and want to heal the wounds of nicotine, you are probably busy cursing the name of Jean Nicot, the French diplomat who first introduced tobacco in 1560 in the form of a snuff, to cure migraine headaches. Within a few years the French became regular snuffers.
Although it was originally called l’herbe du Grand Prieur, in honour of the Church dignitary, by 1570 the French had settled on the modern botanical name for the plant of Nicotiana. From there, the active ingredient of tobacco – nicotine – took its name.
Initially the tobacco plant was smoked in its native surroundings (the West Indies) only on ceremonial occasions and for specific medical conditions. Tobacco finally found its way into cigarettes in the final quarter of the Nineteenth Century and its daily consumption created problems which are still being felt today.
Nicotine is a known poison and is particularly dangerous
because of its highly addictive nature. A typical cigarette contains about 1 milligram of nicotine. However, says The World Book Encyclopedia: “A thimbleful of nicotine (about 60 milligrams) could kill an adult if taken all at once.”
Despite what smokers say, they do not enjoy smoking but maintain the habit through dependency. In other words, smokers enjoy the release gained from nicotine in much the
same way heroin addicts enjoy the release they gain when they partake of their particular drug. Yet we never hear heroin addicts say they enjoy sticking needles in their arms. Smoking and needles are simply different methods of administering a person’s chosen drug.
Today, cigarettes are known to be responsible for or exacerbate lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, bronchitis, catarrh and other illnesses. It has been “estimated that during the 1990s in developed countries, tobacco will cause approximately 30 percent of all deaths among those 35 to 69 years of age, making it the largest single cause of premature death in the developed world,” according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
Each year there are some 2.5 million tobacco-related deaths worldwide.
Over 400,000 of these deaths occur in the United States alone. The U.S. surgeon general claims: “Smoking is responsible for more than one out of every six deaths in the United States. Smoking remains the single most important preventable cause of death in our society.”
Unfortunately, smokers do not harm only themselves. By forcing others to breathe in their toxic fumes, they also expose non-smokers to the risks of lung cancer and other respiratory ailments. While emphysema is probably the most common condition suffered by smokers, people suffering from bronchitis can and do have their condition aggravated by cigarette smoke either directly or passively.
For heavy smokers the following recipe* is beneficial for bronchitis symptoms and catarrhal diseases of the upper respiratory tract:
- 50g Lime tree flower (Tilia cordata)
- 30g Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)
- 20g Thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
Weigh the listed herbs into a bowl and mix well. Store the herbal mixture in a glass jar away from sun light. Infuse one heaped teaspoon of the mixture with one cup of boiling water, stand for 10 minutes and strain. Drink one cup several times daily.
To prepare a steam inhalation, place 50 g of dried herbs* in a bowl or saucepan. Pour 1 litre of boiling water over the herbs. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel, close your eyes and inhale the steam for 20–30 minutes.
*Sage (Salvia officinalis) – Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) – Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla) – Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) are all suitable or a combination of these.