In no sense can Tobacco be considered a medicinal food, yet as a most useful subsidiary agent it merits our passing notice in these pages. Detailed particulars regarding its qualities (good, and bad) are given at some length in Kitchen Physic. "Divine, rare, super-excellent Tobacco," wrote Burton (in his Anatomy of Melancholy, 1676), "is a virtuous herb when medicinally used; but as taken in smoke, hellish, devilish, and damned." "This herb goes far beyond all their panaceas, potable gold, and philosopher's stones; a sovereign remedy to all diseases; a good vomit, I confesse; a vertuous herb if it be well qualified, opportunely taken, and medicinally used; but as it is commonly abused by most men, which take it as tinkers do ale, 'tis a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of goods, lands, and health, the ruine, and overthrow of body, and soul".

In stories told about smokers C. S. Calverley has given it as his opinion, humorously conveyed: -

"How they who use fusees All grow by slow degrees Brainless as chimpanzees, Meagre as lizards;

Go mad, and beat their wives, Plunge (after shocking lives) Razors, and carving-knives Into their gizzards".

Recent experiments have shown, concerning the antiseptic powers of Tobacco in smokers, that the microbes of some infectious diseases become destroyed (if inhaled) by the nicotine products which permeate the inside of the smoker's mouth, and fauces; but that other microbes (notably those of diphtheria) resist the nicotine odours, and the Tobacco products, these microbes continuing to be virulent, and morbidly active. Thus those doctors who are habitual smokers, without excess, certainly acquire a measure of protection against several of the infectious diseases which they are •called upon to encounter. But the evil effects of Tobacco are intensified in immoderate smokers who at the same time indulge in alcoholic drinks. The chief poisonous constituent of Tobacco-smoke is pyridin, and not nicotine, this pyridin being a poisonous base more readily dissolved by alcohol than by water. Pyridin bases can be readily traced in the mouth of an immoderate smoker, especially in a smoker of cigars. An alcoholic drink is therefore calculated to quickly wash out this poisonous oil, and to carry it into the stomach; then absorption of the poison ensues, and definite toxic symptoms occur, which are due not so much to alcohol, or pyridin bases alone, as to the combined action of both unitedly in the manner now indicated.

Smokers, therefore, should abstain from taking any form of alcohol at the same time as when making a free use of Tobacco. At a dinner given recently to Mr. Beerbohm Tree by the "Aborigines Club," New York, after the repast there was supplied, according to the menu, "a blackened drink of Savages, hotte, and with sweet flavoure; also coyles of a most strange herbe, ye smoak of which smelleth wyth such a magikal, and grevous smelle; ye menne doe be strucken wyth rare merryment, and laughter, smoakynge it, and telle tayles, and synge songs wh' they telle not, nor synge not unto wyves, or bysshopes." In Shakespeare's day the leading tobacconists taught pupils how to smoke. During the year 1614 there were seven thousand Tobacco shops in, and near London alone. The fragrant weed was often adulterated with lees of sack, and oil, whilst kept moist by burying it in gravel when wrapped up in greasy leather. To learn how to blow out the smoke in balls, and rings, was indispensable to all men of fashion. Some pupils would brag of being able to take three whiffs, drink three cups of Canary, and then take horse so as to evolve the smoke, one whiff at Hounslow, the second at Staines, and the third at Bagshot. John Milton was a lover of choice Tobacco, smoking a pipe thereof at night after a frugal supper of bread, and olives, with a draught of pure spring-water; about which fare there clings a flavour of the happy days he had passed with a refined literary circle in Italy. It was the devout wish of Charles Lamb, "May my last breath be drawn through a pipe, and exhaled with a pun!" But actually, at the end, according to Edward Fitzgerald, in a letter to Pollock (May, 1842), "There was poor Charley Lamb, crazy, drunk, and making puns all his life, dying with a vision of roast turkey in his head".

"Coltsfoot" Tobacco is smoked by rustics in some English country places. This is a coarse powder formed from the leaves of the common Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). Smoking it will certainly relieve the difficult breathing of old bronchitis.

Likewise, the leaves of the Mullein, or Hedge-taper (Verbascum thapsus), are highly esteemed for smoking, particularly in Ireland, against the troublesome cough of consumptive disease, whilst the whole plant, boiled in milk, and strained, is given as a curative drink. This Mullein bears also the title "Bullocks" Lung-wort," because of its supposed remedial virtues in lung diseases of the said animal. The leaves contain mucilage, with a yellowish volatile oil, a fatty substance, and sugar, together with some colouring matter; they are large, and woolly. If smoked in an ordinary tobacco pipe, these dried leaves will completely control the hacking cough of consumption. Throughout most parts of Ireland, the Mullein is cultivated because of a steady demand for the herb by sufferers from this disease. Constantly, in the Irish newspapers, there are advertisements offering it for sale, and its leaves can be had from all the local druggists. For administering in milk, with a similar object in view, the old Irish method is to put an ounce of the dried leaves, or a corresponding quantity of the same whilst fresh, into a pint of new milk, boiling it then for ten minutes, and afterwards straining. This medicament is given warm to the patient twice a day, with, or without sugar.

