Hyoscyamus. Henbane has very large, thick, soft, woolly leaves, lying on the gound, indented or torn on the edges, of a dark, ill greyish green colour, among which rise up several thick and short stalks, two or three feet high, spread into several small branches, with smaller leaves on them, and many hollow flowers, scarcely appearing above the husk, and torn on one side, ending in five round points of a dead yellowish colour, paler towards the edges, with purplish veins; and a dark yellowish purple in the bottom of the flower, with a small point of the same colour in the middle, each of them standing in a hard close husk, which after the flowers are past, grows very like the husk of Asarabacca, and somewhat sharp at the top points, having much small seed, like Poppy seed, of a greyish colour. The root is great, white and thick, so like a Parsnip root (but not so white) that it has deceived others. It commonly grows by the way-sides, under hedges and walls, and on ditch banks.

MEDICINAL VIRTUES: Henbane is a strong narcotic poison; the leaves and seeds being chiefly used in medicine. It is found to allay pain, and subdue nervous excitement without confining the bowels, and acting otherwise prejudicial, as opium often does. In irritable affections of the lungs, bowels, and other organs, its sedative properties make it very valuable. Like Hemlock, it favours the natural action of the bowels. It is useful in red gravel and stone, as it allays irritation and pain. It is a valuable addition to purgatives which are apt to gripe. It may be given in the form of extract or tincture. Extract, from 4 to 20 grains made into pills, twice or thrice in 24 hours. Tincture from half a drachm to 1 or 2 drachms . The dose of the powdered leaves is from half a drachm to 2 drachms of the fresh juice from half a drachm to 1 drachm.

In his Elements of Materia Medica, Dr. Thompson says, "In my own practice, I have seen more good derived (in mania) from 8 or 10 grains, combined with 10 grains of camphor, and given at bed-time, than from the repetition of smaller doses." It forms a valuable ingredient in Cough Tills. The seeds sometimes relieve toothache Heat a small piece of metal nearly red-hot; and place the seed upon it; inhale the vapour, but not too much. The remedy for an overdose, is vinegar, as prescribed under Hemlock.

Important Disclaimer:   The information contained on this web site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. Any information presented is not a substitute for professional medical advice and should not take the place of any prescribed medication. Please do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consultation with your physician.

This page and the rest of the encyclopedia of medicinal herbs was reproduced from old herbals written in the 1700 and 1800s. They are of historical interest to show the traditional uses of various herbs based on folk medicine and ancient wisdom. However the traditional uses for these herbs have not been confirmed by medical science and in some cases may actually be dangerous. Do not use the these herbs for any use, medicinal or otherwise, without first consulting a qualified doctor.

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