Guide To Herbs For Smoking And Vaping
People have been smoking herbs for thousands of years. In America, smoking herbs goes back generations. So when we talk about an herbal vaporizer, people often assume that means marijuana. But vaporizers are about much more than that. Dry herb vaporizers can be used for a huge variety of herbs. Instead of smoking herbs, vaporize! This guide to herbs for smoking and vaping will provide a base of knowledge for better understanding herbal vaping.
There are a variety of plants and herbs that can be smoked. Native Americans have traditionally used a variety herbs for smoking. Some of those traditions caught on with settlers. While not as common as using tobacco, smoking herbs is probably more common than you might think. In fact, astronaut John Glenn is reported to have occasionally smoked bearberry. While people can smoke a variety of herbs, a better question might be should they? And that’s where vaporizers come into play. Thanks to new technologies, smoking herbs could soon be obsolete. And for good reason.
Anytime you set something on fire and burn it, you unleash a cascade of vicious chemical reactions that generate untold legions of chemicals and toxins. As a result, smoking an otherwise harmless, untreated herb still exposes the smoker to the risks of combustion. With a vaporizer, there is no combustion. Instead, the active ingredients of any herbal blend are vaporized. The other benefit of vaporizing vs. smoking herbs is that the flavor is stronger. The guide to herbs for smoking and vaping will cover a number of herbs and compare vaporization to smoking. This guide will also direct readers to the best vaporizers. Let’s start.
Vaping and Diffusing Herbs and Oils
Essential oils and vaporizer diffusers can now be found in every major retailer. Indeed herbal products are becoming incredibly popular. Vaping and diffusing herbs and essential oils is touted by many to have health benefits. The Mayo Clinic cites emerging studies that show aromatherapy may be effective for a number of ailments. Studies are ongoing and consumers should be aware that herbal remedies are not regulated by the FDA. No aromatherapy or herbal blend should be used as a sole treatment for any particular disease or condition.
Benefits of Vaporizing Herbs Vs Smoking
The most obvious advantage of vaporizing herbs instead of smoking them is the elimination of combustion. We have covered that thoroughly and the reasoning is inarguable. But there are other advantages as well. First, with vaporization the vapor is comprised largely of the active ingredients of any given herb. In other words, vaping is more potent. Smoking herbs destroys or chemically alters herbal ingredients.
Vaping herbs is more efficient than smoking. When smoking, the process of combustion is uncontrollable. The combustion continues unabated so long as the ember is burning. Much of the herb is destroyed and wafts away during the burning process. With a vaporizer, the vapor produced is contained in the heating chamber. Vaporization occurs on cue when you push the fire button. When you release the fire button, the vaporization process stops until you press the fire button again. Of course this also depends on the type of vaporizer that is being used.
We must be clear that all vaporizers are not created equally. Cheap, low quality vaporizers can directly expose the herbal material to a red not heating element. The result of that process is burning. Burning is the opposite of what a vaporizer should do. The best quality vaporizers do not burn the materials. It is very important to use a quality vaporizer.
Types Of Herbs Used For Smoking
What types of herbs are used for smoking? There are a large number of plants and herbs that are used for smoking. Obviously, plants that are unsuitable for consumption are generally also unsuitable for smoking or vaping. For example, poison ivy is not on the list of herbs that can be smoked! We have compiled a list of ten plants and herbs commonly used for smoking. All of these herbs can also be vaporized.
Many of the plants listed are not well known. Others will be quite familiar.
Mullein was first brought to America by settlers in the 1800s. It goes by many other names such as Beggar’s Blanket, Blanket Leaf, Aaron’s Rod, American Mullein, and a few others. It is part of the snapdragon family of plants and is very easy to grow. Mullein is thought to have many uses including as a lung tonic to help with pulmonary infections.
