Solanaceae Nicotiana obtusifolia var. obtusifolia

Desert Tobacco

Cahuilla - Other, Ceremonial Items

Use documented by:
Bean, Lowell John and Katherine Siva Saubel, 1972, Temalpakh (From the Earth); Cahuilla Indian Knowledge and Usage of Plants, Banning, CA. Malki Museum Press, page 90

View all documented uses for Nicotiana obtusifolia var. obtusifolia

Scientific name: Nicotiana obtusifolia var. obtusifolia
USDA symbol: NIOBO (View details at USDA PLANTS site)
Common names: Desert Tobacco
Family: Solanaceae
Family (APG): Solanaceae
Native American Tribe: Cahuilla
Use category: Other
Use sub-category: Ceremonial Items
Notes: Used as an integral part of every ritual. Before a ritual was conducted, tobacco was smoked by the ritual leaders and shamans and the smoke was blown in the sacred directions: north, east, west, south and up or center. This helped to clear the area of any malevolent force which might interfere with the ritual. Throughout ceremonies, especially those honoring the recent dead, everyone was obliged to smoke tobacco, as they are even today. At funerals, smoking served to concentrate power that would aid the dead in their arduous journey to the other world.

RECRD: 11535 id: 23850