Warning!!! Drinking tobacco is seriously toxic. Do not prepare any tobacco drinks and do not drink them. We wrote this article as an exploration of an ethnobotanical history of tobacco and its traditional usage.
In the modern world people’s understanding of tobacco seems to all come from a certain mass-produced cultivar of tobacco from the plant variety nicotiana tabacum. Then the plant is mixed in with hundreds of chemicals and additives into cigarettes and people smoke them and destroy their bodies.
We want to show that there is more to that, both in this article and our complete guide to Mapacho tobacco. It does not mean that we support the idea that tobacco is “good” for ones health, but rather to highlight how it was used cerimonally and religiously.
Health risks and effects of drinking Mapacho Tobacco
The “Mapacho Cleanse”
Amerindian traditions where Tobacco beverages were prepared.
Drinking Tobacco in Nahuatl/Aztec/Mexican cultures
One part lime, ten parts tobacco.
The world’s second anthropologist, Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun, who bequeathed to us-in the Nahuatl words of elderly sabios-by far the most comprehensive and detailed study of any precontact American culture, here described the Mexica- (Aztec-) practice of smoking tobacco in reed-tubes, called acdyetl or «tobacco- reeds», mixed with all manner of entheogens, including mushrooms, probably tpmtecomanandcatl, Amanita muscaria (L. ex FR.) PERS. ex GR. [vide Ott 1996 for details]. This smoking of tobacco as acdyetl or pocuyetl (cigars) apparently was reserved especially for festive and ceremonial occasions, whereas by far the most common tobacco-use in Mesoamerica at the time of contact was as tenexyetl, «limed tobacco», which was sucked like a coca-quid, being one part lime to ten of tobacco, also having an important ritual role. But the Nahuas snuffed tobacco as well, at least as a headache-remedy, and I suggest that the Nahuatl name for tobacco as a snuff was yecoxo, hitherto recondite (from yeti, «tobacco», and coxonqui, «dried and ground»: Sahagun recorded headache-curing by «inhalingyecoxo, by inhaling tobacco»; and in his Castillian rendering said: «[y}ecuxo, or the green picietl [ = Nicotiana rustica L.] herb»). They drank tobacco-potions also, surely the itzpactli or «obsidian-medicine» of Sahagun-which may also have been known as tlapacoyetl, «washed tobacco»and used small tobacco-pellets designated yiaqualli [ de la Garza 1990; Hernandez 1942; R.eko 1919; Sahagun 1950-69; Simeon 1997; Sullivan et al. 1997; Vetancurt 1982]. Furst [1974,1996] summarized abundant archa::ological evidence for the antiquity and broad distribution of Mesoamerican liquid-snuffing, dating back to 1500 B.C. and extending from Colima and Nayarit, in the north, to the Olmecan area in the southeast: he proposed that many Olmecan jade «spoons»-some graced by avian and feline motifs-were in reality snuff-tablets ( vide CHAPTER ONE)
Drinking tobacco in South American/Amazonian cultures