Herb: White Henbane
Latin name: Hyoscyamus albus
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)
Medicinal use of White Henbane:Henbane has a very long history of use as a medicinal herb, and has been widely cultivated to meet the demand for its use. It is used extensively as a sedative and pain killer and is specifically used for pain affecting the urinary tract, especially when due to kidney stones. Its sedative and antispasmodic effect makes it a valuable treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, relieving tremor and rigidity during the early stages of the disease. This species is generally considered the best for internal use, whilst the black henbane (H. niger) is the form most used externally. All parts of the plant, but especially the leaves and the seeds, can be used - they are anodyne, antispasmodic, mildly diuretic, hallucinogenic, hypnotic, mydriatic, narcotic and sedative. The plant is used internally in the treatment of asthma, whooping cough, motion sickness, Meniere's syndrome, tremor in senility or paralysis and as a pre-operative medication. Henbane reduces mucous secretions, as well as saliva and other digestive juices. Externally, it is used as an oil to relieve painful conditions such as neuralgia, dental and rheumatic pains.The leaves should be harvested when the plant is in full flower and they can then be dried for later use. This is a very poisonous plant that should be used with great caution, and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See the notes above on toxicity. The seed is used in the treatment of asthma, cough, epilepsy, myalgia and toothache.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Dry, uncultivated ground, walls and field margins.
Propagation of White Henbane:Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe, older seed rapidly loses viability. Either sow in situ or pot up the seedlings whilst still small because plants produce a long taproot and older plants resent root disturbance.
Cultivation of the herb:Dry, uncultivated ground, walls and field margins.
Known hazards of Hyoscyamus albus:All parts of the plant are very toxic. Symptoms of poisoning include impaired vision, convulsions, coma and death from heart or respiratory failure.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.