some of these added chemicals can also cause harm. Ammonia compounds can change how easily nicotine can be absorbed into the body, which can make the cigarette more addictive. Added sugars, when burned, become carcinogens.

When I had a greenhouse business my partner (who was a smoker) wanted to grow some tobacco which he had the seeds for and I quite enjoyed growing it with it's large leaves and pretty pink flowers. Like the Cannabis plant I like to grow them and have them around for medicinal purposes but I don't smoke either of them.

Tobacco Flower (Nicotiana Tabacum)

Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

There is over 70 species known as Tobacco (main commercial crop being Nicotiana Tabacum) for it is a common name of several plants in the Nicotiana genus and the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. This means there is low quantities of nicotine in tomatoes, potatoes,green pepper and eggplant! (Thanks for the info Science Daily)

I have grown the Flowering Tobacco as a bedding plant in my flower beds - it was quite beautiful!

Another variety of Tobacco that I am interested in especially for it's usage is, Nicotiana rustica. This is the tobacco used in the herbal smoking mixture of the First Nations people - Kinnikinnick. I like that they mix other herbs, barks, and plant matter with it.

It is used in various ways, for social smoke, medicinally or for spiritual purposes in ceremonies. Traditionally it was smoked in ceremonial pipes and is used to offer prayers in a religious ceremony, to make a ceremonial commitment, or to seal a covenant or treaty. It is associated with relaxation, healing and peace.


A couple of the plants often used in the herbal mixture is bearberry and mullein which I know have medicinal uses.
Bearberry (the leaf) - was smoked as a headache cure by the Chippewas
Mullein - is used for respiratory health and I used it for my son who had lung problems. It soothes the lungs and tones the muscles of mucous membranes in the respiratory tract.

Medicinal uses of Tobacco

It's when we abuse the plant and our use of it that it becomes harmful. Sacred tobacco use (like that of the indigenous peoples of America) and smoking commercial cigarette tobacco are quite different in their purposes and functions.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas had their use of tobacco as a Prayer Medicine, used in ceremony where they are rooted in deep respect and reverence. There is much to be learned from the First Nations people and although I have great respect for the plants I can not say I have the reverence yet, and thus I learn.

I have learnt that a gift of traditional tobacco is a sign of respect and is used when asking for help, or guidance.

I wish to incorporate more of the First Nation's traditional ways into my life especially when it comes to plants and our relationship to them. There has been so much wisdom passed down through the ages and their ways seem more in tune with nature, which I strive for.

This is my contribution to the Natural Medicine Smokin’ The Tobacco: Poison or Medicine? Challenge, which you can read about here.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Tobacco can also be used as an excellent natural pesticide.

 9 months ago 

You definitely should write about that.

 9 months ago 

Oh yes I had forgotten about that! Good one - thanks for bringing it up!

 9 months ago 

I didn't know your hubs used to smoke. I bet he gave up when he learnt vipassana!!! So tempting now to grow tobacco.. such a pretty plant! Thanks for joining in, @porters!

Reading that there are low quantities of nicotine in tomatoes brought the Simpsons episode to mind!

images 1.jpeg

Perhaps not that far fetched after all. 😆

The funny thing about cigarettes is that the least harmful thing they contain is nicotine!

It is very curious how so many people present respiratory problems just because some relative in the middle of his unconsciousness, walks with his cigarette at home.

I've always dreamed that they make laws to put smokers in individual capsules so that they don't bother others, in the end their vice should harm others!

 9 months ago 

And that so many are unconcious (or don't really care about others more than their own pleasure) about what effects their walking around with cigarettes around other people!

Hey, I felt identified too. I was born with asthma too and it was explained to me that it was a consequence of both my parents smoking.
My dad gave up cigarettes after my birth, my mom actually never had quitted permanently. Nowadays I think it was a defense mechanism for my parents to stop fighting, because I remember them fighting a lot.
So nowadays I avoid commercial filtered cigarettes, I can actually taste the other stuff that is not tobacco now and it tastes horrible to me.
And I have to add that my respiratory health has never been as good as it is right now. Learning to breathe and how to properly smoke and the medicinal respectful treatment of the sacred tobacco plant.
Thanks for joining us on Discord for the 432hz Concert btw!

 9 months ago 

Glad you have the respect for the sacred tobacco plant so it can benefit you instead of harming like the recreational and addictive habit formed from commercial cigarettes!

Thank-you for hosting the 432hz concert - I thoroughly enjoyed it and like the flow when it was presented in Jose and Travadoremusica 's native language. I appreciate you adding in some English so I could understand some of it!

Hey you were fun too! thanks for sharing with us. I'm glad we could help getting the message through.
And yeah, grandfather tobacco is a serious plant teacher, and one has to be equally serious and respectful in that relationship.

I enjoy a pipe when safely tucked up in my garden with charcoal filters, cleaner much more enjoyable.

Trash put into commercial cigarettes has deteriorated over the past 20 years, in fact the WHO and other world councils/governments should be controlling this much more effectively; from start of growing to finished stick product, after all tax is paid on it, ensure not so much crap is used in production.

Neither of my parents smoked, in fact warned us to avoid starting up, teenagers always know better....

Anything in moderation can be enjoyed be it tobacco, alcohol or any other root you wish to use, this will never go away.

 9 months ago 

I'm trying to envision you smoking a pipe tucked in your garden - it is very soothing and relaxing! Combine that with being out in the garden and it could be quite sublime!

Started with my complaining about the trash in cigarettes today, so 60th birthday present was a pipe.

I am the odd one out in the home, no-one else smokes, yet it is something I enjoy and find relaxing. Always tell them it's having 3 men in the house 😁

 9 months ago 

Ha! That might do it 3 men in the house! The tobacco is known for having a relaxing effect, glad they gave you a pipe so you were not tempted by the manufactured cigarettes!

Started on plain cigarettes many years ago called "Texan", smoked John Players for years, then they stopped importing them.

Cigarettes slowly over years have become filled with toxins which really anger me. These chemicals are all approved, surely law could be implemented to require manufacture to be cleaner, people have been smoking for thousands of years.

Also if/when smoking a normal cigarette use of a "Targuard" is required, more adequate way of cleaner smoke, saving your lungs from the added tar, government approved!

 9 months ago 

Is tobacco grown in your South Africa? Or is it all imported?

Grown here and large farms used to exist in Zimbabwe, not so sure what is happening at the moment with the ban except illegal underground market is getting rich over night.