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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Nicotiana rustica
Alternative Names: Wild Tobacco, Mapacho

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Nicotiana rustica
Nicotiana rustica


  • Annual
  • Aztek tobacco (also called Wild Tobacco) is a rainforest plant from South America.
  • There it is called mapacho and often used for entheogenic purposes by South American shamans.
  • It was cultivated in the Americas well before the arrival of the Europeans and is now sometimes grown in many other parts of the world including Europe, India and China.
  • This variety is a very potent variety, containing up to nine times more nicotine than common species of Nicotiana such as Common tobacco Nicotiana tabacum.
  • The leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas N. tabacum leaves contain about 1 to 3%.
  • Today, Aztek tobacco is only cultivated in small quantities by certain Native American tribes.
  • Aztec tobacco is an erect, half hardy annual with a shallow but extensive root system.
  • It is tolerant of a wide range of pH levels and will grow in full sun to partial shade.

Parts Used

  • Aztek tobacco can be cut when the flowers are nearly to fully open.
  • The whole plant remains effective for 6 months after drying.
  • Seed remains viable for over 10 years when stored dry and cool.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Aztek tobacco can be used externally as a poultice and a wash in the treatment of rheumatic swelling, skin diseases and scorpion stings.
  • The leaves can be dried and then chewed as a stimulant or made into snuff for sniffing, or to smoke.
  • Aztek tobacco has a harsher flavour because it contains more nicotine (between 4 - 9.5%) than Nicotiana tabacum (the species normally cultivated for cigarettes).
  • Some countries in the East mix it with Common tobacco Nicotiana tabacum.
  • Tobacco is used extensively for recreational purposes - please keep in mind that it can causes pathological conditions.
  • All parts of the plant contain nicotine which is a strong narcotic.

Other Uses

  • The high concentration of nicotine in its leaves make it useful for producing pesticides.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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