Plants provide the food, shelter, medicines, and biomass that underlie sustainable life. One of the earliest and often overlooked uses of plants is the production of smoke, dating to the time of early hominid species. Plant-derived smoke has had an enormous socio-economic impact throughout human history, being burned for medicinal and recreational purposes, magico-religious ceremonies, pest control, food preservation, and flavoring, perfumes, and incense.
In ten illustrated chapters, this global compendium documents and describes approximately 2,000 global uses for over 1,400 plant species. The Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke is accessibly written and provides a wealth of information not only on human uses, but also on conservation issues and the role of smoke, fire, and heat in promoting seed germination in biodiversity hot spots. Divided into nine main categories of use, the compendium lists plant-derived smoke's the
medicinal, historical, ceremonial, ritual and recreational uses. Plant use in the production of incense and to preserve and flavor foods and beverages is also included. Each entry includes full binomial names and family, an identification of the person who named the plant, as well as numerous references to and other
scholarly texts. Of particular interest will be plants such as Tobacco (Nicotiana tabaccum), Boswellia spp (frankincense), and Datura stramonium (smoked as a treatment for asthma all over the world), all of which are described in great detail.
In addition, this is one of the first ethnobotanical books to include a section on plant conservation. It addresses issues of over-harvest and invasiveness, the two primary conservation concerns with human-exploited species.
"A distinctive, excellent resource for a specialized topic. Readers who think that plant smoke is just for inhaling intoxicants will be surprised by the breadth of human uses of smoke derived from plants, such as seed germination, pest control, and veterinary medicine. Academic libraries supporting programs in areas such as agriculture, ethnobotany, history, cosmetics, and medicine may benefit from this thoroughly researched volume." -- Choice
"A fascinating excursion. This book demonstrates that there's a lot more to smoke created from plant material than just nicotine and narcotics. Although this book remains morally neutral on the rights and wrongs of smoking various substances, it goes some way towards countering the view that plant smoke is always a bad thing."--Green Prophet
"The list of plants presented through the authors extensive literature search is a valuable entity. Perhaps this book's greatest contribution will be in its ability to stimulate research into identification of phytochemicals in a plant's smoke responsible for its ethnobotanical uses." -- Robert J. Krueger, Ferris St. University, Economic Botany
Preface and acknowledgments
Fire and Smoke
Medicinal Uses for Plant-derived Smoke
Evil and Medicine
Magico-religious and Ceremonial Uses
Incense producing plants
Perfumes, Flavoring and Preservation
Toxic and obnoxious smoke
Index of scientific names