• Brazil: The leaf juice’s taken orally to induce vomiting and narcosis.
  • Colombia: Fresh leaves used as poultice over boils and infected wounds; leaves are crushed with oil from palms and used as hair treatment to prevent baldness.
  • Cuba: Extract of the leaf taken orally to treat dysmenorrhea.
  • East Africa: Dried leaves of Nicotiana tabacum and Securinega virosa mixed into a paste and used externally to destroy worms in sores.
  • Ecuador: Leaf juice’s used for indisposition, chills and snake bites and to treat pulmonary ailments.
  • Fiji: Fresh root’s taken orally for asthma and indigestion; fresh root’s applied ophthalmically as drops for bloodshot eyes and other problems; seed taken orally for rheumatism and to treat hoarseness.
  • Guatemala: Leaves applied externally by adults for myiasis, headache and wounds; hot water extract of the dried leaf is applied externally for ring worms, fungal diseases of the skin, wounds, ulcers, bruises, sores, mouth lesions, stomatitis and mucosa; leaf is orally taken for kidney diseases.
  • HaitiDecoction of dried leaf taken orally for bronchitis and pneumonia.
  • Hong Kong: Fresh leaves mashed and combined with vegetable oil to create a potion that’s applied to injuries for it to heal much faster. This practice is also apparent in other places in China.
  • Iran: Infusion of the dried leaf applied externally as an insect repellent; ointments made from crushed leaves are used for baldness, dermatitis and infectious ulceration and as a pediculicide.
  • Mexico (South-Eastern): Among the ancient Maya, Nicotiana was considered a sacred plant, closely associated with deities of earth and sky, and used for both visionary and therapeutic ends. The contemporary Tzeltal and Tzotzil Maya of Highland Chiapas (Mexico) are bearers of this ethnobotanical inheritance, preserving a rich and varied tradition of Nicotiana use and folklore. The entire tobacco plant’s viewed as a primordial medicine and a powerful botanical “helper” or “protector”. Depending on the condition to be treated, whole Nicotiana leaves are used alone or in combination with other herbs in the preparation of various medicinal plasters and teas. In its most common form, fresh or ‘‘green’’ leaves grounded with slaked lime to produce an intoxicating oral snuff that serves as both a protective and therapeutic agent.
  • United States: Extract of Nicotiana tabacum‘s taken orally to treat tiredness, ward off diseases, and quiet fear.
  • Tanzania: Leaves of Nicotiana tabacum are placed in the vagina to stimulate labour.
  • Zimbabwe: Leaves or root of the plant’s infused and taken by mouth for asthma and other respiratory problems. Leaves and roots are also rubbed against warts and wounds as ointment.

Did You Know?

Tobacco was first used as an insecticide in 1763.

History of Tobacco
Boston University Medical Center

This tobacco plant has been indigenous to the North Americans. It’s been used as a medicine and stimulant for over 2,000 years. Extraction of the leaf is taken orally to treat dysmenorrhea.

Smoking pipes & cigars became popular quickly throughout the 1600s. Some saw tobacco as medicinal, while others saw it as toxic and habit-forming.

The tobacco industry grew throughout the 1700s, and then became ginormous in Late 1800’s. That’s when James A. Bonsack was granted a U.S. patent for a cigarette machine, which tobacco was fed onto a continuous strip of paper and was automatically formed, pasted, closed, and cut to lengths by a rotary cutting knife. The Bonsack machine was then imported to England in 1883. In the next few years the cigarette industry developed in several other European countries.

From then on, cigarettes became much easier to produce, and this saw in the dawn of the major tobacco corporations.

By the end of the 19th century, lawmakers had begun to realize the harmful effects of nicotine:


Richard Doll and A. Bradford Hill, publish an article in the British Medical Journal that confirms the link between smoking and lung cancer.

10 years later in 1964, the Surgeon General of the U.S. published a study linking smoking with heart disease and lung cancer. In 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially recognized nicotine as a drug that produced dependency.

The FDA was not granted control over nicotine regulations by the Supreme Court until June 22nd, 2009. On this day is when the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the power to regulate the production and advertisement of tobacco products.

What Is Nicotine?

When a body is exposed to nicotine, the individual experiences a “kick.” This is caused by nicotine stimulating the adrenal glands, which results in the release of adrenaline. This surge of adrenaline stimulates the body. There is an immediate release of glucose, as well as an increase in heart rate, breathing activity, and blood pressure.

Nicotine also makes the pancreas produce less insulin, causing a slight increase in blood sugar or glucose.

Indirectly, nicotine causes the release of dopamine in the pleasure and motivation areas of the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical that affects emotions, movements, and sensations of pleasure and pain. If your brain dopamine levels rise, the feeling of contentment is higher.

Depending on the dose of nicotine taken and the individual’s nervous system arousal, nicotine can also act as a sedative.

Psychodynamic Effects

Consuming nicotine’s also linked to raised alertness, euphoria, and a sensation of being relaxed.

Concentration and memory

Studies have shown that nicotine appears to improve memory and concentration. It has been thought that this is due to an increase in acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine also increases the sensation of wakefulness, or arousal.