Best Herbs To Smoke

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How To Craft Your Own Herbal Smoking Blends

There’s something fascinating about the alchemy of herbs and smoke. Part of it is visual. We can see the plants undergoing a violent physical change as they are transformed into smoke and ash. It’s also something that we can experience as we breathe in. The smoke has a taste and a texture, and it resonates with us at an emotional and physical level. We resonate with it as well.

Whether used to help or to harm, there are over 1500 plants that have been documented for use as smoke at some point in the past. Uses for these plants varied widely. They were used for repelling insects, for supporting the health of the lungs, for veterinary needs, to balance or influence the emotions, or even as weapons during warfare. 

Below, we will take a look at the anatomy of modern herbal smoking blends and how to make your own.

Modern Herbal Smoking Blends

Herbal smoking blends now encompass herbal cigarettes, pipe tobacco alternatives, and even herbal vape liquids.

Despite a long history of use for many botanical ingredients, it’s important to remember that smoke is smoke. Besides gunning up the lungs with tar, smoking also lessens the amount of oxygen you are taking in and increases your exposure to carbon monoxide, neither of which are healthy.

Herbalist Howie Brounstein has noted that some people may find it helpful to use herbal smoking blends when they are lessening their dependence on tobacco. The blend of herbs can be customized by combining ingredients such as lobelia and calming herbs, incorporating expectorants and mullein to support the lungs, and eventually transitioning to using mullein only (Brounstein, 1995).

7 Smokable Plants You Can Grow That Aren’t Marijuana

Don’t worry, it’s totally legal This is crumbled, dried mullein, which is known as the “base” of most herbal smoking blends. Photography By Elizabeth A.Cummings / shutter stock.com 6K Shares

Quite a few plants may be safely, and pleasurable, lit up in a pipe or rolling papers. Those listed below are legal, unregulated, and totally safe to use. They are also non-hallucinogenic and non-addictive – perhaps that explains their lack of popularity?

While they won’t get you high, when blended according to the instructions below, these herbs produce a smooth, tasty smoke and give a gentle, relaxing buzz. All of the following varieties may be purchased online or at any well-stocked herb store. You may also grow your own. Of course, we’d be remiss not to remind you to discuss any questions with a doctor.

While scores of herbs are smokable, those listed below are among the most commonly used and easily grown at home. Skip to the sidebar to learn how to dry your herbs into the perfect smoking blend.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Herbal Properties: Mullein has a long history of use as a lung tonic. It can actually help you stop coughing when you’re sick.

Smoking Qualities: The smoke is extremely light and mild, almost like smoking air, and virtually flavorless.

Type of Plant: This biennial herb grows up to two feet wide at the base, with flower stalks rising six feet or more.

How to Grow: Considered by some a garden weed, this fuzzy-leafed plant is very easy to grow from seed planted directly in the garden in spring. It prefers a sunny location and soil that is well-drained and not too fertile. It benefits from a bit of irrigation as a seedling but is drought-tolerant once established.

Skullcap (Scutellaria spp.)

Herbal Properties: Skullcap has a mild calming effect when smoked.

Smoking Qualities: This herb is a medium smoke, with a fairly neutral flavor.

Type of Plant: A spreading perennial that grows about a foot tall, skullcap makes an attractive ground-cover in the garden.

How to Grow: Sow seeds indoors in spring, planting the seedlings in a sunny or partly shaded location with rich soil once the weather has warmed. Skullcap requires weekly irrigation during dry periods. Cut the dried foliage to the ground each fall.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Herbal Properties: Coltsfoot is an expectorant, helping to free phlegm from the lungs.

Smoking Qualities: This herb is a light smoke with a neutral flavor, but can cause harsh coughing if used in a high concentration in smoking blends.

Type of Plant: This 6- to 12-inch tall ground-cover spreads by underground rhizomes to form extensive colonies under optimum growing conditions.

How to Grow: Dried colts foot seed rarely germinates, but “fresh” seed, as well as potted plants, are available online. Rich, moist soil and a location in full sun or part shade are this plant’s preferred growing conditions.

Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)

Herbal Properties: Many ancient cultures smoked mugwort to promote vivid dreams. It also produces a very mild psychotropic effect while you’re awake.

Smoking Qualities: This herb is a light smoke with a pleasant, slightly sweet flavor.

Type of Plant: Mugwort is a spreading perennial growing up to 2 feet tall.

How to Grow: While seeds are available online, mugwort is easier to start from a potted plant, or by transplanting a clump from an established patch. Mugwort thrives with little care once established, but beware: it can become invasive, especially in moist locations. Cut the dried stalks to the ground each fall.

Uva-Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Herbal Properties: Also known by the Algonquin name kinnikinnick, this native plant has long been smoked by Native American tribes for ceremonial purposes.

Smoking Qualities: Uva-ursi herb is a medium smoke with a strong earthy flavor.

Type of Plant: This attractive woody ground-cover, which grows about 6 inches tall, is a popular landscaping plant.

How to Grow: Uva-ursi is very difficult to propagate by seed, so it’s best to obtain potted specimens from a native plant nursery in your area, or from an online supplier. Grow in full sun or light shade; excellent drainage is essential. Uva-ursi is drought-tolerant and requires little care once established.

Mint (Mentha spp.)

Herbal Properties: Mints are used primarily to impart flavor to smoking blends. There are many varieties worth experimenting with, including spearmint (Mentha spicata) (pictured above), peppermint (Mentha piperita), and chocolate mint (Mentha x piperita ‘Chocolate’). Close relatives of mint, including lemon balm (lemony flavor) and yerba buena (sweet menthol flavor), are often incorporated in smoking blends, as well.

Type of Plant: These herbaceous perennials spread to form extensive colonies under optimum growing conditions.

How to Grow: Mints are easier to establish from potted plants, or by transplanting a clump from an established patch, than by sowing seeds. Part sun and rich, moist soil are the preferred growing conditions. Mints can become invasive in the garden, especially in moist areas, so you may want to confine them to a pot. Cut the dried stalks to the ground each fall.

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