When I was a child at bedtime at my grandparents’ house, I’d fall asleep watching whiffs of my Grandad’s vanilla pipe tobacco drifting down the hallway like blue ribbons. I smoked cigarettes in high school when I was depressed and poetic and suicidal and dramatic and wanted everyone to know it. I smoked cloves while reciting poetry at the goth cafe, the sweet, narrow ones that are illegal in the US now. Dangerous, dark, delicious…
I loved the ritual of smoking, the intoxicating beauty, watching the blue coils of smoke curl in a sunbeam. When I was nervous, the hot air would slither in my lungs, stilling the quiver of anxiety. It felt like smoking a bee hive to calm the buzzing horde inside.
At some point, though, something shifted. I would sit down on the porch to read a book and think to myself “I should have a cigarette” and look down at my hand to see one already lit, clutched between my fingers and half-smoked. Smoking stopped being a ritual and became a thoughtless habit.
Thoughtless habits don’t agree with me. They stick in my craw and make me grumpy. Thoughtless habits take control of me and my will, and I don’t particularly appreciate that. So when I realized that I was a slave to the habit, I got up my nerve and quit cigarettes when I was 21 years old.
I still avoid tobacco, for the most part.
I’ll occasionally try a puff of a fancy cigar if offered one and the mood takes me. Hookah bars are luxurious and speak to my hedonistic side. Have you ever tried Rose flavored shisha? It makes me melt and shiver with ecstasy. I’ve learned to enjoy an occasional indulgence without giving in to the sway of thoughtless habit and addiction. Moreover, I’ve learned that I can enjoy a good smoke without using tobacco at all!
There are many herbs that make a pleasant, tobacco-free smoke. Since they lack nicotine, they are not as addictive as regular cigarettes. I enjoy them all for different reasons! As I learn more, experiment more, and try new blends, I’ll update this page.
Herbs to use in Herbal Smoking Blends
So, put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!
Herbal Academy: “How to craft your own herbal smoking blends”
Jim McDonald: “Kinnikinnick”
Erin McIntosh: Pipe Tea Herbals
Purchase pre-made blends from Brown Bear Herbs