The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications

Smoking Blends


Other Names


Blends, rauchkräuter, rauchmischungen, smoking mixtures


Almost any plant can be smoked after it has been dried. Many psychoactive plants are smoked alone and unblended. Usually, however, one or more other herbs or extracts are combined with them. Herbs are very often mixed to produce specific psychoactive effects. Many smoking blends are important components of shamanic rituals or social situations.

In Amazonia, mixtures of resins from different Virola species (Virola spp.) and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) are ritually smoked. Mataco shamans mix the seeds of Anadenanthera colubrina var. cebilwith tobacco (Nicotianaspp.) and an Amaranthus species so that they can diagnose and heal illnesses. In Mexico, Mayan shamans smoke blends of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and thorn apple (Datura innoxia). The Huichol use a combination of wild tobacco (Nicotiana rustica) and marigold (Tagetes lucida). The Mam and Tzeltal Indians smoke wild tobacco together with fly agaric skins (Amanita muscaria) for divinatory purposes. Countless blends are used in North America (see kinnikinnick). The sadhus in India and Nepal are fond of blending hemp products (Cannabis indica) with Datura metelAconitum ferox, and cobra venom. In central Asia, henbane (Hyoscyamus nigerH. spp.) is mixed with tobacco or hemp (Cannabis sativaCannabis ruderalis). In Pakistan and North Africa, it is common to smoke hashish with tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). In Southeast Asia, cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are added to tobacco, and clove cigarettes are even manufactured in factories. In Australia, pituri is occasionally smoked. Sometimes hemp leaves are soaked in opium (Papaver somniferum) and a tincture of lobelia (Lobelia inflata) for smoking.



In fact, of course, most herbs can be combined with one another for smoking. However, one should nevertheless proceed with caution when experimenting and begin with small dosages (cf. kinnikinnick).

Shiva/Shakti Blend


Equal parts of:

ganja (hemp leaves; Cannabis indica)

dhatura (thorn apple leaves; Datura metel)

“The smoke of dried coltsfoot with root, sucked in by means of a tube, is said to heal an old cough, but one must take a sip of raisin wine after each inhalation.”






“Each of the different smoking blends allows one to strike a different key on the piano of consciousness states!”










Indian Cigarettes (nineteenth century)


In the nineteenth century, pharmacies sold numerous pharmaceutical smoking blends that were prerolled into cigarettes. This recipe of the Parisian company Grimault et Cie. from 1870 is strongly reminiscent of witches’ ointments. Per cigarette:


0.3 g belladonna leaves (Atropa belladonna)

0.15 g henbane leaves (Hyoscyamus niger)

0.15 g thorn apple leaves (Datura stramonium)

0.1 g Indian hemp leaves (Cannabis indica), soaked in opium extract and cherry laurel schnapps


Smoke one cigarette as needed.


Neumeier’s Cigarillos (1913)


These pharmaceutical cigars were smoked as a remedy for asthma. Unfortunately, no amounts were given with the ingredients. They consisted of:


herba and radix brachycladi (Trichocline argentea Grisebach [syn. Brachyclados stuckeri Speg.]; cf. Trichocline spp.)

Cannabis indica

Grindelia robusta Nutt.

folia eucalypti (eucalyptus leaves)

folia stramoni (thorn apple leaves)

an outer leaf of Nicotiana tabacum


Smoke as needed.

Yuba Gold


In the international herb trade, one can even find finished herbal blends based upon hemp products. One popular product is Yuba Gold, which consists of (Miller 1985, 23*):


4 parts damiana leaf (Turnera diffusa)

4 parts skullcap herb (Scutellaria lateriflora L.)

¼ part lobelia herb (Lobelia inflata)

4 parts passionflower herb (Passiflora incarnata; cf. Passiflora spp.)

1 part spearmint leaf (Mentha spicata)

Legal Grass


This mixture is sold as a marijuana substitute (Brown and Malone 1978, 23*). It consists of:


Korean ginseng leaves (Panax ginseng) damiana (Turnera diffusa/Turnera aphrodisiaca) high-grade lobelia herb (Lobelia inflata) African yohimbe bark (Pausinystalia yohimba) hops (Humulus lupulus)

Creative Euphoria


Equal parts of:


marijuana (Cannabis indicaCannabis sativa)

damiana (Turnera diffusa)

fly agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria)

ska maría pastora (Salvia divinorum)

yohimbe bark (Pausinystalia yohimba)

“Legal High” Blend


Equal parts of:


leonotis herbage (Leonotis leonurus)

bog bilberry leaves (Vaccinium uliginosum)

aristolochia herbage (Aristolochia triangularis)

papaya leaves (Carica papaya L.)

marsh marigold herbage (Caltha palustris L.)

Hottentot Tobacco


Equal parts of:


kougoed (Sceletium tortuosum)

dagga (Cannabis sativa)


Aphrodisiac Smoking Blend I


Equal parts of:


hashish (Cannabis indicaCannabis sativa)

fly agaric mushroom, dried (Amanita muscaria)

coca leaves, toasted (Erythroxylum coca var. coca)

Aphrodisiac Smoking Blend II


Equal parts of:


hashish (Cannabis indicaCannabis sativa)

fly agaric mushroom, dried (Amanita muscaria)

thorn apple leaves (Datura innoxiaD. stramoniumD. spp.)

Mixture for Peyote Rituals


(cf. Lophophora williamsiikinnikinnick)


Bull Durham tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum)

mokola leaves (Rhus glabra L.)

Hataj Mixture


5–8 hataj seeds (Anadenanthera colubrina var. cebil)

1 cigarette (Nicotiana tabacum)

1 pinch of aroma (Amaranthus sp.)

some aromo (Mimosa spp.)

“Mazatec Blend”


Equal parts of:


coleus (Coleus blumei)

ska maría pastora (Salvia divinorum)


Blending smoking herbs can clearly produce synergistic effects that may be desirable to a smoker (cf. Siegel 1976*). Some consumers have even begun to practice what may be termed “chemical engineering,” in which certain blends, combinations, and proportions of mixtures are designed to steer the specific effects of hemp in a particular direction. For example, combinations with tropane-rich nightshades (henbane, thorn apple, angel’s trumpet) are smoked for aphrodisiac purposes. To produce more profound psychedelic effects, hemp products may be combined with belladonna (Atropa belladonna) and fly agaric mushrooms (Amanita muscaria) (belladonna and fly agaric mushrooms have a positive synergy). Kitchen spices, coca leaves (Erythroxylum coca), and Ephedra herbage can be used for refreshing and invigorating effects. Some ingredients, e.g., Psilocybe mushrooms, are thought to have no pharmacological effect when smoked.458 Others, such as toad foam (cf. bufotenine5-MeO-DMT), are extremely potent and can clearly obscure the effects of THC. The effects of many Artemisia spp. (Artemisia spp.) are antiasthmatic and muscle relaxing and are suitable for use in smoking blends, and it is possible that they may improve the absorption of the active constituents of the other ingredients in the blends. Continuing ethnopharmacological research into smoking herbs and mixtures will certainly provide many stimulating insights.


Coltsfoot leaves (Tussilago farfara) were once smoked as a tobacco substitute. Today, they are often mixed with hashish and used in medicinal and psychoactive smoking blends. (Woodcut from Tabernaemontanus, Neu Vollkommen Kräuter-Buch, 1731)




Golowin, Sergius, ed. 1982. Kult und Brauch der Kräuterpfeife in Europa. Dokumente zur einheimischen Ethnologie. Allmendingen: Verlag der Melusine.


Ohsawa, George, Herman Aihara, and Fred Pulver. 1985. Rauchen, Marihuana und Drogen. Holthausen and Münster: Verlag Mahajiva.