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Re: tobacco

Poster: Dick Eney <dickeney@access.digex.net>

On Mon, 2 Jun 1997 mn13189@WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU wrote:

> I was doing a little light reading on the Bubonic Plauge over breakfast
> this morning and I came across a curious fact.  Apparantly, smoking
> tobacco was a common plague remedy during the 14th century, especially in
> Holland.  Now, I had always thought that tobacco did not come into use in
> Europe until after the age of Exploration in the late 15th and 16th
> centuries, when the plant was brought over from the Americas.  I assumed
> that if this was the case it would be a commodity available only to the
> upper crust, and made more widely available as time went on.  
> 	Was there some European form of tobacco that would have been used
> as a plague remedy in the 14th century?  (Please, no posts about Viking,
> Celtic, or any other pre-Columbian American settlements--that's not what
> I'm asking about, we've done it two or three times already, and I doubt
> any of these excursions caused a great tobacco trade).
> Aye,
> Eogan

I hadn't heard of _14th century AD_ tobacco.  I have heard of the nicotine
traces found in certain Egyptian mummies, and the professionals' best
guess (contamination was absolutely ruled out) was that some kind of
tobacco had existed but was extinct (as some other plants are known to
have been overgathered and made extinct within similar historical times). 
They haven't yet found any explanation for the cocaine traces in the
mummies.  I also read elsewhere (in one of the Science magazines and lost
the clipping, drat it) that one mummy was partly stuffed with whole
tobacco leaves. 

=Tamar the Gypsy (sharing account dickeney@access.digex.net)

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