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Etymology -Hyos = hyos = bean and Cyamos = cyamos = hog in Greek, i.e. ì the bean of the hog ì, the hog being supposedly able to eat it with impunity.
Other Names: H. agrestis. H. flavus. H. lethalis. H. pallidus.
Common Names: Henbane. Jusquiami. Black henbane. Hogbean. Foetid nightshade. Poison tobacco. - Jupiterís Bean, Stinking Nightshade, Devilís Eye, Symphonica, Cassilata, Cassilago, Deus Caballinus, Henbell ( Anglo-Saxon ), Belene ( Anglo-Saxon ).
Names in other languages –
Schwarzes bilsenkraut - German
Jusquiame noire - French
Jusquiame nero - Italian
Lang - tang - Chinese
Beteno - Spanish
Hullukaal - Finnish
Szaliniec - Polish
Homeopathic preparation: The expressed juice of the fresh plant, Hyoscyamus niger, mixed with equal parts of alcohol. (Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura).
N.O. Subclass: Asteridae; Order: Solanales; Family: Solanaceae or Nightshade Family
Some material contributed by Duncan Muir Thomas
Provings: Allen: Cyclopoedia, V. 5, V. 10. Cyclop. Drug Path., V. 2. Hempel: Mat. Med. Hahnemann: Fragmenta de viribus. Mat. Med. Pura. Hering: Guid. Symptoms, V. 6. Jahr: Symp. Codex. Macfarlan: High Pot. Provings. Harley: Old Veg. Neurotics,. p. 329.
Agricola: Hom. World, V. 26, p. 460.
Covert: Tr. N. Y. State Hom. Soc., 1873 - 4.
Gester: Hom. Vierteljahrschrift, V. 9, pp. 241, 289.
Hartl. u Trinks: Annalen, V. 1.
Keil: Hom. Vierteljahr., V. 9, p. 242.
Leidbeck: Hygea, V. 9, p. 444.
Lembke: Neue Zeit. hom. klinik, V. 5, p. 57.
Macfarlan: Hom. Phys., V. 12, p. 292; V. 13, p. 288.
Menger: A. H. Z., V. 9, p. 13; V. 28, p. 154.
Montpellier: Brit. Jl. Hom., V. 14, p. 622.
Pritchard: Hahn. Mo., V. 27, p. 223.
Ratier: Archiv. Gen. de Med., V. 1, p. 307, (1823.)
Rink: N. A. J. Hom., V. 38, p. 434.
Schneller: Frank's Mag., pt. 2. Zeit. Ver. hom. Aerzte Oesterr., V. 1, p. 376.
Segroff: Lehrbuch der Pharmakologie, 559.
Stork: N. A. J. Hom., V. 3, p. 544.
- - - - - -: Brit. Jl. Hom., V. 1, p. 412.
Wibmer: Die Arzneimittel, V. 3.
Wertemburg: Prag. Monattschr., V. 2, p. 122. (Bradford’s Index).
Description of the substance
Botanical Information: This annual, or biennial heavy - scented, viscid - pubescent, or villous herb, usually attains a growth of from 1 to 2 feet. Root fusiform; stem rigid. Leaves oblong, acute, the lower large, spreading upon the ground, sinuate toothed and angled, the upper more or less amplexicaul and partly decurrent, the uppermost tending to be entire and bract - like, subtending the flowers. Inflorestence in second, scorpioid, leafy spikes; flowers numerous, sessile. Calyx large, tubular - campanulate or urceolate; border 5 - cleft, spreading; teeth equal, broadly triangular, acute. Corolla oblique, funnel - form, dull yellowish, strongly rectculated with anastomosing purple veins; limb spreading, inclined to be unequally 5 - lobed and plaited; lobes shallow, rounded, and more or less acute. Stamens 5 , declined, all perfect, and slightly exserted; filaments inserted upon the corolla - tube near its base and continuing attached for about half their length, where they are also hairy; anthers purple, turned upon their backs, and opening by a longitudinal chink. Style filiform; stigma dilated - capitate. Capsule membranaceous, 2 - celled, enclosed by the persistent calyx, which is now many - costate and reticulate veiny; dehiscence by an apical circumscissile line, the top falling away like a lid. Seeds very numerous, roundish - oval, slightly hollowed upon each side; testa conspicuously reticulated; embryo much curved, axile; albumen copious. (Millspaugh’s Medicinal Plants).
Habitat: Henbane is indigenous to Europe and Western Asia, from whence it was introduced into this country by the English settlers, in the seventeenth century, It grows, with us, near dwellings and settlements, from Nova Scotia and Canada, southward to the environs of New York City and Brooklyn, where it blossoms from June to August. The seeds are notably tenacious of life; hence the plant is often found in localities after having disappeared years before. (Dr. Bigelow says: "About ten years since (1807), a intersects the Common in Boston, was opened for the purpose of repairs. In the following season a distinct row of very luxuriant plants of Henbane covered the whole of the drain, although none of them had been observed to grow in the vicinity the preceding year. The seeds which produced these plants had probably been buried for more than fifteen years. " Am. Med. Bot., 1, 161. (Millspaugh’s Medicinal Plants).
Introduced to North America prior to 1672, as Grieve quotes a contemporary source as saying henbane is a plant ì sprung up since the English planted and kept cattle in New England.î
It appears to have been more common in Britain in Elizabeth Tudorís time.
Henbane is a member of the important order Solanaceae, to which belong the Potato, Tobacco and Tomato, and also the valuable Belladonna. There are about eleven species of the genus Hyoscyamus, distributed from the Canary Island over Europe and Northen Africa to Asia. All those which have been investigated contain similar principles and possess similar properties. It is poisonous in all its parts, and neither drying nor boiling destroys the toxic principle. The leaves are the poweful portion, produce giddiness and stupor.