​Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)



Henbane is a plant from the Solanaceae family found throughout Northern United States, Canada, and Europe.

Taxonomy:


Kingdom- Plantae
Order- Solanales
Family- Solanaceae
Genus- Hyoscyamus
Species- Hyoscyamus niger

Description:


Henbane is a biennial herb that grows up to 1 meter tall and produces yellow flowers and many seeds. Each part of the plant contains atropine, which makes the plant very poisonous when ingested by animals and quite harmful to humans as well.


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Family:


Henbane is a member of the Solanaceae family, which contains a number of flowering plants used for agricultural crops (such as potato, tomato, belladonna, mandrake, eggplant, and bell peppers) although some species are extremely toxic. The Solanaceae family is known for the nightshade family.


Distribution:


Mainly Northern United States, Canada

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Uses:


Henbane has been known to be used in a variety of witchcraft recipes. One particular recipe uses it in a witch's flying brew, perhaps because of the light sensation it gave those who ingested it. It was commonly used by men in European witchcraft as a love potion in order to attract a wife. Although it was used in alcoholic beverages for flavor until the Middle Ages, it's effects are known to be extremely hallucinogenic. Other symptoms include drowsiness and disorientation.

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Besides witchcraft, Henbane was used in Greek magic in rituals for contacting the underworld. In Greek medicine, Henbane was commonly used as a sedative before its possibly deadly side effects were realized.

The Deadly Accident:


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In 2008, TV chef Worrall Thompson recommended Henbane to be used as a "tasty addition" (1) to a healthy salad in an article for Healthy and Organic Living magazine. Upon realization that Henbane was indeed a deadly weed, the magazine sent out a warning to its readers, and thankfully there have been no reported casualties or sicknesses.


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Back! To the Sabbath!




Citations:

(1) Dawar, Anil. "TV Chef Worrall Thompson Recommends Deadly Weed as Salad Ingredient." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 08 Apr. 2008. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/aug/04/foodanddrink.foodsafety>.

"The Witch of Forest Grove." The Witch of Forest Grove. Web. 22 Apr. 2013. <http://witchofforestgrove.com/2010/05/10/solanum/>.

"Solanaceae" eFloras. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5>.

"Henbane." A Modern Herbal. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/henban23.html>.