The taste of the decoction is bland, mucilaginous, and cordial. The herb grows freely in England on dry banks, and waste places, having a thick stalk, from eighteen inches to four feet high, with large woolly leaves, and a long flower-spike, bearing yellow flowers, which are nearly sessile on the stem. Another common name of the plant is Hedge-taper, or formerly, Torch, because the stalks were dipped in suet, and burnt for giving light at funerals, and other gatherings. Again, other popular titles of the Mullein are "Adam's Flannel," "Jupiter's Staff," "Velvet Dock," "Cuddie's Lungs," and 'Hare's beard" (in allusion to the dense, woolly hairs on both sides of the leaves). Mullein oil is a most valuable destroyer of disease germs, also of admirable service against some forms of deafness, by simply instilling a few drops into the affected ear twice a day.

The best known, and most potent poison to be smoked is Opium, which produces beautiful dreams at the onset, but leaves a severe headache, and thirst; its seductive effects become by repetition fearfully disastrous to mind, and body. Indians smoke wood-shavings saturated with a strong solution of pepper; also the leaves of the tomato, and the potato plants are pressed into their smoking service. In Jamaica the "ganjah" a kind of Indian hemp, is used for the same purpose. The Swedes smoke mountain Tobacco found growing in the Alps. The American Indians prepare dried holly leaves, willow bark, and sumach for their pipes. "Indian Tobacco," so called, is lobelia leaf, and is poisonous. The Bahamans adopt cascarilla bark, with unfortunate effect upon health, and mind; whilst the natives of Central America are inveterate users of Pimento (Allspice) Tobacco, which often causes cancer of the tongue. South African natives become curiously affected by smoking dried leaves of the Camphor plant, which presently bring on a state of trembling drivel, with causeless fright, weeping, and incoherent babbling.

South Americans take resort to stramonium (thorn-apple) leaves, which lead on to convulsions, and death.

Tobacco, from which nearly 98 per cent of the nicotine is said to be extracted when in the raw state, has been recently introduced by Dr. E. Kissling; and he adds, "The cigars prepared in this way leave nothing to be desired as regards flavour, and aroma".

If this be really the case much may be done towards revolutionizing the manufacture of safe, irreproachable Tobacco.

Tea cigarettes have been put into use by some persons of late in this country, being made with green tea (the unbroken leaf); which is rendered damp so that the leaves may become pliable for stuffing into the paper cylinders, but not wet enough to. affect the paper. The cigarettes are then laid by for a few days; afterwards the feeling of one in the mouth is peculiar, but the flavour is not so disagreeable as might be supposed; the effect on a tyro is a sense of a thickened head, with a disposition to take hold of something for support, or to sit down. If the beginner stops here he will not try a tea cigarette again; but if he sits down, and attempts to smoke a second cigarette, inhaling the smoke deeply, then the sense of thickening passes away, and is succeeded by one of immense exhilaration, which stage lasts as long as the smoke continues. But subsequently the agony inflicted by the opium fiend is a shadow to that which overtakes the nauseated victim of the tea cigarettes. Food cannot be looked at for hours, and yet the first step towards recovery is to take a cup of tea.

Then an hour afterwards comes a craving for a (Tobacco) cigarette.

After all, therefore (putting aside such innocent growths as the leaves of garden rhubarb, beet, and sage), ordinary Tobacco (with all its disadvantages) which finds its way into the pipes of Europe, is really the least harmful indulgence for the smoking habit which is so widespread, and so alluring. In several eruptive skin diseases the moderate use of Tobacco smoking seems to be decidedly useful, by allaying irritability of the cutaneous nerves. Similarly for obviating constipation of the bowels a morning smoke will serve to relax the muscular fibres of the intestinal walls, and of the fundament, thus bringing about an easy stool after breakfast, and clearing the decks for the day. Charles Lamb, writing about himself as "the late Elia" in his last Essays, has said: "He was temperate in his meals, and diversions, but always kept a little on this side of abstemiousness. Only in the use of the Indian weed he might be thought a little excessive. He took it, he would say, as a solvent of speech.

Marry! as the friendly vapour ascended, how his prattle would curl up sometimes with it! The ligaments which tongue-tied him were loosened, and the stammerer proceeded a statist".