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What is Herbal Shisha?

What is Herbal Shisha?

By double allen / August 30, 2023
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Have you recently discovered the world of hookah and want a different choice for shisha other than what’s tobacco based? You do have options!

Traditionally hookah shisha tobacco is made from cuts of different types of tobacco leaves mixed with flavored molasses or honey and glycerin. There is however another type of shisha you can smoke in a hookah if you’re wanting to experience thick, flavorful hookah clouds without the tobacco: Herbal Shisha.

Let’s take a look at the basics of non-tobacco, non-nicotine herbal hookah shisha.


What is Herbal Shisha?

Herbal shisha is a product to be smoked in a hookah pipe that does not contain any tobacco. While traditional shisha is produced by utilizing tobacco leaves, herbal shisha options are created by using anything from sugar cane pulp to tea leaves to pieces of fruit.

Loose forms of herbal shisha showing tea leaf base, sugar cane base, and dried apple base

When smoking a hookah with traditional shisha, the “buzz” you experience comes from the nicotine within the washed or unwashed tobacco leaves used. Herbal shisha differs in the fact that it does not contain any tobacco leaves and therefore it also contains no nicotine. This means you will not experience the same “buzz” as you would with “normal shisha”. 

That doesn’t mean that it takes away anything from enjoying a flavorful bowl of shisha in a hookah. Hookah is a nice way to wind down after a long day or share some quality time among friends. Discovering new shisha flavors is part of the excitement of hookah, and you can still achieve this with herbal hookah shisha.

Types of Herbal Shisha

The three popular components of herbal shisha are pulped-up sugar cane fiber, tea leaves, and pieces of fruit. Each of these ingredients’ purpose is to be a sustenance for the flavored molasses or honey to hold on to. When you smoke a hookah the flavored molasses or honey that is soaked into the tobacco or herbal mix of ingredients is volatilized into the flavored smoke you pull from the pipe. 

Box of Fantasia Herbal shisha next to various sizes of Hydro Herbal shisha

Fantasia and Hydro Herbal shisha both use either tea leaves and/or sugar cane pulp. Fantasia offers both a traditional line of shisha as well as an herbal line. You can find most of their popular flavors like 4 Play, Incredible, and Rainbow Burst in both. Hydro Herbal only offers non-tobacco shisha with some of their most popular flavors being Electric X, Kali Drizzle, and Tropical Storm.

Jar of Urth Tree herbal shisha next to loose Urth Tree shisha

Urth Tree is a type of herbal shisha that is made out of pieces of dried apple. Yup, apple! You can find popular flavors like grape with mint, mixed berry, and peach just as you would with any other type of shisha. They have a wide range of solid flavors for any type of palette, and the dried apple base won’t have any noticeable effect on the flavor! 

How Do You Smoke Herbal Shisha?

Herbal shisha smokes just like any other shisha. You can load any type of bowl of your choice with herbal, non-tobacco shisha with a “fluff pack”. This means loosely sprinkling your shisha into your bowl until it reaches the top lip and then gently pushing it down until it is packed beneath the lip. You want your loaded shisha to be more loosely dense than how it was packed in its packaging.

Box of Al Fakher charcoal next to box of quick-lighting Three Kings charcoal

You can use natural hookah charcoal or quick-lighting hookah charcoal just as you would with a traditional style shisha. Herbal shisha does perform slightly better when using a lower amount of heat due to the ingredients used to hold the flavored molasses or honey. 

"Do I Anything Special to Smoke Herbal Shisha?"

Nothing special is required to smoke herbal, non-tobacco shisha. Phunnel bowls do work best for any type of shisha however so that is something you may want to consider. You can also use any type of hookah charcoal.

Pro-Tip: It is worth taking note that when smoking Urth Tree flavors using a deeper phunnel bowl, like the AO Phunnel or the HookahJohn 80Feet80, is recommended. Because the base for Urth Tree is pieces of dried apple, the shisha is a little more chunky and contains a bit more flavored molasses/honey. A deeper phunnel bowl will allow you some extra wiggle room when loading up your bowl. The phunnel bowl will also help contain all of the flavored molasses instead of having it run down into your hookah stem.

AO Phunnel bowl next to HookahJohn 80Feet80 bowl

You can use foil or a HMD when smoking herbal shisha. When using a heat management device (HMD) with herbal shisha, you may prefer to use the normal amount of coal you would on traditional shisha; since you’ll need enough heat to transfer through your HMD.


There are the basics on what herbal, non-tobacco shisha is made from and how to smoke it! Nothing specific is required to use it, and you can also find all of your favorite flavor profiles across the different herbal shisha brands.

Herbal shisha may be something you smoke primarily, or it can be something new to try if you’re not wanting to experience a nicotine buzz while enjoying your hookah. Either way, it’s something you should check out at least once!

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