Blog | Top Smokable Plants Used Since Ancient Times
Top Smokable Plants Used Since Ancient Times
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Top Smokable Plants Used Since Ancient Times

We get a lot of interest and questions about our smokable herbs. The truth is, these herbal blends are not something we came up with in our Brooklyn apothecary at random. The history of smoking dates back to as early as 5000 BC in the Americas in shamanistic rituals all around the world. The consumption, cultivation, and trading of tobacco was certainly the most popular, followed by cannabis and opium. Yet, there were a plethora of plants used then that didn’t really make it to mainstream knowledge, nor into mass manufacturing practices that sadly over-commercialized ancient smoking rituals.

We all know smoking processed tobacco is bad for us.

But, other smokable herb blends have also been used from the beginning of human history in ceremonies, for recreation, and for other medicinal purposes. Learning about the ancient traditions that have long integrated smoking as vital cultural rituals also reveals our ancestors’ many uses for inhaling dry herbs. Crafting, growing, and blending our own herbs--or leaving the process to our trusted herbalists--does not only bring about numerous potential health benefits. Consumed in moderation, these smokable herb blends can also serve as therapeutic alternatives to more commonly harmful chemicals contained in mass-produced tobacco products. When used occasionally, herbal smoke can aid in the temporary relief of many acute conditions.

There are over 1,500 plants that have been documented for use as therapeutic smoke at some point in history. Uses for these plants varied widely -- from repelling insects to supporting the health of the lungs, as decongestants, for veterinary needs, to balance or influence the emotions, or even as weapons.

Herbal smoke can amplify positive properties of the active natural ingredients found in the magical herbs themselves. Plants are so intelligent we’ll never stop studying them!

Each herb has its own therapeutic properties.

Herbs are often incorporated into teas, smudges, vapors, and body products like handmade soaps. Some herbal smoke is used to promote womb health (e.g. menstrual cramping/pain) in women who are not pregnant, to soothe migraines, and to aid with anxiety and depression. Other herbs can be euphoric or even hallucinogenic. Today, we’ll dive into our favorite smoke-able herbs, and some of their potential benefits and origins. 

To be clear, we’re not suggesting any of these herbs be used in place of medicine or as medicinal alternatives, and we do suggest you work with your chosen healer and/or physician before toking away. Inhaling large amounts of smoke regularly, mindlessly, and in excess will certainly create imbalance and tax the lungs. Be sure to use carefully and intentionally.

MAKE + GROW YOUR OWN HERBAL SMOKE BLEND

According to cannabis advocate Alyssh Bal, the components of a great herbal smoke blend typically include base herbs + action herbs + astringent + aromatic/kicker herbs. You can read more about this powerful combo here. We have also compiled a few additional resources for making your own blend. Here are four unique recipes to get you started: [1], [2]. If you’re extra inspired, here are two articles about smokable herbs you can grow on your own: [3], [4].

Here’s a fun and easy smoke blend recipe you could make with garden herbs:

INGREDIENTS:

2 parts (Base): Raspberry Leaf or Mugwort

1 part (Action + Astringent): Mexican Tarragon

½ part (Aromatic): Rose Petals, (or choice of  aromatic, like lavender!)

Tear the dried leaves and flowers with your fingers to crumble them. As you're mixing it be sure to keep turning it, and connect to it. Add anything else that might be inspiring to your blend that calls you. Before smoking, use a grinder preferably, to break it down so it's perfectly ready to roll. Or place your dried leaves and petals directly onto a pipe to enjoy. If you’re storing a bunch of it in a jar, or bag, add a drop of honey to keep it moist and Cheers!

~ a lil' interview ~

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: WOMEN’S WISDOM

We spoke to Filipina American healing advocate, Ris Tena, and Mexican American spiritual shopkeeper Ezmeralda “Ezmi” Urrutia about smokable herbs they use in their personal sacred rituals. Here’s what the “Auntie Council” had to say about making your own herb blends.

ANIMA MUNDI: How did you get started mixing herbal smoke blends?

RIS: I first discovered Blue Lotus Root, which was used as an Ancient Egyptian remedy for many ailments, when seeking an alternative to cigarettes to satisfy my oral fixation. From there, I learned that different herbs activate different things for you. These are also medicines.

EZMI: I’ve been blending herbs for about three years, testing them all personally. I started blending dry herbs with homegrown tobacco, or “smudging” them during showers to create vapors. I use an intuitive process for blending, like “playing with my heart”. At the height of COVID, we all turned to our herbal-cultural roots. You gotta heal yourself the way your ancestors did. It’s like, we already have a cure for this! 

AM: What are some of your favorite herbs to smoke?

R: Rose Petals for the heart space, and for self-love. Blue Cornflower and Blue Lotus are more mild. Mullein is good for the lungs. Damiana is an aphrodisiac.

E: I use Blue Lotus for vivid or lucid dreaming. It was used by the Egyptians in wine and for smoking. Skullcap relaxes the body and mind without the high of, say, marijuana or harsh tobacco smoke, and it doesn’t contain nicotine. My favorite blend is cooking grade French Lavender paired with Skullcap to curb stress and calm the mind. Lavender is not harsh on the lungs, is very fragrant, and it releases essential oils when you smoke it. The other cool thing is that lavender “cigarettes” seem to just stop when you’ve had enough. The flower knows when you’ve had the right amount of herb. Plants are geniuses!

AM: What advice do you have for folks just getting started with smokable herbs?

R: Start with mild blends, and use very little of the stronger herbs like rose, sage, peppermint, etc. Lavender is good for those just starting to blend herbs for smoking because it’s a softer smoke.

E: Excess is what drives us to the brink of pain and suffering, so of course there are still potential risks involved with smoking herbs. That said, mugwort is a great starting point for beginners. I add a relatively even blend of each herb, which I also sell as tea. Then, you can also smoke it, and it will be a lot less bitter than the tea. But, in my experience, if you can make it as a tea, you can probably also smoke it. It’s very ancestral--as long as we could make fire, we humans have been smoking things. 

And guess what...!

Our CBD Hemp Smoke Blend is Available for Pre-Order!

Pre-Order this week to receive 20% off! Our new blend is composed of 35% organically grown hemp flowers from Oregon, along with euphoric herbs like blue lotus, damiana, and rose. Lung supportive plants like mullein and raspberry leaf, and more!

*Smoke will be available to ship by 6/16*

*All 3 smoke blends are already discounted on the site!*

We invite you to enjoy your sacred smoke responsibly.