For quite some time, people, tobacco industry and scientists are arguing about health benefits of tobacco. The Surgeon General may have ended this argument with a claim that all tobacco products may be hazardous to your health and that smoking is hazardous. This is a true and a well-grounded statement and will be explained in further text. This theory is held up by the ordinary and medical journals for more than obvious reasons. However, there some benefits of tobacco usage and they should also be mentioned in further analysis.
Tobacco is a poisonous plant and a part of the nightshade family named Solanaceae. The other members of this family are some plants used as food (like potato or tomato). There are 64 species of tobacco and it can be found in North and South America, Australia, Africa and some Pacific islands. Tobacco is a poisonous plant, as well as other members of nightshade family. These poisons (nicotine in tobacco) are used in medicine.
Archaeologists found many evidence of prehistoric usage of tobacco. The finding of pipes, as well as carbonized tobacco seeds led them to conclusion that usage of tobacco has roots long before initially thought. Tobacco was used as a simple medicine, until the beginning of 20th century, a social bond and as an ingredient in rituals for centuries. One of those rituals was known as a "Calumet" smoking (known as a "Peace Pipe) and performed by Indians in North America while sealing a covenant or a treaty.
The tobacco was introduced in Europe by sailors in 16th century. Since then, the usage of tobacco spread through entire Europe and the rest of the civilized world. Through centuries, tobacco was used as a decoration, spice, medicine, for chewing, smoking, inhaling; with a great contribution to a social life of many people and as a status symbol. Nowadays, the most-grown specie of tobacco is Nicotiana tabacum.
Great number of nightshades contain poison. These poisons are called alkaloids and they vary in toxicity. Alkaloid found in tobacco is called nicotine. Nicotine was first isolated in 1807. by Gaspare Cerioli and Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin. Some further studies isolated it, described its properties and gave it the name. Today, this substance is one of most studied drugs of all. The earliest studies about neurotransmitters were about effects of nicotine. Since then, these studies revealed that nicotine has a great role in increasing brain function and some of the latest researches may indicate that the Alzheimer's patients may have some benefits from nicotine usage.