Medicinal smoke may have a broad range of therapeutic applications and benefits. - GreenMedInfo Summary
J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Nov 24;108(2):161-84. Epub 2006 Sep 9. PMID: 17030480
All through time, humans have used smoke of medicinal plants to cure illness. To the best of our knowledge, the ethnopharmacological aspects of natural products' smoke for therapy and health care have not been studied. Mono- and multi-ingredient herbal and non-herbal remedies administered as smoke from 50 countries across the 5 continents are reviewed. Most of the 265 plant species of mono-ingredient remedies studied belong to Asteraceae (10.6%), followed by Solanaceae (10.2%), Fabaceae (9.8%) and Apiaceae (5.3%). The most frequent medical indications for medicinal smoke are pulmonary (23.5%), neurological (21.8%) and dermatological (8.1%). Other uses of smoke are not exactly medical but beneficial to health, and include smoke as a preservative or a repellent and the social use of smoke. The three main methods for administering smoke are inhalation, which accounts for 71.5% of the indications; smoke directed at a specific organ or body part, which accounts for 24.5%; ambient smoke (passive smoking), which makes up the remaining 4.0%. Whereas inhalation is typically used in the treatment of pulmonary and neurological disorders and directed smoke in localized situations, such as dermatological and genito-urinary disorders, ambient smoke is not directed at the body at all but used as an air purifier. The advantages of smoke-based remedies are rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body and lower costs of production. This review highlights the fact that not enough is known about medicinal smoke and that a lot of natural products have potential for use as medicine in the smoke form. Furthermore, this review argues in favor of medicinal smoke extended use in modern medicine as a form of drug delivery and as a promising source of new active natural ingredients.