Friday, October 14, 2016

Prairie Traveler Tobacco

The Prairie Traveler ©1859

In this destitute condition we found a substitute for tobacco in the bark of the red willow, which grows upon many of the mountam streams in that vicinity. The outer bark is first removed with a knife, after which the inner bark is scraped up into ridges around the sticks, and held in the fire until it is thoroughly roasted, when it is taken off the stick, pulverized in the hand, and is ready for smoking. It has the narcotic properties of the tobacco, and is quite agreeable to the taste and smell. The sumach leaf is also used by the Indians in the same way, and has a similar taste to the willow bark.

The red willow bark is even sold today. However when I looked up the sumach leaf I found so many varieties I couldn't narrow down which one he might have been speaking about. Obviously from the other text in the book he was in the rockies at this time. If anyone else has information on this leaf by all means post a comment. Thanks.

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