Rabbit Tobacco - Formally called Gnaphalium Obtusifolium, it is also known as Cherokee Tobacco, Indian Posey, Old Field Balsam, Sweet Everlasting, Cudweed, Poverty Weed, Fussy Gussy, and Sweet White Balsam.
Rabbit Tobacco - Formally called Gnaphalium Obtusifolium, it is also known as Cherokee Tobacco, Indian Posey, Old Field Balsam, Sweet Everlasting, Cudweed, Poverty Weed, Fussy Gussy, and Sweet White Balsam. It grows most anywhere -- in pastures, woodland, on prairies, and in thickets in the eastern states, east of Colorado. Utilizing the stem, leaves, and flowers, it has long been used for a variety of medicinal purposes by Native Americans including asthma, colds, cough, flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, diarrhea, as an insect repellant, sleep aide, and numerous other uses. It was often smoked in place of tobacco by both Native Americans and early settlers, and contains no nicotine. The smoke was thought to have held a spiritual or mystic power for many Indians. The Cheyenne often dropped the leaves on hot coals and the Cherokee were known to have used it in sweat baths. The Creek used it as a cold remedy, as a poultice applied to the throat for mumps, and as a sedative; the Koasati for fever; the Menominee for headache and a psychological aid when dried leaves were steamed as an inhalant for "foolishness." Many tribes thought that the smoke had a restorative power that could revive the unconscious or paralyzed. When a poultice was made, it was used on bruises, and skin and mouth sores. The Cherokee also made a salve of the herb which they mixed with lard and rubbed on the chest to relieve congestion and induce sweating. Juice from the plant had a reputation as an aphrodisiac as well as an anti-venereal potion. In teas, it is said to induce sleep, help migraines, sinus troubles, cough, asthma, stomach problems, is a mild nerve sedative, and increase appetite.
all Photos by Christopher Stokes / © Christopher Stokes 2012
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