A Strangely Strong Tobacco

Smokers of tobacco enjoy the stimulating and relaxing effects of nicotine from the “common tobacco” plant. However, even the heaviest of smokers will find it difficult to handle the smoke from Nicotiana rustica. Those trying it for the first time, even heavy smokers, find it so intense they often vomit and pass out!

A field of Nicotiana rustica in Vietnam
A field of Nicotiana rustica in Vietnam

In the Amazon, from where it originates, the plant is named “mapacho”. It has three to nine times the nicotine that common tobacco contains! Because of the high nicotine content, the plant has been used by shamans in many rituals and healing ceremonies. It is believed to have both healing and prophetic prophetic properties.

A shaman from an equatorial Amazonian tribe
A shaman from an equatorial Amazonian tribe

Not everywhere is it considered sacred. According to Vietnam traditions, it helps “aid in digestion” after a meal. The thuốc lào (as it is called there) is smoke using a bamboo or clay pipe. After inhaling, they exhale quickly to pop the used tobacco out of the pipe.

A pipe used for smoking thuốc lào Photo by manhhai
A pipe used for smoking thuốc lào
Photo by manhhai

Smoking the plant also happens among Amazon tribes (particularly after the arrival of western cultures), but it is also often insufflated (inhaled through the nose). Sometimes, the dried/powdered tobacco is mixed with coca for extra effects! Though, it doesn’t matter how you use it, Nicotiana rustica is not good for your health or digestion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *