Nicotiana is a cousin of the tobacco plant. There are several varieties of the beautiful nicotiana plant. An essence of nicotiana is actually believed to help kick the habit of smoking.
M. Nicot's name, in French, has a silent "t" so pronouncing the name of the flower with a silent "T" makes pronouncing this word as much fun as hearing the various pronunciations of the poinsettia. Try nic.o.she.an'a. This is correct.
From the 1500's to the 1700's tobacco was used to treat many diseases including arthritis, toothache, headaches and, of all things, bad breath.
King James I of England, of Bible fame, Jamestown, VA fame, and James River fame, and former King James VI of Scotland, was initially opposed to the smoking of tobacco. He wrote a Contrablast against smoking tobacco--"...this vile custom of tobacco taking" & "...a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless." However, King James, the ultimate politician, soon realized the tax potential of tobacco and recended his original opinion. Empires and republics all need tax money.
Jean Nicot was recognized as the "Father of Snuff Usage." He became convinced with the healing power of tobacco. He even sent a tobacco plant and some snuff to Catherine de Medici, his queen, the Queen of France, to treat her royal migraine headaches. He said that snuff had worked for his headaches by applying it to his nose and forehead.
The Queen was so impressed with the results related to her migraines that she decreed that tobacco would henceforth be called l'Herb Regina, or the Queen's Herb.
Since we began this item in France and ended in England we have said something about a British king. How about a French president? Charles de Gaul once said: "Since politicians do not believe what they say they are often surprised when people take them at their word." During the Roman Empire Gaul was the word for the general area we call France.