Thursday, July 31, 2008


my VFD affinity group has a big, happy, healthy, flowering, black henbane plant. what are we gonna do with this herb? i went to a trusted expert (how many of those do we noble savages have?) and here's a little of what's been said for us

from page 275 (around Hyoscyamus muticus, black henbane) of The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and It's Applications by Christian Ratsch

"Preparation and Dosage

Either the fresh leaves are used as a poultice or the dried herbage and seeds are used internally. When taken internally, a single dosage should not exceed 0.25 g; the totla daily dosage should not exceed 1.5 g. Because reactions to tropane alkaloids can vary significantly from one individual to another, it is difficult to provide dosage guidelines that apply to everyone. Anyone who wishes to experiment with Egyptian henbane for therapeutic or psychoactive purposes should exercise great care and begin with a very small dosage, whcih then can be slowly increased.

The dried leaves and seeds are suitable for use as ingredients in incense and smoking blends. The herbage also can be used to brew beer (see recipe under Hyoscyamus niger).

In Morocco, twenty seeds from the subspecies falezles are taken orally in a date (cf. palm wine), chewed thoroughly, and swallowed to induce hallucinations. They are also used as an ingredient in majun (see Oriental joy pills) (Vries 1984*; 1989, 39*)."

later, in the Ritual Use section

"The Arabs like to spice their coffee (see Coffea arabica) with crushed henbane seeds. It is possible that the plant also played a role in the secret rites of the dervishes or Sufies. In the twentieth century, the Towara Bedouins of the Sinai Peninsula were still smoking the leaves to produce "an inebritation with delierium" (Lewin 1981, 177*).

from page 279, on Hyoscyamus niger, black henbane,

"Preparation and Dosage
The chopped, dried herbage can be used as an ingredient in incense and smoking blends, for brewing beer, to spice wine, and as a tea (infusion, decoction). The seeds are most appropriate for use in incense recipes.

Dosages must be assessed carefully no matter what type of preparation is being considered. According to Hagers Handbuch der pharmazeutischen Praxis, the therapeutic individual dosage of prepared Hyoscyamus (with a standarized alkaloid content of 0.05%) is 0.5 g, and the daily dosage 1.5 g (maximum 3 g) (Lindequist 1993, 469). Apart from this, see the guidelines given for Hyoscyamus muticus."
below the following recipe

Oleum hyoscyamin infusum (henbane oil) is obtained by boiling the leaves in oil. It can be used externally for therapeutic or erotic massage."
"Recipe for Henbane Beer

40 g dried, chopped henbane herbage
5 g bayberry or another Myrica species (this aromatic ingredient is optional)
approx. 23 liters of water
1 liter (approx. 1.2 kg) brewing malt (barley malt)
900 g honey (e.g., spruce or pine honey)
approx. 5 g dried top-fermenting yeast
brown sugar

Boil the henbane and bayberry (if desired) in 1 liter of water ( to ensure the necessary sterility). Leave the henbane in the water until it has cooled.

Sterilize the brewing vessel (plastic bucket) with boiling water. Then add the liquid malt to the bucket along with 2 liters of hot water and the honey. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly dissolved. Add the henbane water together with the herbage and the bayberry. Stir thoroughly. Add cold water to make a total of approx. 25 liters of liquid. Pitch the yeast into the mixture and cover.

In order for the top-fermenting yeast to be effective, the wort should be allowed to stand in a warm location (20 degrees to 25 degrees C.) Fermentation will begin slowly because the tropane alkaloids will initially inhibit the yeast. The main fermentation will be over in four to five days, and the after-fermentation will then begin. The yeast will slowly settle and form a layer at the bottom of the bucket.

The beer can now be poured into bottles. A heaping teaspoon of brown sugar can be added to each (0.7 liter) bottle to promote an additional after-fermentation. Henbane beer tastes best when stored before use in a cool place for two to three months."

Effects, pages 281 and 282

"The parasympathicolytic effects of the drugs and of preparations of black henbane are due to the principal alkaloids hyoscyamine (or atropine) and scopolamine. Peripheral inhibition with simultaneous central stimulation is characteristic. The primary effects last for three to four hours. Hallucinogenic aftereffects may persist for as long as three days. The alkaloids can cross via the blodd into the placenta and have also been detected in breast milk (Lindequest 1993, 469).

Among the unpleasant side effects are severe dryness of the mouth, locomotor disturbances, and farsightedness. Overdoses can lead to delirium, coma, respiratory paralysis, and death. However, only a very few instances of lethality are reported in the toxicological literature (Lindequist 1993, 470). For this reason, the actual lethal dosage is not known precisely. The plant is also toxic to graxing cattle, deer, fish, and many species of birds. Pigs appear to be immune to the effects of the toxins (Morton 1977, 305*) and actually appear to enjoy the inebriating effects. This may be the source of the ancient name hog's bean.

Low dosages (0.5 to 1 liter) of beer brewed with henbane have inebriating effects, while higher dosages (1 to 1.5 liters) are aphrodisiac (henbane beer is the only beverage that makes one thirstier the more one drinks!). Very high dosages (more than 2 to 3 liters) can induce delirious and "inane" states, confusion, memory disturbances, and "crazy" behaviors."


Anonymous said...

It is simply remarkable answer

Anonymous said...

Nothing new under the sun.