Are Herbal Cigarettes Good for You? Science, Instinct, and the Great Question Mark…

by Jan 6, 2022Smoke Signals0 comments

Are Herbal Cigarettes Good for You? Science, Instinct, and the Great Question Mark…

by Jan 6, 2022Smoke Signals0 comments

Trust instinct. Intuition is a divining rod. Have faith in what your body tells you is true. 

Are herbal cigarettes good for you? That’s a Colt .45 loaded question on the other end of Clint Eastwood. They aren’t water. They aren’t air. The FTC likes to point out they produce tar and carbon monoxide, which aren’t exactly fruits and veggies. Certainly, smoking herbal cigarettes isn’t benign — but that doesn’t mean the herbs are out to kill you like a Lee Van Cleef spaghetti Western either. 

Anyone who’s tried one can tell you that smoking herbal cigarettes isn’t like smoking tobacco. You don’t huff and puff walking up a hill after smoking herbs. Your body doesn’t feel gunked up like the bottom of that ash tray you left in the sink. It doesn’t make your breath or clothes stink — the fact is you smell like a garden, like a field of herbs and flowers blooming in the sunlight.

People have been smoking herbs to harness their medicinal properties for centuries. Mullein is believed to cleanse lung infections and inflammation, and works as an expectorant, breaking up congestion through beneficial coughing. Some Native Americans used Mullein to help regrow lung tissue. White horehound is a potent anti-inflammatory used to treat bronchitis, whooping cough, and asthma. Smoking peppermint improves breathing by clearing the lungs and respiratory passages.

Even smoking cannabis can increase the air capacity of your lungs — regular smokers can actually breathe in more air to their lungs than non-smokers.

Smoking herbal cigarettes is also a great way to wean yourself off tobacco. Lobelia is an herb that contains an alkaloid called Lobeline, which is similar to nicotine. Smoking small quantities of Lobelia can help ease nicotine withdrawal.

The science is murky — the benefits of smoking herbs have unfortunately not been clinically studied in a laboratory. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We just don’t have the lab coats to prove it yet. In the meantime, intuition is our best guess. Listen to your body. It will tell you what you need to know.

Juice Box Rasta Lungs

We do have some clinical studies on smoking cannabis — and the science will tell you McGruff the Crime Dog is full of shit. 

After decades of hearing marijuana caused cancer, it turns out the opposite is true. In fact, a 2006 UCLA lung study found no increased risk of lung cancer in cannabis smokers. Actually, moderate tokers had slightly lower rates of lung cancer than nonsmokers. 

Unlike tobacco which can cause lung damage and lead to respiratory issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, smoking cannabis actually improves lung function, according to a 2012 lung study published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. People who have smoked a joint a day for seven years can actually exhale about 50 milliliters — the size of a kid’s juice box — more than a non-smoker.

Needless to say, “Juice Box Rasta Lungs” sounds like one hell of a Reggae band.

Herbal Havan Smoke Kills Germs Dead

In some religious cultures, herbal smoke has a healing tradition. And the science backs up the mysticism.

In Hinduism, Havan is a sacred purifying fire ritual. A sacrificial fire known as a Havan Kund is lit. Herbs, fruits and honey are thrown in as a spiritual homage. The purpose of a Havan is to purify your surroundings, both spiritually and literally. It’s a process of balancing a space with gratitude and purification to create a healthy zone for human existence.

And it turns out that Havan smoke actually does purify air quality — there are significantly fewer germs in a room after a Havan fire has been lit. Researchers at the National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow burned havan samagri —the mixture of aromatic medicinal herbs typically prescribed for Hindu rituals in a closed room. And it did kill germs. Smoke from mango wood provided no reduction in airborne bacteria. But when havan samagri was added, the bacterial count was reduced by 94 percent within one hour.

The air purification of a Havan lasts for weeks. Researchers sampled air quality 24 hours later after the room was opened — bacteria count was 96 percent lower. Repeated sampling showed the effect lingered for a month.

Could the herbs in an herbal cigarette also kill germs? Maybe. We know they have numerous medicinal properties that can alleviate depression, encourage deeper dreaming, and clean out the lungs. And it’s a safe bet there are other numerous health properties science is only beginning to understand.

When Will Science Ask, “Can I Hit That?”

Google “Are herbal cigarettes harmful?” and you get a hot mess: tons of quasi-scientific articles stating they are just as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes — at least until you read the fine print. We don’t really know because science hasn’t asked the question yet — only concerned moms on the Internet. You’ll read about tar and carbon monoxide, but no serious scientific studies as to whether or not herbal cigarettes actually cause cancer.

At Bear Blend, we welcome the science. We look forward to the day when the health effects of smoking herbal cigarettes are studied clinically. Our hypothesis is that smoking herbs are significantly less dangerous than smoking tobacco and in many ways have medicinal benefits. What we know of traditional herbal medicine backs this up. But until science does its math homework, you’ll never read about it on WedMD.

For years, Nancy Reagan-inspired-paranoia told us marijuana had thousands more carcinogens than tobacco cigarettes and was far more deadlier than Joe Camel could ever dream. It turns the exact opposite is true. 

At Bear Blend, we believe there are medicinal benefits to smoking herbs, but like anything else, smoking herbal cigarettes needs to be done responsibly. Listen to your body. It will tell you when  balance is out of whack. 

Maybe someone reading this will decide to put the question, “Are herbal cigarettes good for you?” under a microscope and do a serious study. We seriously hope so and look forward to that day. Science is ironic chronic in an ice cold bong — and you just don’t know until you hit it. 

The real question is: Who’s going to pack it first? Are you listening, UCLA?

Because the world needs to know.

Matt Gallagher

Matt Gallagher

Wordsmith Specialist

A freelance writer for hire, Matt Gallagher is the face and voice behind Web Copy Magician. He enjoys Bear Blend as a tea to spiritually reconnect with nature and the therapeutic wonders of chlorophyll.

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