Aztec Tobacco
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Aztec Tobacco
aturalized Photo: Thingnam Anjulika
Common name: Aztec Tobacco, Strong Tobacco, Wild tobacco, Sacred Tobacco, Mapacho, Shamanic Tobacco • Hindi: तम्बाखू Tambakhu • Kannada: naati hogesoppu • Manipuri: ꯍꯤꯗꯥꯛꯃꯅꯥ হিদাকমনা Hidakmana • Urdu: Tambaku sarti تمباکو سرتی
Botanical name: Nicotiana rustica    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)

Aztec Tobacco is a somewhat bushy annual or short-lived perennial herb, up to 1 m tall. Leaves are broadly ovate to elliptic, sometimes elliptic- lanceshaped or round, 2.5-12.5 cm or more in length, fleshy, hairy and sticky. Leaf stalk is not winged. Flowers are often many, borne in branched, panicle-like clusters at the end of branches. Flowers are 1.2-2 cm long, greenish to yellow, tube broadly widening and urn-shaped above. Fruit is more or less erect, spherical to ellipsoid-ovoid, 7-11 mm long, hairless, splitting above into 4 valves. This is a very different tobacco from that commercially available today. It contains about nine times more nicotine than the normal tobacco. It is native to South America, and was used for hundreds of generations, and virtually every native american tribe used tobacco, as an offering to the spirits when planting or gathering food, for healings and for ceremonies.
Medicinal uses: All parts of the plant contain nicotine which is a strong narcotic. The leaves are antispasmodic, cathartic, emetic, narcotic and sedative. They are used externally as a poultice and a wash in the treatment of rheumatic swelling, skin diseases and scorpion sting.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in cultivation in Manipur & Delhi.

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