A Few Words on the Pipe Leaf Plant and the Habit of Smoking a Pipe

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by Antoni Denado of the Allied League of Farmers in Luminii

To say that you'd like some pipe leaf is similar to saying that you'd like some tea. Tea is traditionally made from tea leaves, but there are many ways of preparing the leaves, and countless ways of blending them with other herbs (and indeed some types of 'tea' which do not included tea leaves at all). Pipe Leaf is much the same; while it is made from one leaf, there are many methods of preparation and many additives which can achieve a variety of blends.

The Pipe Leaf plant, also known as Andra, or Andra's Lace for its delicate and lacy flowers, grows wild throughout much of the Empire in rocky, dry soil. Because of its popularity, however, it is not uncommon to see it grown in home gardens or as a specialty crop by farmers. It can tolerate a wide variety of climates, though in cooler places its growing season is not as long and it is more challenging to grow. Extreme heat may also be problematic, as it could cause the plant to go to seed too quickly.

When dried and smoked in a pipe (or when chewed -- a less common use), Pipe Leaf acts as a mild stimulant, not unlike having a cup or two of strong tea. However, many who use it regularly believe that it also has a mild relaxing effect as well. Smoking or chewing Pipe Leaf (by itself) in quantity will not produce intoxication, though it may make the user feel somewhat anxious.

Whether it is grown at home or on a farm, connoisseurs of Pipe Leaf consider the preparation of the leaves and the subsequent blending of them and other ingredients to be a form of art. There are different drying methods, and some claim that leaves harvested in different areas at different times of year can have a markedly different taste.

It is very common for dried Pipe Leaf to be blended with herbs and spices to give it additional flavor and aroma. Hua-hsian and Fragrant Athna are just some of the herbs that are commonly dried and added to enrich the scent and taste of the smoke.

It is also not unheard of for various medicinal herbs to be dried and added to Pipe Leaf for added benefit or 'medicinal' effect. Most commonly, dried herbs such as Cindolyn (which adds flavor as well) and Honeyglove can be added in small quantities to help produce a mild sedative effect. Dried seeds from the Knight's Courage plant can be crushed and added to the Pipe Leaf to supposedly improve mood and give energy.

A much lesser-known additive, and a potentially dangerous one, is Juniper-sage. When the leaves from this Thermadorian plant are distilled and steeped, the liquid that remains can be added to Pipe Leaf in small quantities for a hallucinogenic effect. A specific technique must be used, however, and that is a well-guarded secret amongst the Thermadorian tribes.

Smoking Pipe Leaf by itself is not physically addicting. However, many users report a kind of psychological addiction that is difficult to break. Having a pipe at the end of the day, or after dinner, becomes a sort of habit. When medicinal herbs are added to Pipe Leaf, however, smokers could become addicted over time to that additive, both physically and psychologically.

Pipe leaf is not toxic. However, the smoke can have harmful effects over time.

It should be noted that smokers of Pipe Leaf rarely smoke all day long, unless they have become addicted to an herb that was blended in. Most smokers tend to enjoy a pipe just once or a few times a day.


Note: This manuscript was donated by Ysanne Solaste (10/23/2005)

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