Just to clear things up from the start: by smoke,I don't mean marijuana or tobacco.
People have sometimes assumed from my pipe or tobacco papers that I was a "smoker" of either of these substances. My mom actually burnt a very lovely hand carved wooden pipe I used for catnip; yes, you read correctly, catnip.
One of the down-sides to tobacco substitutes or herbal smoke, is that others will assume I am smoking something illegal. This is something I always keep in mind. It is prudent to keep all herbs well labeled and I understand that if I get pulled over in my car with mullein cigarettes, I could end up in jail until it gets sorted out. I've personally never had this happen, but it could, and it is good to keep in mind.
I actually smoke herbs because I like smoking, find it relaxing, but don't want the problems of being addicted to tobacco. I've tried many a time to get friends off of cigarettes and onto mullein or something more soothing to their lungs, but often times once someone is truly addicted to cigarettes, they are not helped by the substitute, it just makes them crave tobacco worse--or at least that's what I'm told.
I am one of those strange individuals who occasionally use tobacco, but have never become addicted. One of the reasons I am not addicted is because I don't smoke it very much. I usually buy about one pack a year (and no I don't bum cigs from others either). It is impossible for most people to believe. Often times when I want to smoke something it is in the car, and I will roll up some mullein and take it with me. It helps keep me occupied on long trips. Sitting by a fire, or just in your home to smoke and think, has been a part of pretty much everyone's culture for generations. If you like to smoke, it is a shame to have to quit, just because you don't want the problems associated with tobacco. There are so many alternatives!
Some of my favorites:
Mother's Wort leaves (kinda taste like tobacco but relaxing)
Mullein, lavender and rose petal
mullein, lavender, rose petal and mint
blue vervain, lavender and mullein (Note:Vervain may cause one to be sleepy)
If I am going to try any herb, I do this in my own home, where I can safely gauge the affects before I venture out. Herbs are usually pretty mild in the way they act, but every person, and every herb, is different.
It has been many years since I tried mother's wort, so I cannot say anymore if it would make me sleepy, my guess is that it would, depending on the amount, it should be relaxing, based off the herbs other uses.
I don't personally notice much of anything with catnip, it has a pleasant, slightly minty (it is a part of the mint family) taste, and sometimes I notice that my mood seems elevated and I am slightly relaxed. Some people have noted that their tongue feels a bit numb after smoking it, I don't personally notice anything.
Mullein is good to mix with lots of stuff, it has a pleasant taste, is easy to gather and identify in the wild, and is easy on the lungs. Supposedly used by Native Americans for lung infections, it is about as soothing a smoke as one can get while still inhaling smoke.
Blue vervain is harsh on the lungs and has to be mixed with something as a result, but I find it to be quite relaxing, I find it difficult to get up afterwards and want to be very active. The herb is a muscle relaxant, and I find that to be true of smoking it as well. However, I find the taste of this herb abhorrent in tea (I suppose the small amount you'd take in a tincture would be fine) and I'd rather just smoke it to get many of those affects. (Blue vervain used to be used as an herb for the plague according to lore, I used the tea this year after a particularly nasty adeno-virus and immediately noticed my lungs functioning better--it was quite a relief. Smoking it may help for this virus as well, but my lung function was already compromised, so I did not want to smoke anything for weeks) The store-bought herb is usually mixed with a lot of stems, and this may be the problem with how harsh the smoke is, purchasing all leaves, or collecting it myself would be ideal. The others I always gather or grow myself, I honestly can't imagine smoking most of the catnip I see available in the store, it also has tons of stems that would probably be very unpleasant to smoke--fine for you cat though =).
Gathering herbs ones-self has a modern term "wildcrafting". I certainly enjoy it, but I also carefully do my research, and when possible, take along someone who knows the herb I'm looking for and can positively identify it.
Anyhow, I cannot suggest to anyone that they smoke or take herbs for all sorts of reasons. To each their own, and to each their own responsibility.
love and light,