category: Plate

The genus of the tobacco plant originally comes from the South American continent and belongs to the nightshade family with around 75 different species.

In the event of a pest infestation, the plant transports nicotine from the roots to the other parts of the plant and stores it in stems, leaves and flowers. The neurotoxin nicotine serves the natural defense against pests. When the tobacco plant perceives the saliva of beetles, the nicotine concentration increases and the nervous system of the beetle is destroyed as soon as it eats the plant. Certain caterpillars are particularly hard for the tobacco plant because they are immune to nicotine. Therefore, the tobacco plant has natural mechanisms to protect itself from these pests. As soon as the plant perceives the caterpillar's saliva, it releases the hormone jasmonic acid. The resulting fragrances attract a certain type of wasp that lays its eggs in the caterpillars and kills them. The scent cocktail is also perceived by the tobacco plants growing next door, which then change their gene composition together to prevent the pests.

Tobacco is still used today by many shamans in the Amazon for their rituals. They use the “spirit” of tobacco and can cure diseases with tobacco smoke. For them, tobacco is a Planta Maestra, a so-called teaching plant. This allows the shaman to switch to the spiritual world in a guided manner.

The medicinal plant used to be used for ear pain, snake bites, cuts and burns, respiratory diseases, fever, nerve complaints, bladder problems and skin diseases.