Indian Tobacco

(Lobelia inflata) In large doses, this is a poison (Weiner), but in small ones, it is useful for asthma (one of its names in America is Asthma-weed). It was actually introduced into Britain for this purpose around 1830 (W A R Thomson. 1976). The leaves and tops of Thorn-apple are mixed with this herb to make the "asthma powders" commonly sold for the relief of the complaint. A little nitre is included to make it burn, and the smoke is inhaled. The mixture is often made up into cigarettes, for convenience (Hutchinson & Melville). The plant has also been used to treat falling hair. The Indiana practice is to fill a bottle with the pulverized herb, then pour in equal parts of brandy or whisky and olive oil. Let it stand for a few days, then bathe the head once a day with the liquid (Tyler).

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