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Henbane From The Solanaceaea Family
I've known about Henbane for quite some time but until recently I just never wanted to write about it for a couple of reasons. The first reason is this stuff is potentially very dangerous. It can be used beneficially and in an "entheogenic" context ( used religiously/spiritually ), if you really know what you're doing. It's a bit darker in nature than my favorites... I want to get the point across to those who are not familiar with this ethnobotanical that it's not Mint, OK? If there was another plant I could compare it to it would have to be Datura ( Devils Weed ).
If you're interested in Psilocybin Mushrooms, or other typical psychedelics like MDMA and LSD ( the organic originals ) then I want you to understand this is not the same cup of tea because it's classified as a dilerant and poison. Henbane goes by the scientific name of Hyoscyamus niger, and it belongs to the Solanaceae family. It is regarded as highly poisonous, but because of the Arndt Schulz Medical Rule, skilled practitioners can actually use it as a medicine. It's also in the same family as Atropa Belladonna ( Deadly Night Shade ) which too is a poison that can be utilized as a medicine.
First let's talk a bit about Henbane and its potential use as a medicine. The Arndt Schulz Medical Rule, is as solid as any other scientific laws that govern our existence. It basically means that anything which is a medicine, can be lethal in a large enough dosage, while anything that's toxic can be beneficial in a small enough dose or doses. A lot of medicinal plants would likely require you to consume an un-attainable quantity ( physically impossible ) before any potential negative side effects could be noticed. This is not the case with Henbane or other plants in the Solanaceaea family.
Both the Black Night Shade ( Deadly ), and Henbane have this potential in holistic practices. I remember years back watching a really cool documentary on plant medicine. A practitioner showed how these deadly plants could actually be used to boost the human immune system. What they would do is first give the patient a very small dose of the poison ( basically a tea or tincture made out of the plant material ). It was typically one drop of extract added to quite a bit of water. They would shake it up and the patient would then consume it. Hours later, the patient would sniff a cotton-ball with the plant extracts on them. The body would then recognize it as a poison, and begin an intense boost in all of its defenses ( the immune response ).
Aside from its rarely understood or mentioned applications in holistic medicine, it has a lot of lore associated with its use too. Henbane has been used by Shamans, Pegans, Witches.. but it's also been used by all other walks of life. In these Shamanic cultures, it was believed to be a powerful tool for inducing "Astral Projection", along with other "third eye practices". The name has several ethnobotanical interpretations including "crazy plant"(Indo-European), and "vision, hallucination, magical power, miraculous ability".
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I'm not saying that I want this plant illegal at all, but it kinda makes you wonder.. I see both the good and bad in it, and think that education is the best way to prevent harm. Throwing years or decades of someone's life down the drain isn't helping them, nor is it protecting them. Why is it that Henbane, nor anything it contains, controlled substances? (when there are so many harmless and beneficial plants out there that don't have this deadly potential that are schedule one!)
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Henbane was used in a lot of infusions throughout history. In fact, I wrote an article with some ancient recipes in it that actually combined it with Cannabis and other psychoactive botanicals! ( See article ! "Shamanic Infusions That Utilize Cannabis & Hemp!"). It was often combined with Mandrake, Bella Donna, Datura, Cannabis, The Opium Poppy, and others. A Greek Physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author of "De Materia Medica" known as Pedanius Dioscorides suggested it as a sedative and analgesic. It's even been added to beer.
One thing that Henbane shares in common with Bella Donna and Datura other than being in the same family, is that they all contain Hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and other tropane alkaloids ( in the leaves and seeds. ) Like I said before, I can't believe substances like Psilocybin(see earthstongue.com), Cannabis, Ibogaine, & Khat, are all illegal when not one of them has been shown to have a lethal dose, or to be anything but beneficial. Yet a substance like scopolamine, which has been known to be used as a mind control drug in Peru, is 100% completely legal in the USA. You can get caught with it and not get arrested, but if you have a Cannabis flower on you, you're going to jail.
Scopolamine found in Henbane and its relatives is straight up a mind control drug. As one of the producers of it on a Vice documentary once said "It traps the consciousness". When I first found out about this I immediately thought "Colorado Movie Theatre Shooting!" The guy exhibited all the symptoms of scopolamine poisoning after the incident. This also goes along with why it's not illegal, and the motive is there because they were pushing gun control, plus CO legalized weed so they were a target for their freedom fighting rebelious behavior.
It has a bright side though, as do all poisonous substances. Scopolamine is also used in clincal settings to treat motion sickness and postoperative nausea and vomiting. It and its family members have been utilized for their phytochemical makeup to dialte pupils. It was also used by women in ancient cultures to do this because dialated pupils increase attractiveness due to the fact that it's a biological reaction to being sexually aroused. What could be more alluring to a male subject? In fact, its pharmacological constituents are highly important in modern industry and are the main active ingredient in many over the counter products and medications such as eye drops. They are also used in a clinical environment by health care providers.
The actual herb itself is almost impossible to find but seeds are readily available via the link below.
INFORMATION PROVIDED ON OUR WEBSITE IS FOR BOTANICAL/CULTURAL RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY! ANY REFERENCES ABOUT THE USE OR EFFECTS OF THESE NATURAL HEALING HERBS IS BASED ON TRADITIONAL USE OR SHAMANIC PRACTICES. ALL PRODUCTS ARE SOLD FOR ETHNOBOTANICAL RESEARCH (Consult your healthcare provider)! Not evaluated or approved by the FDA. Not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any ailments, conditions, diseases, etc.
A. J. Carter (1996-12-21). "Narcosis and nightshade". British Medical Journal. 313 (7072): 1630–1632. doi:10.1136/bmj.313.7072.1630. PMC 2359130. PMID 8991015.
Schultes & Smith 1976, p. 22
Black Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger L.) in the Scottish Neolithic, Journal of Archaeological Science (1999) 26, 45–52
Kaplan, Matt (2015-10-27). Science of the magical : from the Holy Grail to love potions to superpowers (First Scribner hardcover ed.). New York. p. 40. ISBN 9781476777108. OCLC 904813040.
Certain statements are of my own opinion, observation, conclusions, etc. Certain facts may or may not be refereced to Wikipedia and are also common knowledge. I have chosen to list them as a source regardless. No one associated with Wikipedia endorses me or my work.
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