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Henbane

Henbane

Botanical Description / Habitat

Hyoscyamus nigra

Family

Solanaceae

Common Names

Black Henbane
Devil's Eye
Fetid Nightshade
Henbell
Henbane
Hogbean
Jupiter's Bean
Poison Tobacco
Stinking Nightshade

Habitat

Rough and waste ground throughout Europe and North America.

Description

Annual.

Dull yellow flowers have prominent purple veins and violet in the tube. The globular seed capsule contains numerous small seeds. The whole plant has a characteristic nauseous odor.

Medicinal Parts

Dried leaves and flowering tops.
 

Historical Properties & Uses

Henbane was traditionally used in love potions. It is sometimes interpreted as the poison used to kill Hamlet's father.

Traditionally, because of the danger of poisoning, external applications were used.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E for spasms of the gastrointestinal tract.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
 

Method of Action

Henbane preparations exert actions on the autonomic and central nervous systems. They contain Tropane alkaloids.
 

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Enhanced anticholinergic action by tricyclic antidepressants, amantadine, antihistamines, phenothiazines, procainamide and quinidine.
 

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Side effects and cautions are quite extensive due to the high content of scopolamine. It is considered to be suitable for professional use only.

Dry mouth, optical disturbances, tachycardia and difficulty urinating.
May include a sedative effect.

Maximum daily dosage is 3 g standardized Henbane powder (1.5 - 2.1 mg total alkaloid)
 

Preparation & Administration

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

0.5 g standardized Henbane powder. (0.25 - 0.35 mg total alkaloid)

[Maximum daily dosage is 3 g standardized Henbane powder. (1.5 - 2.1 mg total alkaloid)]

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.
 

References

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Gruenwald, J, Brendler, T & Jaenicke, C (Eds.): PDR for Herbal Medicines. Medical Economics, NJ. 1998.

Lust, J: The Herb Book. Bantam, 1986.
 

 


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