Tobacco is a coarse, erect, viscidly-hairy annual herb. Leaves are large, elliptic-ovate to oblong or obovate, narrowed by the base, and sessile or short-stalked. Inflorescences are terminal. Calyx is green, ovoid or tubular, with five triangular lanceolate teeth. Corolla is white and pink, linear, funnel-shaped and about 5 centimeters long. Capsule is ovoid, with very numerous white seeds.
– Cultivated throughout the Philippines.
– A major commercial crop in some provinces.
– Native of tropical America.
– Now planted in all warm countries.
• Except for the ripe seeds, all parts are considered poisonous.
• Leaves considered antispasmodic, discutient, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, narcotic, sedative, maturative, styptic and sialagogue.
• The nicotine alkaloid is rapidly absorbed from all mucous membranes, lungs and skin, but more commonly enters through the lung alveoli, quickly reaching the heart and brain receptors, and largely eliminated by oxidation through the liver (80 to 90%), a small amount metabolized in the kidneys and lungs. Elimination half-life is 2 hours.
• Nicotine is the primary psychoactive constituent of tobacco – cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and nicotine patches, gum, inhalers and sprays.
• It acts on the autonomic ganglia. One cigarette causes a 50% rise of noradrenaline and 15% rise of adrenaline. From the posterior pituitary, vasopressin is released.
• A pack per day smoking increases the coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction three-fold. There is also an increase in emphysematous lung disease, lung cancer, peripheral vascular disease and stomach ulcers. In women who smoke, there is a higher incidence of premature births, deformities and perinatal infant mortality.
• Used by herbalists as a relaxant, it has long been abandoned because of its highly addictive nature.
• In the Philippines, fresh leaves used as poultices as sedative and maturative.
• Decoction of dried leaves used in enemas for expelling certain intestinal worms.
• Dried leaves used as styptic.
• Juice of leaves is sedative, antispasmodic and a powerful insecticide.
• Dried leaves are nauseating, emetic, sometimes purgative.
• Has been used for coughs, whooping cough, hiccups, spasmodic laryngitis, asthmas.
• Tobacco snuff has been used for headache, giddiness and fainting.
• Leaves applied to the abdomen in colic and gripes.
• The ashes, mixed with oil, are applied to bleeding sores.
• Leaves have been used for pain and rheumatic swelling, syphilitic nodes and skin diseases.
• Used extensively in agricultural and horticultural applications, for fumigating, spraying, as worm powders, insecticides.
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