HISTORY OF HUMAN USAGE

Humulus lupulus is the cultivated hop, from the family Cannabinaceae. Hops are the dried female flowers of a vine-like plant, and are the ingredient that gives beer its bitterness. Though not essential to brewing, hops impart flavor and aroma and act as a preservative. Beer-making, one of the oldest processes known to man, has been dated back to 6000 B.C. in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Long before man could write, he depicted the brewing process on stone tablets. Beer-making probably originated at about the same time as bread-making, for many of the grains which were used to make bread were easily transformed into beer-like drinks through the natural process of fermentation.

Primitive cultivation of tobacco consisted of saving seeds from the previous yea’s crop and sowing them in a cleared area. Plants were harvested at maturity and the leaves were dried in the sun. In contrast, modern tobacco farming is quite elaborate and employs various cultivation techniques for the many different cultivars and types of tobacco produced. During the curing process, the moisture content in the leaves is reduced from about 80 percent to 20 percent. Starches are converted to sugars, and some proteins are broken down enzymatically. Slow drying permits fermentation to take place but prevents the growth of molds and fungi.

Curing can be done by circulating air or by smoking. Occasionally, bundles of leaves are sun-dried. After curing, the leaves are aged for a few months to a year. For cigarette and cigar fillings, the tobacco is re-moistened before marketing and the veins and leaf bees (perioles) are removed. The softened leaves are then cut by machine into strips. Depending on the ultimate tobacco product, various materials can be added. Moisture-retaining substances such as glycerin, cider concentrate and diethyl glycol are common additives and honey or sugar, oil of hops, licorice, coumarin, rum or menthol can be added for flavoring. For example: Mayan priests from ancient Mexico used to blow smoke to the four winds during religious ceremonies.

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