Record Detail

Catalogue Number DBN 3902
Artefact DescriptionShip tobacco. This South American plant is now widely cultivated and one of the most addictive and lucrative plant products on the market. Tobacco as we know it comes from the processed dried leaves of Nicotiana sp. It's most commonly used as a drug in the form of smoking cigarettes and cigars, snuff, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and flavoured shishas. Despite the well known health problems caused from the direct and indirect inhalation of tobacco smoke and the addictive qualities of nicotine, the tobacco trade is still at large. But before its commercial production and devastating world influence, traditional tobacco was deeply revered and respected in some traditional cultures like that of Native Americans.

"Sacred tobacco" has played a significant role in Native American culture for centuries. Considered a gift from Mother Earth, tobacco is used to connect and communicate with the spirit world,to provide people with spiritual strength, guidance and discipline and heal and protect the ill. Its significance is further emphasised through its incorporation into folklore.

Today India is one of the top tobacco producers in the world and Dindigul in Tamil Nadu has been a center for tobacco and cigar production since the British occupation.
Taxon SOLANACEAE Nicotiana tobacum
TDWG Continent Asia-Tropical
TDWG Region Indian Subcontinent
TDWG Botanical CountryAssam
TDWG UseSocial Uses - Smoking Materials