TOBACCO is a peace-keeping herb

Updated: Mar 16

Do you smoke?


Do you know why you smoke?


Have you considered that there may be reasons beyond nicotine addiction and social connection?


Tobacco is such a demonized word, but the little flowering plant that it is cultivated from is gorgeous, grounding and gracious. The tobacco plant itself offers many time-forgotten and dismissed remedies and is shrouded in a decorative history. In traditional Amazonian plant medicine, the tobacco plant is considered; powerful, protective and masculine in its energy. It is indicated in a person who requires grounding and a "sweeping away of cobwebs".

Let us explore the deeper meanings behind this plants powerful and protecting energy and exactly how that may be weaved into your own smoking habit.

Sometimes, when looking to quit smoking, it can be difficult to simply stop using tobacco and replace it with nicotine replacements. Tobacco addiction seems not to be purely chemical, not as reductionist as an addiction to one singular molecule. Nothing ever really is, out beyond the space of molecular reality, always lies a larger truth.

Native American tribes have been using tobacco as a peace offering for millennia. According to the website of Indian county Wisconsin on the ancient use of tobacco; "tobacco is the unifying thread of communication between humans and the spiritual powers." It was used as an offering to the elders of the community when their wisdom and knowledge was needed, likewise it was also used an offering to the higher powers and was placed at the base of a tree or shrub from which any medicine was gathered, as respect. Tobacco is even mentioned in their creation myths; "And when the world was rich and fertile, she sat down and rested. When she arose, there grew tobacco . . .” (Borio, Gene). Tobacco is, and always has been a social, peace-keeping herb, it carries a generational and universal symbolism of connection, acceptance and care; all a deeply felt human craving. Their is a sense of community woven deep in the fabrics of tobacco. Perhaps this is what you're asking for when you are asking yourself or others for a smoke?

There is another more physical element to the act of smoking; deep breathing exercises. The age-old anti-anxiety, stress-relieving tonic, an ancient remedy to the maladies of worry and stress, how many times have you been told to "take a deep breath... ok, now focus". Deep breathing ISNTANTLY activates the parasympathetic response (the state of softness + serenity, antagonistic to the stress response), it is an instant calmer. Could it be that this is exactly what you are doing when you smoke? Deep, drawing breaths that accentuate the fullness of your lungs and drop you deep into your body, serve as potent anxiety medicine. Perhaps this is an action that we wouldn't even consider doing in our day outside of smoking. Smoking is a breathing exercise, and this is why we reach for it in moments of stress.

The aromas and flavours of the tobacco herb are grounding, mothering and warm (not dissimiliar to coffee, their uses and symbolism are very similar; socially, spiritually, symbolically, emotionally). Smoking the tobacco in a cigarette, on a certain emotional and spiritual level, can feel like a long needed hug from your mother; a warming embrace that pulls you down to sitting, a feeling that grounds your feet to the floor and stops the world for a second. Tobacco takes you in its arms. This is the magic of plants.

The tobacco as a plant has been used for its medicinal value locally and globally. In the correct knowledge of the tobacco plant, it can be used for healing as a sedative, diuretic, nervine and expectorant.

The tobacco plant is a part of the nightshade family. A family that incorporates; the tomato, the potato, bella-donna and many more well known foods and plants. The nightshade family is synonymous with poison and toxicity, they can be powerful healers but they can also be powerful killers. Tobacco, therefore, is well at home within this family. Tobacco offers so much healing on a spiritual level but in the incorrect use (coming from lack of knowledge) it can be deadly. Life lessons from the nightshade family.

So, for those of you who smoke and for those of you who are maybe trying to stop smoking, try to obtain this alternative perspective of the part that smoking tobacco has to play in your life, observing with un-objective understanding. A dive into the true understanding of an action that seems so self-destructive, often reveals that in reality it may be compulsively self-soothing, self-securing, grounding, peaceful and centering.

Think of it like this; smoking tobacco is offering you something at a deep and unconscious level, what is it? When you find that, you can soothe it in different ways.

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