Picietl-tobacco: Divine plant of the Aztecs
The role of tobacco in religion, social life and medicine of the Nahuas
Among the many pre-Columbian civilizations of America the tobacco plant was highly valued, but there were few civilizations where the plant was so highly appreciated as among the Aztecs in Mexico. Here the plant was called picietl, and it played a major role in many aspects of Aztec society, including medicine, religion and magic. The smoking of picietl-tobacco for recreational purposes, however, was strongly restricted and limited to members of the elite, because the use of the smoking tube, which was the device to smoke picietl, was a privilege of the upper social classes. The book dedicates attention to a number of aspects of the use of picietl among the Aztecs. It was one of the most important and frequently used medicines against a number of ailments with stress on the treatment of pain. The cure of some diseases had a magic religious background.
The Aztecs considered picietl as a divine plant that was invoked in medical incantations and at the same time applied to the body. Among the religious-magic applications was further its use in divination, because the picietl possessed psychoactive properties. The difference in attitude and applications of picietl-tobacco among the Aztecs and that of tobacco in modern times is discussed.
ISBN 9783862889907 (Hardbound). LINCOM Studies in Anthropology 22. 260pp. 2019.