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Monkey For Your Back? Welcome to Tobacco.

Millions of smokers set fire to it and inhale it every day. Millions more chew on it and as many more again snort it up their nose. What is this substance? Tobacco of course. Where did these habits co...

Millions of smokers set fire to it and inhale it every day. Millions more chew on it and as many more again snort it up their nose. What is this substance? Tobacco of course. Where did these habits come from though? Why did we start using tobacco as a means of relief or social acceptance? More to the point what exactly is tobacco and where does it come from?The tobacco plant is a member of the broad leafed family of plants known as nightshade. Now for those of you not familiar with this particular genus of plant one member of the nightshade family is the deadly nightshade plant. It's not called "deadly" for fun. It's called that because it contains a lethal poison that was used in the middle ages by assassins and spies. The wonderful tobacco plant is a member of the same family. Neat eh? The tobacco plant is indigenous to North and South America - meaning that it only grows naturally in those parts of the world.

Native Americans used tobacco in large quantities to induce trance states. This was always done under the careful guidance of a shaman (medicine man). When the Europeans arrived in America they adopted the practice of smoking tobacco as the natives did. It became so popular amongst the "settlers" that it was then exported back to Europe where it became incredibly popular amongst the rich and well-to-do. Tobacco and it's derivative products became very popular almost overnight. Snuff (powdered tobacco) was snorted by the upperclass in Europe habitually and in public. It was quite a polite thing to do amongst friends. The act of smoking cigars and cigarettes achieved a huge level of popularity. To deal with this demand tobacco plantations were established on the east coast of the Americas. The first of these plantations was set up by John Rolfe (husband of Pocahontas) in JamestownArticle Submission, Virginia. Rolfe made an absolute fortune from the tobacco trade in just a few short years and many others were to follow in his footsteps.

Incredibly tobacco was used a treatment for diseases by many European doctors until the 1800's. At one point in France it was referred to as the Holy plant. It was only after emerging modern chemistry isolated nicotine as the active ingredient in tobacco that it was no longer prescribed as a medical treatment due to possible harmful side effects. So tobacco was exported from the Americas to Europe via the native Americans. I suppose you could argue that the widespread addiction to nicotine is the the whitemans price for the widespread slaughter of native Americans? Or perhaps not. Either way it's something to consider in terms of karma.

Article Tags: Tobacco Plant, Native Americans

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This article was provided courtesy of http://www.quittersguide.com where you can find more hints, tips and advice to help you stop smoking for good.



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