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Shiraz tobacco flowerShiraz Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum var. persica) Info
This type of tobacco originated in Iran, where it was often smoked with hemp from the Dark Ages until at least the 19th century.  It is a high quality smoke that is soaked in apple or apricot juice or wine and used in a hookah throughout the Middle East.  A classic ayahuasca component, tobacco is the single most commonly used sacred plant in the world.  It is thought that Native Americans adopted this magick herb from the Mayans and invented smoking the leaves instead of making them into poultices or tinctures. While this is a highly addictive drug, instead of blaming the plant, we might be better off examining why we need to overuse it.  This tobacco is much stronger than the stuff in cigarettes and should be treated with respect, as any baneful herb should.  Those substitution charts that recommend tobacco as a safe alternative in ritual to other Saturn herbs like henbane or belladonna are way off base, because this herb is just as poisonous. It's simply a familiar poison, and those others are strangers to most people. I used to make a highly effective pesticide for my plants from old cigarette filters soaked in soapy water until I found out how easily nicotine is absorbed through the skin. Nevertheless, this is a great plant that has been a fine companion to human beings for thousands of years. Top

Shiraz tobacco plantHow to grow Shiraz tobacco: Surface sow to germinate in 7-14 days at 65F.  Transplant to full sun or partial shade.  This plant is an annual that gets 5 feet high in 85-90 days.  Tobacco quickly depletes the soil, so make sure to fertilize regularly and to shift where you grow it from year to year.  Quick home curing: Tie the fresh leaves together by the stalks and hang in a shady place. The leaves should dry in a week.  Then mist them three times a day until they are thoroughly brown, which can take 3-4 weeks. Curing takes away the strong odor of the burning leaf and is said to moderate the nicotine content to manageable levels.  You can also smoke this together with another herb, which is what most indigenous people who use tobacco do; coltsfoot is a good one. General growing info  Top

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2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission