– PLANT DESCRIPTION:
Tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, is an herbaceous annual or perennial plant in the family Solanaceae grown for its leaves. The tobacco plant has a thick, hairy stem and large, simple leaves which are oval in shape.
The tobacco plant produces white, cream, pink or red flowers which grow in large clusters, are tubular in appearance and can reach (3.5 – 5.5 cm) in length.
Tobacco may reach (1.2 – 1.8 m) in height and as is usually grown as an annual, surviving only one growing season. Tobacco may also be referred to as Virginia tobacco or cultivated tobacco and originates from South America. (1)
All parts of the plant contain nicotine, this has been extracted and used as an insecticide. The dried leaves can also be used, they remain effective for 6 months after drying. The juice of the leaves can be rubbed on the body as an insect repellent. The leaves have been dried and chewed as an intoxicant. The dried leaves are also used as snuff or smoked. This is the main species that is used to make cigarettes and cigars. A drying oil is obtained from the seed.
Tobacco is propagated from seed on protected (covered) seed beds or in the glasshouse and transplanted to the final growing site. Seeds grown outdoors are protected for the first few weeks to prevent weather damage to the emerging young plants. seedlings are transplanted after 30–60 days when they are approximately 15 cm (6 in) in height. The young plants should be spaced 46–61 cm (18-24 in) apart.
Tobacco is harvested by hand in most parts of the world by picking 2–3 leaves from each plant per harvest. In the USA and Canada, tobacco plants are mechanically harvested by cutting the stalks of the plants. Only fully mature leaves should be harvested when hand picking is practices and harvests should be carried out at weekly intervals. After harvest, leaves are usually tied in pairs to cure. (2)
– MEDICINAL USES OF TOBACCO:
Tobacco has a long history of use by medical herbalists as a relaxant, though since it is a highly additive drug it is seldom employed internally or externally at present. The leaves are antispasmodic, discutient, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, irritant, narcotic, sedative and sialagogue. They are used externally in the treatment of rheumatic swelling, skin diseases and scorpion stings. The plant should be used with great caution, when taken internally it is an addictive narcotic. The active ingredients can also be absorbed through the skin. Wet tobacco leaves can be applied to stings in order to relieve the pain. They are also a certain cure for painful piles. A homeopathic remedy is made from the dried leaves. It is used in the treatment of nausea and travel sickness. (3)
– HOW DOES NICOTINE AFFECT YOUR BODY?
There are such a large number of perils related with using tobacco products that occasionally the harmful impacts of nicotine alone get lost in the shuffle. Nicotine adversely affects EVERY major system in the human body. As it builds up from regular use, it can lead to debilitated immune function, fatigue, decreased healing time, and long-term diseases including cancer. Actually, nicotine keeps the body from appropriately discarding damaged cells, in this way enabling cancer cells to develop.
Regardless of whether nicotine comes from smoke, chew, or utilization of e-cigarettes or dissolvable tobacco, nicotine influences every user in a similar ways. How about we separate the body and perceive how nicotine impacts singular parts:
Nicotine disrupts normal neurotransmitter activity, causing chemical changes and addiction.
Other neurological symptoms caused by nicotine include light-headedness, sleep disturbance, dizziness, and tremors.
Nicotine reduces the ability to see at night by stopping the production of pigments in the eyes specially designed for low-light vision.
Adrenaline released by nicotine reduces peripheral vision, and in the end, nicotine accelerates the degeneration of the eyes.
- Reproductive System:
Nicotine prohibits proper blood circulation and is a leading cause of erectile dysfunction (impotence) for men under 40.
Nicotine also increases the risk of infertility and miscarriage. And if babies exposed to nicotine in utero do make it to birth, they tend to have low birth weights, be born prematurely, and have increased risk for lung problems.
- Heart and Arteries:
Nicotine increases heart rate and raises blood pressure when it stimulates the release of adrenaline.
Short term, this means your body is less efficient when you exercise. It has to work harder getting the blood and oxygen to cells that need it, preventing the body from reaching its maximum potential.
Long term, the stress on the heart and arteries can lead to increased risk of heart attack and can even lead to a stroke and/or aneurysm.
When used over time, nicotine alters cellular structures and has been found to increase risk for fractures while contributing long-term to the development of weakened bones (osteoporosis).
Nicotine increases calories burned but decreases endurance by wasting energy in the effort.
So, while nicotine users may have the energy to sprint down the block, they won’t have the maximum lung or heart capacity to get their best score on a PT running test or maybe even to finish the all-night trek with their unit.
Smokers are at an extra risk since nicotine is present in their lungs.
Nicotine causes rapid and shallow breath, leading to quicker fatigue amid exercise or combat.
Over time, nicotine permanently damages the cells in the lungs by changing their structure. This leads expanded risk for lung disease, lung cancer, emphysema, pneumonia, and bronchitis! (4)
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