Ethnobotanical Explorations

Ethnobotanical Explorations

Ethnobotanical explorations from across the earth have unwrapped over 700 plants handed down for their smoke with more than fifteen hundred different therapeutic applications. Herbal smoke can be drawn in for an internal system-wide effect, or used externally as a purifying fumigant. Medicinal smoke is used from time to time in conservative and ceremonial cultures for treating wounds, infection, respiratory illness, many types of pain, birthing, lactation and postpartum care.

My Humble Experiences with Indigenous People

In ancient times, there was no segregation between matter and spirit, hence the purification of the soul was an essential component of healing physical disease. The most profound healing effect of plant-derived smoke comes from its use in ceremony and prayer, although it has many physical health benefits too.

Our own personal expeditions and wanderings with herbal smoke blends and medicine began when the kind Sayanas and the Bajgis of the Jaunsar-Bawar offered to smudge me. He could sense I was tired, restless and heavy hearted, so he pulled out his ceremonial gizmo, filled it with van tulsi, kutki and cedar and smoked around us while performing a sacred song in his native language, a spiritual procedure known as smudging. He then offered us a smoke rolled in a leaf. For the first time, I experienced the healing power of herbs. A burden was hurled up from me. His humble and pure sharing of sacred smoke ignited in me a persistent passion for herbal smoke and medicine.

In my travels to different parts of the hill regions of northern India in search of the art and culture of herbal smoking and the plants used in the making process, I learned and got enlightened that new born babies go through a purifying process of herbal smoke immediately after birth in the form of incense as well as smoke drawn by the head of the family through a very special smoking pipe, a legacy that the other generation will carry. It is considered to have both physical and spiritual benefits.