Better Smoke …

 … without Tobacco” * is the title of a small book (138 pages in 12°) by Juliette de BAÏRACLI LEVY (1912-2009) (no Ger. wiki article; Eng.; small Ger. page with photos; Eng. bio and further materials). Those of you who live with dogs may have seen or even used one of her writings like f.e. The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog (London 1955) or others.
de BAÏRACLI LEVY was born into a wealthy family in Manchester as daughter of an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father. She later took up the study of veterinary medicine, but left the university after two years and turned towards natural herbal medicine. She travelled a lot in Europe and around the Mediterranean collecting herbal knowledge. She also bread successfully Afghans under the kennel name Turkuman. She spent her last years partly in Germany and Switzerland, where she died peacefully 2009.
de BAÏRACLI LEVY says in her booklet clearly that smoking generally should be avoided. But if the habit can not (yet) be abandoned, one should at least use not poisonous tobacco but healthy spices. She developed two smokable mixtures of spices (“Wanderer” for cooler and “Nomade” for warmer climates), describes how to collect, dry and cut the herbs and of course shares her two recipes. Traders and producers in Austria are named (the seemingly one man publishing house for this book is located in Wallingwinkl somewhere in the Salzburg area), but more than 30 years later they are all out of business.
For 400 g of  “Wanderer” she uses 228 g Holunderblätter (elder leaves, sambucus; Ger., Eng.), 7 g Holunderblüten (blossoms of elderflower), 85 g Weißkleeblüten (blossoms of white clover, trifolium repens; Ger., Eng.), 29 g of Klebkraut (robin-run-in-the-hedge, all of it; galium aparine; Ger., Eng.), 29 g Kleie (bran or chaff (Spreu) – I am not sure what she means), 22 g Salbeiblätter (leaves of sage, salvia; Ger., Eng.), 24 Gewürznelken (crushed cloves, Ger., Eng.), and a spoon of hops (humulus lupulus; Ger., Eng.). The basis for “Nomade” is wine leaves, she uses Alant (horseheal, inula; Ger., Eng.) and citron leaves instead of Klebkraut and Kleie. In the text she mentions other spices and herbs she found useful and smokable, small illustrations show the mentioned plants.
The crushed cloves remind me of the Indonesian Kretek (Ger., Eng.), but these are made from flavoured tobacco.



* de Baïracli Levy, Juliette: Besser Rauchen ohne Tabak und eine Warnung vor dem Gebrauch von Kräutern, denen die Verführungskraft zu immer erneuter Verwendung innewohnt. Übersetzt, überarbeitet und herausgegeben von Holger Ising Fassunge, 2.verbesserte Auflage, Wallingwinkl 1980


16 thoughts on “Better Smoke …

  1. Interesting. If she gone to India I’m sure she would have found a bounty of herbal smokes. Are you a smoker then Mago?

    I only smoked clove cigerattes when I was the mysterious high school “Goth” chick. Every American high school must have at least one. I mostly hung out alone, but I was a muse for many of the art class boys, bantered with the science and math nerds and occassionally played poker for pennies with the band geeks. When the school counselors discovered that I was not suicidal, but a quietly empathetic person they would sometimes call on me to do a kind of “welfare check” on teens they were worried about but that they couldn’t get to come to their office. I would not divulge any secrets of said teen, but would let the counselor know if I felt the person was likely to do harm to themselves or to others. However, once I intervened this was no longer a problem. Many of us just need someone to acknowledge our concerns or pain.


  2. i quit smoking almost 3 years ago! and now that i have to use an inhaler 2x a day and carry an emergency inhaler, i can honestly say, i am not a smoker!

    AND I MISS IT!!!! xoxoxox

  3. In India she’d have had bidis – and holy smoke, these truely deliver! I was a heavy smoker, Melanie.

    Not even in the Navy, XL? Respect!

    Just don’t inhale, Fayce … 🙂

    A lot of this missing depends on stress, dear Savannah. After ten years I started again through nightshifts, but I am over it. I think.

  4. Ponita says:

    I smoked a lot as a kid… through second hand smoke. Both my parents were heavy smokers. I tried a cigarette once as a teen. Made me feel rather ill, so I didn’t even finish that one and have never had another. Yuck! And considering my mum died (slowly) of emphysema, I have to say I wish the tobacco plant could be exterminated from the planet… What a horrible thing to watch (helplessly) as she slowly suffocated. It took several years.

    So if you have quit, Mago, please don’t ever start again!!!!

  5. In the mid 1980’s, I smoked clove cigarettes for about two months and though I was fabulous and cool and realized I was really just an idiot. The lungs don’t know the diference so I switched to pot. 😉 Long term smoking is so bad and it only makes the cigarette companies money. I’m with Ponita; her comment is perfect.

  6. if i were ever to pick up a cigarette again (and this is doubtful) it wouldn’t interest me to buy magic spices and make my own. god dammit, i’d want a benson & hedges menthol and i’d buy it!

    quitting was the hardest thing i ever did, i’d never try it again.

  7. I did quit. And then I started again, for some very peculiar reasons… but anyhow, I remember trying the herbals but they smelt as though I was smoking a compost heap.

    P.S …now it’s me that smells like a heap…

  8. Same here, Ponita. My mother smoked.

    One should use only best ingredients, Boxer. Yes, In the end the only party involved with smoking who gains something are the companies. The rest pays for poison. Old Zino once sayed something along the lines “All my live I sold poison”.

    I think alle (ex)smokers can related to this, Kat! Thank you for the compliment, but you know it will chance sooner or later …

    Benson&Hedges, heavens Norma, cultivated, with a mighty punch!

    I am sure you do smell like a heap of flower blossoms, dear Ms Scarlet.

    For a nanosecond I did not realize that you spoke about the sage I mentioned, Z … Somewhere in the heap of books I have a tractat about the ingredients of the witches’ unguent. It is interesting to learn what grows in the woods and on the meadows. Sadly I have difficulties to tell parsley from basilicum.

  9. Princess says:

    Guilty as charged your Honour. I’ve smoked heavily.. 40 a day since I was 17.
    I’m one of those people with a pathological addiction but I have cut back to 30 a day now. And working down slowly… I will quit one day but all in my own time. the way things are going here in OZ they will be outlawed any minute! There is a huge push by the Government to Put them all in Plain wrapping and continue to increase th price. They are also talking of setting minimum pricing for grog now so nothing will be cheap. Nanny States!

  10. Two packs a day may be seen as a bit much, dear Princess. Nice to see that you cut it down a bit. I can relate very well to doing things at an own pace. Some people call me stubborn.

    Todays Non Sequitur (9th of June) also deals with smoke.

  11. When a boy in elementary school would talk or annoy me too much I would dare him to chew on Yarrow root, which grows everywhere in Spokane in the cracks between the street and the curb. This would make their mouth and tongue go numb for about 15-20 mins. Yes, I suppose I have a wicked streak at times. The Native Americans used to use it for toothe aches and to curb hunger. Maybe I should sell it in powder for as a weight loss supplement.

    When I used to live camping I would saute freshly caught fish with wild mushroom that I could easily identify as safe to eat. It is sad when someone dies starving in these forests, there is so much food if you know what to look for.

  12. This “yarrow root” has potential, Melanie! Nobody needs to starve in the woods – the only really dangerous thing there comes on two legs. Everything else can be avoided. I very very much regret that all the knowledge of my forefathers (or better: fore-mothers!) is gone. I would have to start with a blank board …

Comments are closed.