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Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke: Its Ethnobotany as Hallucinogen, Perfume, Incense, and Medicine

By: Marcello Pennacchio(Author), Lara Jefferson(Author), Kayri Havens-Young(Author), David Sollenberger(Illustrator)

264 pages, 22 b/w photos, 96 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press USA

Hardback | Aug 2010 | #226111 | ISBN-13: 9780195370010
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £35.50 $47/€40 approx

About this book

Plants provide the food, shelter, medicines, and biomass that underlie sustainable life. One of the earliest and often overlooked uses of plants is the production of smoke, dating to the time of early hominid species. Plant-derived smoke has had an enormous socio-economic impact throughout human history, being burned for medicinal and recreational purposes, magico-religious ceremonies, pest control, food preservation, and flavoring, perfumes, and incense.

In ten illustrated chapters, this global compendium documents and describes approximately 2,000 global uses for over 1,400 plant species. The Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke is accessibly written and provides a wealth of information not only on human uses, but also on conservation issues and the role of smoke, fire, and heat in promoting seed germination in biodiversity hot spots. Divided into nine main categories of use, the compendium lists plant-derived smoke's the medicinal, historical, ceremonial, ritual and recreational uses. Plant use in the production of incense and to preserve and flavor foods and beverages is also included. Each entry includes full binomial names and family, an identification of the person who named the plant, as well as numerous references to and other scholarly texts. Of particular interest will be plants such as Tobacco (Nicotiana tabaccum), Boswellia spp (frankincense), and Datura stramonium (smoked as a treatment for asthma all over the world), all of which are described in great detail.

In addition, this is one of the first ethnobotanical books to include a section on plant conservation. It addresses issues of over-harvest and invasiveness, the two primary conservation concerns with human-exploited species.

"This book is quite entertaining with its rich provision of surprising details."
Chemistry and Industry


Preface and acknowledgments
Fire and Smoke
Medicinal Uses for Plant-derived Smoke
Evil and Medicine
Magico-religious and Ceremonial Uses
Incense producing plants
Recreational Uses
Pest Control
Perfumes, Flavoring and Preservation
Veterinary uses
Toxic and obnoxious smoke
Smoke signals
Index of scientific names
Subject index

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Marcello Pennacchio is a medical botanists with over ten years of experience in research and teaching in this area. He has published approximately 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, including a comprehensive review of plants that produce cardioactive agents.

Lara V. Jefferson, is a restoration ecologist. She too has written scholarly journal articles and has presented her work at various conferences all over the world. Her main research interests are invasive plant species and using smoke to promote seed germination. She is currently the manager for environmental approvals with an Australian mining company.

Kayri Havens, is the Medard and Elizabeth Welch Director of the Division for Plant Biology and Conservation at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Dr. Havens has also written scholarly journal articles and recently co-authored and co-edited a book on conservation, titled Ex Situ Plant Conservation (Island Press).

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