Let's expand our range of plants activated by fire. Some sources say that more than a hundred different herbs were utilized in Native American smoking mixes. What would your smoking mix be? Would you have several, for different tasks?
Let your imagination play with the plants you most often use. What do they smell like when they burn? Are you tempted to inhale deeply? Give yourself free rein to try them out.
So far as I know, the only plants that may cause you harm if you inhale their smoke are:
Commercially grown tobacco, which is considered addictive.
The Toxicodendron sisters – poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac – which contain potent oil that causes blisters on the skin and damage to the lungs.
Jimson weed (Datura stramonium), which is thought to steal your spirit.
Psychoactive plants, which are mostly not legal.
To help you get started making your smoking mix, here is a short list of some plants commonly smoked, approximately in order of prevalence of use:
• Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), a magical plant in the nightshade family, is used shamanically throughout North and South America; while it is for sale, consider introducing wild varieties as allies.
• Sumac berries (Rhus hirta and others), were a favorite smoke among natives and Europeans before tobacco was introduced in Europe; they are rarely for sale; harvest your own in late summer.
• Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) leaves are the classic herbal smoke. They quickly clear the bronchia, open the airways, and jump-start breathing during asthma attacks. Mullein stalks and flowers add sedative and psychoactive properties. Mullein is for sale; or harvest from vacant lots in the summer of its second year, before or right as the flowering stalk reaches its height. The remedy for the lungs.
• Corn silk (Zea maize), was the first smoke of the under-ten set whenI was young; it is mellow and mild. Sometimes found for sale; we save the silks from organic sweet corn all summer, drying them in shallow baskets.
• Uva ursi, also called "kinnikinnick," a general term meaning "smoking herb" or "smoking mix," is better known for its effects on the bladder than as a smoking herb; it is for sale; not generally grown.
• Coltsfoot leaves (Tussilago farfara), make a traditional lung-healing smoke. Occasionally found for sale; harvest and dry the leaves in mid-summer.
• Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata), gives mental clarity and heightened focus with relaxation. Counteracts the craving for tobacco. Find it wild; use sparingly; seeds are emetic.
• Mints, including Peppermint (Mentha piperata) add wonderful tastes and a range of active medicines to smoking mixes; many are for sale in your supermarket; they are easy to grow.
• Artemisias – amazing plants with unique tastes and safe psychoactive properties.wormwood
• Crone(mug)wort (Artemisia vulgaris), is the herb of moxibustion and excels as a smudge. Leaves and flowers add both taste and mind-altering properties to smoking mixes. It is for sale and very easy to grow.
• Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), is the herb of mind-bending absinthe liquor. A very bitter herb, even when smoked; sometimes for sale; fairly easy to grow.
• Tarragon (Artemisia drancuncula), is the little dragon; it gives smoking mixes a unique licorice-y flavor; for sale; difficult to grow.
Herbal Smoking Mix Number Four: You fill in your recipe.
From the Wise Woman Herbal Ezine
Susun Weed, Copyright 2012
LEARN HOW TO PREVENT ILLNESS AND HEAL YOURSELF safely and easily the Wise Woman Way. Women's health forum, FREE women’s forum, weblog, and email group. Topics include menopause, breast health, childbearing, fertility, disease prevention, nutritional advice, and cancer prevention. Visit the Wise Woman Web
Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health.
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