Tree tobacco is native to South America but it is now widespread as an introduced species on other continents. It is a common roadside weed in the southwestern United States, and an invasive plant species in California native plant habitats.
The plant is used for a variety of medicinal purposes and smoked by Native American groups. It is being investigated for use as a biofuel.
The leaves of the Nicotiana glauca are large, alternate, petiole, ovate, and blue-green in color with that powdery coating, which are smoked for ritual purposes by Navajo Indians.
Nicotiana glauca is being studied to be used as a treatment for nicotine addiction since it does not contain nicotine, but analog alcaloides (anabasine [insecticide]) which seem to fool the body into thinking it has had a relief from the craving. In so doing, the body has been shown to bypass the withdraws common when stopping an opiod type addiction.
The nectar of the Nicotiana generates high levels of hydrogen peroxide, which protect flower parts from fungal infection.
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