Rabbit Tobacco

October 21, 2015

-smallb (1 of 1)“I have to laugh when people ask me if I do alternative, herbal, acupuncture or holistic medicine. ‘No,’ I reply. ‘We do state-of-the-art medicine. In other words, we find the biochemical, nutritional and environmental causes and cures rather than blindly drugging everything. Sure, herbs are gentler, safer and more physiologic than drugs and holistic medicine attempts to incorporate many diverse modalities, etc. But there is no substitute for finding the underlying biochemical causes and cures. This is real medicine. This is where medicine should and would have been decades ago, if it had not been abducted by the pharmaceutical industry.”
— Sherry A. Rogers

Side Note (Pseudognaphlium obtusifolium): We see an interesting kind of connection between dispelling and gathering back with this plant. They considered it a very important sorcerer’s medicine, which might be demonstrated by its name “owl’s crown,” the owl often being associated not only with the dead but among a number of tribes, with sorcery. The Yuchi mixed the leaves with those of Eastern juniper (Juniperus virginiana aka eastern cedar, although it is not a cedar) and burned them to smudge the home when someone had died in order to prevent the ghost of the departed from clinging too tightly to the world of the living; they are encouraged to move on and join the dead. The spirits of the restless dead might cause fevers in the living, and for this they also smudged people with sweet everlasting and eastern juniper needles. They sometimes smudged babies the same way, perhaps because babies have only recently crossed the boundary between the living and the dead, or because babies are weak and thus more susceptible to spirit attack. Flowers are picked and put into a medicine bag to be carried for protection not only from the dead but from witchcraft and ill will. Seminoles similarly combined rabbit tobacco and eastern cedar needles as a smudge, but it was to smudge one’s hands and body after being in a crowd and perhaps picking up bad witchcraft; the user also took four breaths of the smoke. Likewise, the Seminole smudged a house after they suspected a visitor had left behind bad witchcraft. One herbalist pointed out the connection between rabbit tobacco’s use in asthma and its reputation as walker between worlds–in asthma, the breath (life) is restricted, and this herb helps bring that breath back–a very astute conclusion, IMO. In fact, in the Yuchi language, part of its name comes from the word for breath, but in the sense of spirit. The Sioux also descried the plant’s abilities to pick up on the good or evil of people around it, even when it is in the dried state; so it is a kind of psychic collector, which can make it very powerful for good or ill.