It Ain’t Just For Smoking: Known But Beneficial Uses For Tobacco

For centuries, tobacco was hailed for its myriad of uses and medical cures. However, its modern day standing leaves a lot to be desired.

Despite this plant’s modern day reputation for causing long term ailments, tobacco leaves should be considered an ideal plant for homeopathic practices, self-reliant living as well as a great bartering item for a long term emergency.

Consider the following beneficial uses for tobacco.


Tobacco is a great insect repellent for the kitchen garden.  By simply soaking as little as a cigarette amount of tobacco in a quart of water and allowing it to soak overnight, the nicotine released in the water will create an all purpose insect repellent.

Aphid Control – Aphids are a real nuisance if allowed to thrive on garden plants.  Here’s a handy tip to rid your garden of them for good!

  •  Prepare a mixture of 1 cup. powdered garlic
  • 1 c. compost
  • 1 c. tobacco (organic preferably)

Blend this mixture into the soil around the base of your aphid infested plants.

Peach Tree Borers – Sprinkling tobacco dust around peach trees will deter the dreaded peach tree borer from infesting your tree.

Leaf Roller – These greenish larvae make a home out of perfectly good leaves.  They can destroy plants of all kinds in a matter of weeks!  I have created an offering plate for birds every morning of these caterpillars.  But to easily rid your garden of them:

Use a mixture of tobacco dust, pyrethrum powder (dried pyrethrum flowers crumbled into a powder) and make a solution to spray on the leaf roller.

Garden Centipede – These litter guys will eat your young plants up in no time, so get rid of them with this simple solution:

Drench the soil with a mixture of water, garlic and tobacco. Caution: This is a very foul smelling, but potent combination.

Gophers and Moles – Did you know that gophers and moles hate tobacco?

Shred a package of non-filtered cigarettes and drop it down in the hole.  They cannot stand it!

Spiders – Although garden spiders are always welcome in my garden, it’s cousins are not allowed!  To rid your yard of spiders:

Boil 1 gallon of water and drop a package of chewing tobacco into the water and allow to cool.

Once cooled, strain the solution and use it as a spray around the yard and in the cracks of your home.

Medicinal Use

Indians used tobacco as a pain reliever for ear aches, toothaches and as a poultice.  The leaves of  N. attenuata variety were mainly used for  the medical purposes.  In fact, currently there are test studies being performed to find a way to extract the pain relieving components of tobacco and remove the addictive ones to use for medical purposes. Note that the medical profession will not allow nicotine to be a treatment for medical issues or mental illnesses due to to the health risks; but they are studying the benefits of tobacco nonetheless.

To make a poultice, crush the leaves to place on the affected area to relieve medical issues.

Skin Rashes, Eczema and rheumatism – Indians used a poultice of tobacco leaves to put on skin inflammations to help soothe and relieve pain.  Although there is documented accounts that tobacco has pain relieving qualities, this author could not find any information on how tobacco soothed skin inflammation.

Toothaches – This poultice could also be placed in the mouth to alleviate pain from toothaches.

Rattlesnake and Insect Bites – Indians believed that the nicotine in the tobacco would help relieve pain as well as help draw out the poison and heal the snake wound.  After the poison had been sucked out, chewed leaves could be applied to cuts or bound on the bite with a bandage.  This method can also be used when stung by an insect.

 Colds – Indians would mix tobacco and leaves from the Desert Sage plant, or the root of Indian Balsam (or cough root), Leptotaenia Multifida.  They believed this would also help with asthma and tuberculosis.  They typically smoked the leaves to clear out nasal passages.

Toothpaste – In India, powdered tobacco is rubbed on the teeth for cleaning.  This method is still used in India and marketed in stores around the country.

Mental Illness

Although people with mental illness are twice as likely to smoke, there may be some benefits to their habit.  That being said, the medical profession does see some benefit to mentally ill patients using nicotine.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, those that suffer from mental disorders such as ADHD/ADD, schizophrenia and other disorders may experience positive effects from smoking.  Apparently, doses of nicotine have a short term normalization effect on the EEG (electrical activity in the brain).

Alzheimer and Dementia– Those that suffer from Alzheimer’s can also benefit from doses of nicotine.  According to studies, patients cognitive abilities slightly improved.


Sources For This Article:

Evil Weed May Benefit Rare Disorders

Early Uses of Indian Tobacco in California

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 27th, 2010
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10 Responses to It Ain’t Just For Smoking: Known But Beneficial Uses For Tobacco

  1. John says:

    I would also like to add,  recently discovered compounds in the waxy resin components of tobacco called cembranoids have (believe it or not) strong growth and tumor inhibiting properties and may be marketed as a new cancer treatment in the future.  The cembranoids also block behavioral sensitization to nicotine and are strongly neuroprotective.  
    Most people do not know that fresh tobacco ironically has these compounds, as well as being virtually free of carcinogenic nitrosamines which are actually formed during fermentation rather than in the growing plant.  In it’s natural state tobacco can be a wonder.  It’s still capable of being an addictive drug, but also offers great benefits only just beginning to be tapped into.  It is all in how we use the plant that makes the difference.
    Here is a link to the university researchers that discovered and patented the tobacco cembranoids:

  2. Zionprepper says:

    I would like to get your permission to use this article, with credit of course, and an upcoming book of mine. Please feel free to contact me through

  3. phyllis says:

    My mother (deceased) stopped smoking.  Promptly developed oral cancer.  After contacting a cancer information nurse, learned that in some cases, smoking actually retards the cancer growth.  My mother had radiation on her face/jaw and died 2-3 months later.  I would not recommend for someone to stop smoking after 50 years or more of doing so.

  4. kellykelly says:

    i think its amazing that the medical assciations wont allow tobacco to be medicinal due to health risks but they give us medicine with ten times the sides effects plus addiction issues so strong that they have to be weened off or continue the meds for life to keep from craving the cocaine the meth and what ever the perscriptions contain.  It’s time to wake u and go back to nature. This is not an advertisement for smoking as i am not a smoker but i am a naturalist and have found that we are lied to about a lot of things as far as our health goes………..  

    • Stephen says:

      Great website! I have been coming to this site for the past two months and it is the best resource for prepping. In regards to Kelly, you would be correct that you are lied to and of course by the government and the special interests. Why do you think the DEMS/GOP listen to big pharma but continue the failed drug policy against marijuana? It isn’t b/c pot is dangerous, it is b/c of the money they get from big pharma and the continued revolving door. Want another example? Adderall is a used to “treat” ADHD but causes other issues. This drug is a Scheduled II Controlled Substance just like Cocaine is! People need to wake up…But an amazing website. Please continue to update and inform your fellow citizens.

  5. SharpieHiLiter says:

    tobacco for rashes does really work

  6. survivalkit says:

    Tobacco or cigarettes can also be used as a pesticide.

  7. Crystal Turner says:

    My dad used to tear off a little bit of tobacco from a cigarette and chew it to mix it with saliva and would apply it to bee and wasp stings when I was a child. It would draw out the sting and help with the swelling.

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