The henbane plant was already used in Babylon (15th century B.C.) to heal toothache, as recorded in the Ebers papyrus. Dioscorides (1st century A.D.), the father of phytotherapy, also mentions its narcotic properties.
During the Middle Ages, the henbane plant joined the many ingredients used by witches and warlocks in their concoctions. Supposedly, burglars put the plant on the coals that heated public baths to drowse the clients and pick their pockets.
Healing Properties and Uses
The entire plant contains alkaloids that are very active on the nervous system (atropine, hyoscine, and scopolamine). It is a powerful antispasmodic, analgesic, and narcotic. When taken in high doses, it becomes stupefacient and hallucinogenic. Its smoke has been used in asthma crises (because of its bronchi-dilator action) and also to relieve toothaches. In local application, it eases gout pain, rheumatism, sciatica, and other neuralgia.
WARNING! When the recommended dose is exceeded, weakness and nausea may be felt. Because of its smell, accidental poisoning is difficult. When taken in high doses, it is stupefacient and hallucinogenic.
Henbane Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names: Black henbane, devil’s eye, fetid nightshade, henbell, hog bean, Jupiter’s bean, poison tobacco, stinking nightshade.
- French: Jusquiame noire.
- Spanish: Beleno negro.
- Environment: Rare plant, which may be found on roadsides and wastelands of the Mediterranean and central regions of Europe. It has spread throughout America.
- Description: Plant of the Solanaceae family, covered with a fine down, and reaches a height of up to one meter. Its flowers are a pale yellow, covered with a net of thin violet capillaries. The whole plant gives off a disgusting smell.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: Leaves.
Henbane Plants for Sale
How to use Henbane
- Infusion. Ten to fifteen g of leaves per liter of water. Drink two cups daily.
- Powder of dry leaves. The maximum tolerated daily dose is one gram.
- Poultices with mashed leaves, which are applied to the painful area for several minutes.
- Ointment (prepared in a pharmaceutical laboratory).
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 159. Print.