Mullein has flat, fuzzy leaves. In the summer, spikes of yellow flowers grow about twelve inches in height from the base of the plant. Both the flowers and leaves have been used in herbal formulas for generations. The mucilege, sticky stuff, which some research has shown is anti-viral, soothes membranes, and anti inflammatory.
The leaves of the Mullein have a slightly bitter taste and the flowers have a slightly sweet taste. The emphasis is on slight. Because overall Mullein has no strong flavor. In fact, because it has very little flavor people often use Mullein as a filler for other herbal smoking blends. For example, they may use 50% Mullein with 50% Mint for a minty flavor. If you use 100% mint, the sensation could be overpowering. Mullein is recognized as the best filler for herbal smoking formulas.
Using Mullein as part of an herbal blend for vaping would also be a good idea. Remember, vaping is more potent than smoking. Having a filler like Mullein to counterbalance the very strong flavors of Mint, Lemongrass and other herbs will enhance the overall enjoyment.
Bearberry is considered a dwarf shrub. It grows low to the ground and typically does not grow to any higher than six inches. As mentioned earlier, John Glenn is reported to have occasionally smoked Bearberry. Native American tribes smoked bearberry for ailments ranging from skin conditions to the flu. Some of the tribes that smoked bearberry include the Chippewa, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Pawnee, and Navajo.
The plant has leathery, tough leaves. It also sprouts small flowers and red berries. Some bearberries are safe to eat and smoke. But not all.
- Note: Bearberry plants with green or white berries must be avoided. And only 50% of the red berries are safe. Ultimately, it is best to avoid bearberries for vaping or eating. It is difficult to identify the safe strains from the bad ones. Play it safe and avoid bearberries!
Lavender can be smoked, vaped, smelled, brewed in a tea, eaten and more. Yes lavender is truly a remarkable plant. And on top of that, it is a beautiful plant. Known for attractive purple flowers, lavender is easily recognizable. The plant itself can grow to be up to two feet tall. It is a very hearty plant that can grow in a variety of conditions. The fragrant aroma of lavender makes it one of the most popular aromatherapy and herbal plants.
Coltsfoot is a plant found in Europe and parts of Asia. It looks similar to a dandelion flower. The scientific name of coltsfoot is tussilago farfara. Tussilago is derived from the Latin word tussis, which means to cough. Coltsfoot has long been used as a cough suppressant and aid for the upper respiratory tract. People have actually smoked coltsfoot to help with coughs, sore throats, and colds.
Of course there is a bit of catch 22 in smoking something to help with a cough. Of course the byproducts of combustion will only make a cough worse. As a result, smoking coltsfoot would be more of a one step forward and two steps back approach. On the other hand, a vaporizer does not involve combustion.
Mint is a very popular and well-known flavor. Additionally, mint is very easy to grow and is one of the most popular herbs used for a number of applications. You will find mint in drinks, foods, and air fresheners. The smell is invigorating. Many herbal smokers use mint in conjunction with other herbs because mint is an excellent flavor disguiser. By that we mean that mint flavor is often used to cover up for something that tastes bad. Like medicines for example.
Mint herbs can be vaped. Or mint herbs can be used in a vaporizer for aromatherapy. Mint essential oil in a diffuser can help open clogged passageways when suffering from cold or allergy symptoms. In other words, mint is a very versatile herb. They are a terrific topper for a well-made mojito!
Skullcap is a relatively rare plant that has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for centuries. A member of the mint family, skullcaps grow to about three feet in height. The green leaves give way to a pointed peak of flowers at the top of the plant. The pointed shape resembles an ancient type pith helmet. Hence the name skullcap.
Ancient Chinese medicine used skullcaps to clear away evil. It was also used for inflammation, rabies, and hepatitis. The flavor is bitter and it does not produce much aroma. Skullcap is best utilized in conjunction with other herbs. Also, note that skullcap is expensive. You might want to stick to mint!
Native Americans have smoked sage long before Europeans arrived in North America. Usually, Native Americans would use sage in smudging ceremonies. It was believed that sage purified the space. And they may have been right because some studies have shown that sage has antimicrobial properties. However, for the most part sage was used for spiritual and ceremonial purposes.
Sage has a pungent though pleasant aroma. Smoking sage is said to help with digestive issues, respirator issues, and depression. Vaporizing sage does not produce quite the same smell as burning. But it is similar and there is no combustion.
If you have ever had trouble sleeping then there is no doubt that someone has recommended trying chamomile tea. That is because chamomile has been used as a sleep aid, and to help relax, for thousands of years. In terms of smoking herbs, chamomile is one of the most popular. But once again, anytime an herb is set on fire, the combustion does generate unwanted, toxic byproducts. Using a vaporizer for chamomile makes a lot more sense that setting it on fire and sucking in smoke fumes!
Damiana is a shrub that grows in Mexico, the West Indies, and Central America. The plant has small, serrated leaves and attractive yellow flowers. The leaves are used for herbal smoking. The reported benefit of damiana is that of an aphrodisiac. It is said to improve desire and sexual performance.
Lemongrass is a grassy plant that smells like lemon. Hence the name! For people who like to smoke herbs other than tobacco, they often use lemongrass as part of a blend to get the citrus, lemon flavor. As for specific effects, it is said that lemongrass can lead to lucid dreams or a sense of euphoria. Don’t use too much of it! Vaping or smoking lemongrass as part of a blend is common. So is using lemongrass in cooking!
The above list of ten herbs that can be smoked is just a sample. There are many other herbs that are used for smoking. Using a vaporizer instead of smoking herbs is how you get the ingredients without the smoke. Moreover, keep in mind that vaping or smoking herbs is most often done in blends.
Examples Of Herb Blends For Smoking or Vaping
- Damiana, Mint Leaf, Orange Blossom – used as a “love potion”. Also used to be soothing and relaxing.
- Lavender and Chamomile – used to relax after a long day.
- Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Clove. Thyme – this formula is used for a cold.
These are just three examples of specific formulas. There is no research to back up whether or not they work! And it is interesting that there are many herbal smoking recipes that are supposed to help fight cold symptoms. Interesting because smoking is clearly bad for a cold! But with a vaporizer it might be a different story.
Keep in mind that any individual looking to deal with a health condition should first consult with a doctor.
Using A Vaporizer For Smoking
We must also mention that many adult tobacco consumers indeed use a vaporizer for smoking. Specifically, organic untreated tobacco. Moist tobacco can be used in a vaporizer. In fact, the FDA is looking at heat not burn technology as a means of reducing tobacco harm. By heat not burn the essentially mean vaporize.
Herbal Vaping Health Benefits
This list of herbs and their traditional uses is not intended to be a tool to diagnose or cure any condition. We are simply providing examples of the available information. However, with the surge of essential oils and herbs in the market, Western Medicine is finally keeping an open mind toward the possibilities of using herbs to improve human health. Serious research is underway and that is excellent. We look forward to learning more about the potential of herbs going forward.
Vaping herbs is likewise gaining more and more credibility. Today, hospitals in Israel use vaporizers as medical delivery systems. The lungs are very effective absorbing a number of compounds. In fact, in some cases inhalation is more effective than ingestion. When a person ingests something, the compound must survive the arduous and harsh process of digestion. There are innumerable factors that can impact how much of the active ingredients actually make it into the bloodstream. Vaporization is a means of bypassing the gut and going straight into the bloodstream.
Inhaling medicine is something very familiar to asthma patients. Using vaporized medicine from an inhaler is nothing new. But what is newer is the idea of using vaporization for other medications. Has the emergence of vaporizer technology opened the eyes of researchers to the possibilities?
Affrezza is a medication designed to deliver insulin via the lungs. The insulin is rapidly absorbed and ideal for diabetics to take before a meal. Inhalation may be a new means of delivering a number of medications because of the rapid absorption.
