Tobacco as a Medicine in Ancient America

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Tobacco as a Medicine in Ancient America

For Native American societies, tobacco was considered one of the best medicinal remedies for anything from chronic pain to tuberculosis. The leaves were smoked, eaten, or ground up and applied topically. Today, we don’t think of tobacco as a healthy thing. We have known for decades that smoking tobacco leads to ailments like lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases, but the tobacco in cigarettes is laced with an incredibly high amount of chemicals. The tobacco used by the Native American population for medicinal purposes was pure. Doctors in the 19th century believed that the plant was capable of treating a number of ailments such as ringworms, constipation, hernias, infections—when taken orally or rectally, or applied externally.

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