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Tobacco as Medicine

The first published illustration of Nicotiana tabacum by Pena and De L’Obel, 1570–1571 (shrpium adversana nova: London).

Tobacco can be used for medicinal purposes, however, the ongoing American war on smoking has all but obscured this important aspect of ancient plant.

Tobacco is considered to be an indigenous plant of the Americas and over 60 species are known to exist.  Columbus first ran across cultivated tobacco in 1492.   The word tobacco is a misnomer as the original names given to the various species included petum, betum, cogioba, cohobba, quauhyetl, picietl and yietl.

A mixture of powdered tobacco has long been used as a teeth whitener in India.  In 1992 and again in 1997 this type of nicotine usage was supposed to be permanently outlawed due to a high incident of oral cancer in India.  According a 2012 study that appeared in the Journal of Toxicology entitled Nicotine Contents in Some Commonly Used Toothpastes and Toothpowders: A Present Scenario:

India’s share of the global burden of tobacco-induced disease and death is substantial. India has one of the highest rates of oral cancers in the world; 65% of all cancers in men and 33% of all cancers in women are tobacco related. Annual incidence of oral cancer is said to be 10 per 1,00,000 per males”

Tobacco toothpaste originating from India continues to be available online.

In the year 1500, Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral reported that in Brazil betum was being used to treat ulcerated abscesses, fistulas, sores, inveterate polyps and dozens of other ailments.   In 1529, Spanish missionary priest Bernadino de Sahagun recorded the medicinal uses of tobacco from four Mexican physicians.   Among those include the breathing of the odour of fresh green leaves of the plant to relieve persistent headaches and the rubbing of green or powdered leaves inside the mouth for cold and catarrh. Salt and crushed tobacco leaves were used to cure glands in the neck by rubbing into the spot where the root of the lesion had been cut out.  Other wounds and burns were cured in a similar fashion.

In the mid 1500’s, Tobacco seeds were therefore brought back to Europe and enthusiastically used in remedies for various ills to include those mentioned above and for the prevention of hunger and thirst.  In some cases it was used as a purgative and a narcotic.   Skin diseases were successfully healed with poultices rendered from ground up leaves.

In the 1600’s question began to arise over the poisonous properties inherent in the leaves.  In 1828 nicotine was isolated from the leaves and further properties were studied. An analysis of tobacco cures was undertaken in the 1958 in which published tobacco treatments appearing between 1785 and 1860.  Of the 128 cases reviewed, 97 had positive outcomes, 4 caused fatalities, 10 poisoned the patients and 17 produced mixed results.

A recipe for the use of tobacco as a cure-all poultice comes from Spanish physician Nicolás Bautista Monardes in his famous book entitled Historia medicinal de las cosas que se traen de nuestras Indias Occidentales que sirven al uso de la medicina, as follows:

To ‘cleanse, incarnate, and knit together all maner of wounds’, ‘Take a pound of the freshe Leaves of the sayed Hearbe, stampe them and mingle tham with a newe Waxe, Rosine, common oyle, of each three ounces, let tham boyle altogether, untill the juice of the Nicotiane be consumed, then add thereto three ounces of Venise Turpentine, straine the same through a linen cloth, and keep it in Pottes to your use.’

Today tobacco usage is being studied as to its relationship with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Sources: (J R Soc Med 2004;97:292–296)(J Toxicol 2012; 2012: 237506.)

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Quotations

What is fair in men passes away, but not so in art.

— Leonardo Da Vinci

The Treasure of Abbot Thomas – from Ghost Stories of M.R. James

I

Verum usque in præsentem diem multa garriunt inter se Canonici de abscondito quodam istius Abbatis Thomæ thesauro, quem sæpe, quanquam adhuc incassum, quæsiverunt Steinfeldenses. Ipsum enim Thomam adhuc florida in ætate existentem ingentem auri massam circa monasterium defodisse perhibent; de quo multoties interrogatus ubi esset, cum risu respondere solitus erat: “Job, [...] Read more →

The Age of Chivalry

CHAPTER 1 – Introduction

KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS

On the decline of the Roman power, about five centuries after Christ, the countries of Northern Europe were left almost destitute of a national government. Numerous chiefs, more or less powerful, held local sway, as far as each [...] Read more →

The History of Witchcraft in England – The Beginnings

The Beginnings of English Witchcraft

It has been said by a thoughtful writer that the subject of witchcraft has hardly received that place which it deserves in the history of opinions. There has been, of course, a reason for this neglect—the fact that the belief in witchcraft is no longer [...] Read more →

Penal Methods of the Middle Ages

CHAPTER I

PENAL METHODS OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Prisons as places of detention are very ancient institutions. As soon as men had learned the way to build, in stone, as in Egypt, or with bricks, as in Mesopotamia, when kings had many-towered fortresses, and the great barons castles [...] Read more →

Country House Essays Book Now in Print

Country House Essays, the book is now in print. This is an eclectic collection of both original, and historical essays, poems, books, and articles created for our loyal reader hear at CountryHouseEssays.com. It is jam packed with reprints of articles from this website. The cost is $49.95 for this massive [...] Read more →

Clarivoyance by C.W. Leadbeater

Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India, 1890

CLAIRVOYANCE

by C. W. Leadbeater

Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Pub. House

[1899]

CHAPTER IX

METHODS OF DEVELOPMENT

When a men becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable [...] Read more →

Westminster Confession of Faith – 1646

CHAPTER I. Of the Holy Scripture.

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Growing Muscadine Grapes in Tennessee

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Platform of the American Institute of Banking in 1919

Resolution adapted at the New Orleans Convention of the American Institute of Banking, October 9, 1919:

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Historic authenticity of the Spanish SAN FELIPE of 1690

Model of San Felipe

Reprinted from FineModelShips.com with the kind permission of Dr. Michael Czytko

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The Late Rev. H.M. Scarth

H. M. Scarth, Rector of Wrington

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Classic Restoration of a Spring Tied Upholstered Chair

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Tools:

Round needles: https://amzn.to/2S9IhrP Double pointed hand needle: https://amzn.to/3bDmWPp Hand tools: https://amzn.to/2Rytirc Staple gun (for beginner): https://amzn.to/2JZs3x1 Compressor for pneumatic [...] Read more →

A History of the Use of Arsenicals in Man

The arsenicals (compounds which contain the heavy metal element arsenic, As) have a long history of use in man – with both benevolent and malevolent intent. The name ‘arsenic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘arsenikon’ which means ‘potent'”. As early as 2000 BC, arsenic trioxide, obtained from smelting copper, was used [...] Read more →

Books Condemned to be Burnt

BOOKS CONDEMNED TO BE BURNT.

By

JAMES ANSON FARRER,

LONDON

ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW

1892

———-

WHEN did books first come to be burnt in England by the common hangman, and what was [...] Read more →

U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act – Full Text

UNITED STATES PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION ACT

TITLE I – PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION OFFICE Chapter Section 1. Organization and Publications . 1 2. Legal Provisions as to the Plant Variety Protection Office . 21 3. Plant Variety Protection Fees . 31

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The Master of Hounds

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Here’s Many a Year to You

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The Hunt Saboteur

The Hunt Saboteur is a national disgrace barking out loud, black mask on her face get those dogs off, get them off she did yell until a swift kick from me mare her voice it did quell and sent the Hunt Saboteur scurrying up vale to the full cry of hounds drowning out her [...] Read more →

The Billesden Coplow Run

Smith, Charles Loraine; The Billesdon Coplow Run, Leicestershire

*note – Billesdon and Billesden have both been used to name the hunt.

BILLESDEN COPLOW POEM

[From “Reminiscences of the late Thomas Assheton Smith, Esq”]

The run celebrated in the following verses took place on the 24th of February, 1800, [...] Read more →

The Kalmar War

The Kalmar War

From The Historian’s History of the World (In 25 Volumes) by Henry Smith William L.L.D. – Vol. XVI.(Scandinavia) Pg. 308-310

The northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, as already noticed, had been peopled from the remotest times by nomadic tribes called Finns or Cwenas by the Norwegians and Lapps [...] Read more →