The most widely known materials for smoking are tobacco, traditional cannabis and the more recently popular hemp flower and CBD, but they aren’t the only options out there. If you’re looking for a good, flavorful smoke that has some restorative health benefits, you can incorporate other herbs into your blends.
It’s important to note that you need to smoke responsibly, and not everything can or should be smoked. Be sure to thoroughly research which plants to use and how to prepare the plants and your blends so that you can enjoy a safe, smooth smoke.
Many of these plants have been smoked for thousands of years by medicine men and herbalists. Some popular herbal plants include:
- White Sage leaves are used as a memory aid and can help you feel relaxed.
- Mullein flowers are a “base” for a lot of smoking blends because of the near tastelessness. Mullein can help the respiratory system and promote calm and relaxation.
- Damiana flowers and leaves are used to help with calming and relaxing moods and as an aphrodisiac.
- Mint leaves are primarily used to enhance the taste of the smoking blend. Spearmint, peppermint, and even chocolate mint are popular additions.
- Skullcap is a great herb to help with anxiety and overall nervous system function.
- Red Raspberry leaves are another base herb and can help with menstrual pain and other female ailments. Anise is an excellent flavoring herb if you enjoy the taste of licorice.
- St. John’s Wort, while not the most appealing of names, is pretty popular in the herbal medicine scene. It has been linked to mitigating depression and is known for helping relieve tension and melancholy.
- White Horehound is a good herb for helping to treat respiratory issues. It works as an expectorant and can help calm down airways that are inflamed due to bronchitis, asthma, and severe coughs.
How to Dry
If you grow your own or purchase clippings from live plants, you will need to dry them before you can do any blending or smoking. The age-old method of drying your plants by hanging them upside down in a dry, dark area is one sure-fire way to do it, but some herbs do well being dried in the oven or using a dehydrator.
One common mistake, however, is to use herbs that are too dry. When herbs are too dry, they burn too quickly and can create a bad taste and sensation in your mouth. You’ll want to keep most of your herbs completely dry so that they’ll last for a long time and won’t mold or rot, but you can do a couple of things to keep the a small, smokable portion at the right moisture level.
- The first thing you can do is keep two jars or tins of herb blend. One airtight container has completely dry herb, and the other, smaller container has a piece of lemon or orange peel, a slice of bread, or a piece of lettuce in it to help keep up some humidity. Be aware that fruit peel may influence the flavor a little, which may not be a bad thing.
- Another thing you can do is lightly spritz the herb you are going to smoke a half hour before you settle in for a light.
- You can also purchase something called a humidity pack that you can put in your jar of herbs. Combined with a humidity gauge, you can keep your blend at exactly the right humidity so that you have the most enjoyable smoke possible.
Prepare Your Blend
When you’re creating your own blend, it’s a great idea to experiment with flavors and outcomes so that you can get exactly what you want. Keep a journal with the different herbs you use, the amounts you use, and the outcome (overall whole-body feeling, how it felt in your mouth, how it smelled, how it tasted, etc.). A good rule of thumb for when you’re starting out is to use the ratio 2:1:0.5 of base herb to outcome herb to flavor herb.
Start by removing any sticks or small twigs from your different herbs. It’s generally best not to touch herbs with your fingers too much, but using them to break off pieces to prep for grinding is fine. Use an herb grinder, aka sometimes called a blender or shredder, to make the different herbs a more uniform size (and therefore a more even smoke). Place the ground herbs in a jar or tin container and mix them around until the blend is well incorporated.
Smoke and Enjoy
Once all of your herbs are dried, evenly distributed in the blend, and ready to go, you are set to choose your method of smoking and simply enjoy!