With an ancient tradition and full of meaning, snuff spread across all continents and remains a subject of curiosity to this day.
Several archaeological records show the importance of snuff consumption for some ethnicities and cultures and point out the relevance of this practice for our ancestors. Just like kumbaya , cannabis , tobacco , and other herbs, snuff has its history based on sacred references that also included popular and healing knowledge Rapé.
What is snuff and what is it for?
Snuff is a substance extracted from tobacco leaves and mixed with tree bark and other herbs. The materials are ground until they become a very fine powder, with a texture similar to that of ground cinnamon.
Its use has been reported by different people for many centuries, and is associated with sacred medicine in different cultures, especially by some indigenous tribes.
The ritualistic use of snuff was aimed at contact with the divine, healing purposes, search for harmony, relaxation and self-knowledge. Its consumption was managed by religious leaders who inspired the confidence of the tribe.
The expansion of snuff and tobacco consumption to other continents occurred after the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, who spread the practices beyond ritualistic use.
The therapeutic and healing properties of snuff involve multidisciplinary and popular knowledge, which directly depends on the components used in the manufacture of the compound. Many of the plants that have already been used in the production of snuff are actually used as herbal medicines in the treatment of various health conditions, and the ancient use of this tradition is part of the history of these people.
It is essential to approach this approach with caution, honoring cultural traditions and preserving them as an instrument for safeguarding ancestral knowledge.
Scientific studies have shown that regardless of ethnicity, all people value the therapeutic action of snuff, which directly depends on the composition of the product.
Most of the plants used in the production of snuff are really of interest in the field of pharmacology. These compounds vary from culture to culture, but in general, tobacco, which contains Nicotina tabacum in its formulation, is one of the central ingredients of snuff.
Rapé is usually sold in different compositions, which reflects the expression of each culture. Here are some examples:
Murici: murici snuff is extracted from the bark of the murici tree, a common raw material for treating the gastrointestinal tract in indigenous medicine.
Canela de Velho: traditional among the natives of Etinia Huni Kuin, this type of snuff was used for general balance between the mind and body.
Jurema Preta: produced from the bark of the root of the Jurema-preta tree, used especially in cases of skin problems, to promote cell regeneration
Cactus: derived from the plant, Cactus grandiflorus, cactus snuff is full of meaning and tradition coming from tribes in the northeast region of the country
Mulateiro: strong snuff derived from the ashes of the trunk of Mulateiro (Calcophyllum spruceanum) used by different ethnicities as a source of energetic cleansing and connection.
Tsunu: With very dark colors, the base of Tsuni is extra-strong tobacco and ash from the bark of the Tsusu tree, making it suitable for those who appreciate more potent herbs.
The mixtures can be found in the main tobacco stores and e-commerce stores , and are usually packaged in small cans.
What is the effect of snuff?
Each mixture promotes a particular effect, which can vary between relaxation, enthusiasm, agitation and concentration. Therefore, it is good to be careful with mixtures, as more than one type of snuff at a time can trigger different effects and result in uncomfortable sensations. The duration of the effects can vary greatly, depending on each organism’s tolerance.
How to use snuff
The structure of snuff is made so that it can be inhaled (that is, inhale/smell the product). People who consumed snuff quite frequently mixed the herbs and ground them with the help of a pestle until the mixture became a powder.
Currently, consumers usually place a quantity of powder in the palm of their hand (preferably well sanitized and dry), and then consume the snuff. But in the past, it was more common for snuff to be consumed with the help of specific objects.
The shamans, leaders of tribes and communities or more experienced people used to blow a cylindrical utensil, called a tepí, or tipi, which fit into the nostrils of the person who was going to consume, so that the powder reached the respiratory cavities and caused the desired effects. .
Is snuff bad?
The consumption of snuff was widespread in Brazil until the 20th century. As time goes by, many people wonder if snuff is harmful to their health. Let’s understand:
As it is produced from tobacco leaves, snuff also contains nicotine in its composition, a substance known to cause dependence and numerous health problems. However, the nicotine concentration varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Furthermore, it is very important that the consumer is aware of the quality of the product and its composition, as it is not always possible to control which substances were involved in the production of the product and whether any element can cause further health problems.
Any inhaled product reaches the brain at an accelerated rate and causes effects on the nervous system. For this reason, it is essential that consumers know the origin and quality of the substance, in order to avoid any harm.
As snuff is used through the airways, its frequent use can harm the inner mucosa of the nostrils and even lead to injuries and irritation.
Snuff does not produce smoke, which avoids direct damage caused by combustion. However, the scarcity of scientific studies regarding the consumption of the substance means that we cannot actually affirm the level of damage caused to the lungs and other organs of the respiratory system, in contrast to cigarettes or other tobacco products.
The use of substances can trigger different reactions in each organism and discomfort depends on a series of factors. Experts warn that outside the religious context, substances should be used with caution, in order to avoid addictions, suffering and emotional damage.
It is always important to highlight that there are risk groups for this type of consumption: people with heart problems, pregnant women, or patients suffering from psychiatric disorders can be affected by much more risky adverse effects, so it is always good to be aware of these conditions and also to possible combinations between substances.
The lack of scientific knowledge about mixtures means that there are no great safe sources that prove the benefits and harms of snuff. It is known that historically, direct contact between the airways and various herbs promoted a feeling of relief and well-being for some symptoms. But in the long term, it is difficult to estimate the magnitude of the harm.