|Sweet Everlasting, true to its name, stands strong despite what the winter threw at it along my driveway.|
|Sweet White Balsam growing in an old field.|
Rabbit Tobacco is my favorite, probably because that is the name I learned it as, learning to smell it to confirm its identity. It has indeed been used as a tobacco substitute, especially by the poor or kids who couldn't purchase real cigarettes. But it has also been smoked medicinally, perhaps ironically, for all sorts of breathing disorders as well.
Its smell is one of its most distinctive features. To some it smells like tobacco, to others like vanilla, and yet others like maple syrup. Few though find the odor to be unpleasant or unmemorable. The fragrance is also extremely long lasting, well into the winter or even the following spring, especially if moistened. During colonial times it was brought into homes to help perfume them.
|The flowers of Fragrant Everlasting are unremarkable, always seeming to me that they need to open just a bit more.|
It has been used by people for a variety of different reasons. Its use for smoking and perfuming homes has been mentioned already. Famous ethnobotanist Daniel Moerman listed numerous ways that Native American Indian tribes used these plants. The Alabama used it as a sedative to treat nerves or sleeplessness, sometimes using it as a face-wash to treat insomnia. The Cherokee thought it could treat twitching, muscle cramps, rheumatism, pains, colds, coughs, asthma, and various diseases, often employing it in sweat baths. The Rappahannocks had similar beliefs, thinking it could treat chills, fevers, and smoking it for asthma.
The Cheyenne burned the leaves to purify gifts to the spirits, while their warriors chewed it to protect themselves prior to battles. The Creek thought it could be used to combat vomiting, against mumps, to prevent people from running away, as an inhalant for colds, as a sleep aid, to flavor medicines, and even to ban ghosts and other bad spirits. The Choctaw treated colds and lung issues with it. The Montagnais thought it could deal with coughing and tuberculosis, as did the Chippewa, Yuchi, Meskwaki, and Potawatami. The Menominee inhaled it for headaches and to treat fainting, also believing that fumigating a home with it would deal with ghosts.
|I enjoy a warm cupful of Rabbit Tobacco tea, both inhaling the vapors and drinking it, hoping it will help with a persistent cough I was dealing with.|