Smoking Blends

January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s been a while, but I’ve been keeping busy even though the growing things around me are dormant for the cold winter months. I’ve been experimenting with smoking blends and though I’d share a few ideas…

Plants I’ve been enjoying as the base to my blends, or the main physical components, are skullcap, red raspberry leaf, blackberry leaf, and western coltsfoot. Raspberry and blackberry are expecially nice because they grow abundantly in my area and if you rub the dried leaf, they get nice and fluffy. Western coltsfoot is also wonderful because it’s a lung tonic (not that I really consider smoking medicinal) and also tends to be pretty fluffy and neutral in taste.

Flavor components are the fun part and I encourage you to experiment with different combinations. Plants I’ve been enjoying that work well in larger quantities for flavor include redroot leaf (my favorite), vanilla leaf, tobacco, balsam root leaf, pearly everlasting flower, and sunflower leaf (inspired by my friend Wes). In smaller quantities, some roots and barks are very nice to smoke. They usually need to be ground up or shredded. Willow bark, calamus root, and osha root are my favorites. Elephant’s head is also wonderful in a smoking blend and can be incredibly relaxing, as can mugwort if you’re not too sensitive to it. It tastes delicious, but makes me a bit loopy, personally.

A note on flavor: as an ex-tobacco smoker, I really hate smoking blends that are super light and floral, usually they are mullein or sage-based and have been sitting in a jar on the shelf in the herb shop in direct sunlight for months. Ick. I like my smokes to be rich and a little bit harsh. I’ve noticed that the plants that lend the most body to a blend tend to be astringent, which is probably why ceanothus is my favorite flavor at the moment. If you make a blend and it’s too harsh, try cutting back some of the astringent components and, conversely, if your blend feels like you’re smoking fluffy clouds, try some harsher astringents.

Here’s a sample recipe:

2 parts skullcap

2 parts raspberry leaf

2 parts redroot leaf

1 part shredded willow

1 part balsam root leaf

a dash of tobacco

a dash of elephant’s head

Yum.

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