Henbane black (night blindness)

BLENA BLACK (night blindness)


Biennial herbaceous plant up to 50-90 cm tall, with an unpleasant odor. Root taproot, branched. The stem is straight, branched, glandular-pubescent, sticky. The leaves are alternate ovate, notched, pinnately incised, petiolate, upper sessile, stalked. