The ritualistic use of plant smoke stretches back to the prehistorical era and is still used, the world over, as a way of ‘cleansing’ the spirit. Now modern scientific research reveals that the practice may actually have life-saving implications by purifying the air of harmful bacteria.
This study represents a comprehensive analysis and scientific validation of our ancient knowledge about the effect of ethnopharmacological aspects of natural products’ smoke for therapy and health care on airborne bacterial composition and dynamics, using the Biolog microplate panels and Microlog database. We have observed that 1h treatment of medicinal smoke emanated by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs (havan sámagri=material used in oblation to fire all over India), on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 min and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24h in the closed room. Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonas syringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens in the open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment. We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.
This has been known for a very long time. Fumigation with wood smoke has long been used as an insecticide, a bactericide, and a fungicide.
Even birds use cigarettes and cigarette smoke for these purposes.
I can only suppose that our modern capnophobic medical profession has simply forgotten all about the practice of fumigation, or – more likely – suppressed the knowledge.
Now that we no longer have these benefits of smoke, one can only suppose that insects and bacteria and fungi can multiply freely in our ‘smoke-free’ hospitals, and that some terrible epidemic will ensue.