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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - March 23, 2013

From: Fairfield, CA
Region: California
Topic: Problem Plants
Title: Smoking mint instead of tobacco from Fairfield CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I realize this is a stupid question, but i am a little curious about this. Anyway I heard more people are smoking mint leaves to help cure their addiction to tobacco and i was wondering if it is safe? I know that smoking in general is bad, but i want to know if there is anything specific in mint that can harm the lungs.

ANSWER:

There are several reasons why this question falls out of Mr. Smarty Plant's expertise. Our focus is on the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally. There are170 plants in the Lamiaceae (mint) family native to North America, but you are probably asking about the mints native to the Meditteranean area of Europe, widely used for fragrance and food flavoring. So that's the first reason we wouldn't be able to answer questions about smoking it. The second reason is that our first name is "Smarty," which precludes our making any comment at all on the wisdom of sticking any burning plant in our mouth and inhaling the fumes.

 

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