THE Diſcovery and Conqueſt of America by the Spaniards, enrich'd Europe with not only vaſt Treaſures of Gold and Silver, but alſo diſcover'd and furniſh'd us with (perhaps) [Page 4] much more uſeful and valuable things; to wit, many excellent Specific Remedies, for the Cure of Diſeaſes, and Preſervation of Health.
Nature had been ſo kind to the poor ignorant Natives of that Country, as to direct them to, and Experience taught them, the peculiar Virtues of many Herbs, Roots, Plants, &c. growing amongſt them, and how to apply them.
The Learned Phyſicians in no Age had ever the Knowledge of a more celebrated Specific Remedy for any Diſtemper, than we in this laſt have found the Peruvian Bark to be, for a never failing and ſudden Cure of Intermitting Fevers and Agues: And to which alone, ſince it has been generally us'd, [Page 5] more Lives have been owing, than to any other Medicine whatſoever. So wonderful is it in its Operation, that it looks almoſt like a Charm.
But above all, their Tobacco Plant deſerves to be plac'd in the firſt Rank, for its many amicable Qualities and Uſefulneſs to Human Bodies, for the Cure of ſeveral Diſtempers, Preſervation of Health, and Prolongation of Life. Beſides the agreeable Diverſion and Entertainment it affords to thoſe that uſe it. The Indians by their plentiful Smoaking and Chawing it, find great Relief for their inward Diſeaſes: And in caſe of Wounds or Ulcers, &c. they apply the Leaf, which eats away the proud Fleſh, and inclines the Sore to heal.[Page 6]
It is an Opiat to thoſe that are in Pain, makes the Poor forget their Neceſſities, ſupplies Food to the Hungry, making them bear the Want of it eaſily. It is well known how Armies have been enabled to undergo tedious Marches, and Seamen long Voyages, with hardly any other Proviſion, when well ſupply'd with this.
It is endued with a Salutiferous Sulphur, and hath alſo a Narcotic compoſing Quality, which gives Eaſe, Refreſhment, and Tranquility both to the Body and Mind Inſomuch that it may ſeem to reſemble the Famous Herb mentioned by Homer, that had the Power to turn Sadneſs into Joy.[Page 7]
The frequent Smoaking of Tobacco diſcharges Phlegm and other watry peccant Humours out of the Glands. It removes Obſtructions in the Veſſels, by diſſolving the coagulated Juices: It promotes a due Circulation of the Blood, and a free Perſpiration, thro' the Pores of the whole Body, ſo neceſſary to Health. It not only purges the Head, but with very many, operates downwards, rendring the Bowels ſoluble, whereby coſtive Conſtitutions find great Benefit.
It deſtroys Worms in Human Bodies, and is likewiſe by Experience found to be a Remedy againſt Leproſies, Scurvy and Itch. To which the Poor (heretofore) inhabiting the Sea-Coaſt of this Iſland, were by their Eating too much Fiſh [Page 8] very much ſubject: But ſince the ſmoaking of Tobacco came to be much in Uſe among them, they have been totally free from.
Chawing Tobacco is by many prefer'd to Smoaking it, as being a greater Drain, and communicating its Virtues and Warmth more effectually to the Stomach and Brain; preſerving the Teeth, killing the Worms, and altering the Juices that occaſion Pain and Rottenneſs in them
By the Chawing it, the Glands of the Jaws, Throat and Veſſels being continually mov'd and compreſs'd, diſmiſs or ſpue out great Quantities of Rheum, the Cauſe of Defluctions, Coughs, Catarrhs and Conſumptions. It communicates alſo a certain Impulſe to the [Page 9] Membranes of the Lungs, which helps their Diſcharge of vicious Phlegm and other Matter, apt to breed Ulcers, Aſtma's, and other Diſtempers. It's obſerv'd by many, That thoſe who from their Youth have been accuſtom'd to chaw Tobacco, are never afflicted (or at leaſt very rarely) with Gout, Rheumatiſms, Scurvy, or Tooth-ach, which proceeds from an Acrimony in the Blood or Juices, that this Plant wonderfully helps to correct and ſweeten.
As Smoaking and Chawing of Tobacco, by Experience, is found to have theſe good Effects; ſo the uſing it by way of Snuff is beneficial, as well as diverting, to many Perſons, (eſpecially to ſuch as have weak Eyes, affected with too much Moiſture.) By its gently [Page 10] pricking and ſtimulating the Membranes, it cauſes Sneezing or Contractions, whereby the Glands and Channels, like ſo many ſqueez'd Sponges, diſmiſs their Seroſities and Filth. And as it ſerves for a Drain to exceſſive Moiſture in the Eyes or Head; ſo when a ſufficient Moiſture is wanting, its quick and noble Spirit opens the Veſſels that afford Supplies thereto; and pure Snuff put into the Corners of the Eyes is found to alter and deſtroy the ſharp Humours that occaſion Bloodſhot, &c. So beneficial is this Powder for the Preſervation of that moſt dear and valuable of all our Senſes, the Sight.
But Care ought to be taken, That the Snuff made uſe of in all theſe Caſes be made of only pure clean Tobacco Leaves, without [Page 11] any Mixture of Stiptic Earths, or Rotten Wood, which Common Snuff-makers put thereto to deaden, colour, or elſe encreaſe the Quantity.
But its moſt uſeful and excellent Quality is ſtill to be mention'd; to wit, That it is the moſt ſovereign Antidote and greateſt Preſervative againſt the Plague, or other peſtilential Diſeaſes; the Small-Pox, or other Infection.
The Turks and others, among whom the Plague often rages, have recourſe to nothing more effectual to avoid it, than conſtant Smoaking of [Page 12] Tobacco, Chawing, Snuffing, and burning it in their Rooms and Streets; and when the Peſtilence is among them, many ſtuff their Bedding and Pillows with it. The Indians where it grows hang it about their Necks, and are ſeldom ſeen without a Pipe in their Hand.
When the Plague raged ſo violently in London, in the Year 1665. it's well known to many now living, how very few it ſeized of thoſe that were conſtant Smoakers and Chawers of Tobacco: And what was more remarkable, not any of thoſe poor People, whoſe Employment was to manufacture, roll, or cut Tobacco, of which there were many Hundreds at work in ſeveral Houſes within this City, were infected.[Page 13]
By theſe and many other Inſtances which might be given, it is evident, that Tobacco wonderfully helps to purify the Air, and prevent Infection; ſo that it were very much to be wiſh'd, that in time of Peſtilence and other infectious Diſtempers, the Rich would be ſo charitable, as to ſupply the Poor with great Stores of this moſt uſeful Drug, and ſovereign Antidote in ſuch Caſes; which may be a Means to put a ſtop to the raging of ſuch Diſtempers, and preſerve whole Families.
But it is to be noted, there are many ſorts and degrees of Tobacco Plants; and thoſe highly preferable, which grow in Climates and Soils natural to them, having a [Page 14] light Earth and warm Sun, which gives that noble Flavour, Strength and Virtue to that Tobacco produc'd in Brazil, New-Spain, Virginia and Mary-land: Whereas that Plant raiſed in Northern Regions (where Tobacco-Plantations have of late mightily increaſed) has not only a faint, earthy Taſte and Smell, but is alſo very unwholſom and pernicious to thoſe that uſe it. Inſtead of preſerving, it deſtroys Health; which though not ſo immediately and ſenſibly felt by poor People of ſtrong and robuſt Conſtitutions, yet it is certainly ſo much Poiſon ſuck'd into their Veins, which by Degrees conſumes the Body, and often immediately cauſes Vomitings, Vertigo's and Convulſions.[Page 15]