That does not mean that every compound is better when vaporized. It always depends of the specific compound you want the body to absorb. The lungs cannot absorb calories or protein. Some things must be ingested orally.
The main benefit of herbal vaping is the avoidance of combustion. Smoking herbs exposes the user to the risks imposed by the toxic byproducts of combustion. Vaporization is a more controlled and efficient means of accessing the active ingredients of plants and herbs.
Best Vaporizer Temperature For Herbs
The best temperature for vaporizing herbs is 280 F to 380 F. If using a vaporizer that allows the user to set the temperature, keep this rule of thumb in mind. The more powerful a flavor, the lower temperature required to vaporize. That is not a hard and fast rule, but rather a baseline.
Can I Use Essential Oils In A Vape Pen?
Vape pens for oils and dabs are designed to vaporize concentrated oils and waxy solids such as dabs. However, essential oils are super concentrated. Combining the potency of essential oils with the potency of an oil pen would not likely be a pleasant experience. Particularly when we are talking about direct inhalation. Using a vaporizer to generate an aroma would be another matter. Overall, an essential oil diffuser used with distilled water is the best way to use essential oils.
Is Smoking Herbs Good For You?
No one knows better than vapers that smoking is not good. Period. At Mig Vapor, our business began because we wanted an alternative to smoking. Smoking is starting something on fire and breathing in the fumes. Really? By the 21st century, we should do better than starting things on fire as a means of getting at the active ingredients that we want.
Even if a beneficial herb is organic, untreated, and grown in the finest soil in the world, anytime there is combustion there will be unwanted, toxic byproducts. We cannot recommend smoking anything. The process of combustion is a violent process of rapid chemical reactions. Burning something changes what it is. Although many people swear by the benefits of smoking herbs, we cannot recommend it.
A vaporizer allows the user to access the ingredients of herbs and bypass combustion.
Preparing Herbs For Vaping
The first step to smoking or vaping herbs is to pick and wash them. After that, let them dry out for two or three days. Different herbs will dry at different rates depending on moisture content. The trick is not to let the plant material to go completely dry, rather just dry enough that they can be crumbled into smaller fragments.
Once the herbs are dried, use a grinder to break down the herbal material. An herb grinder will break down the herbal material to a point where the vaporizer can be more efficient vaporizing the fragments and extracting the ingredients.
The Mig Vapor Z Shredder Grinder is perfect for getting the job done. Simply drop in your materials, put the cap on, and twist. Once the material is broken down to small, tobacco size fragments, that’s all that is required. Don’t make the herbs into a powder.
Once ground, take a pinch and put into the heating chamber of a vaporizer. Fill the heating chamber about three quarters full. It should not be too tightly pack nor should it be too loose. Start vaporizing herbs at a lower temperature setting. Increase to suit individual taste.
Best Vaporizers For Herbs
Mig Vapor makes the best vaporizers for herbs. The reason is that we use cutting edge technology. Our vaporizers may not have useless bells and whistles like changing colors or playing music, but we make vaporizers for grown ups who want something the works. Our heating technology distributes heat evenly and efficiently. The end result is vaporization, not burning. That is exactly how a vaporizer should work.
The Mig Vapor Dray is a handheld vaporizer that delivers precision temperature control. The 1800 mAh battery will last for several vaping sessions. Users can select the exact vaporization temperature. You won’t find a better portable vaporizer.
The Mig Vapor Herb-e is the most efficient and impressive compact and portable vaporizer you will find. The Herb-e easily slips into a pocket or purse. The device is easy to load and offers multiple temperature settings to customize the vapor production.
Vaping or Smoking Herbs Is Not Just About Weed!
Unfortunately, there is a perception that vaporizers and weed grinders are used only for medical or recreational marijuana. That perception is just not true. While it is true that major hospitals around the world do use vaporizers to administer medical marijuana, herbal vaping is a much deeper and much more storied tradition.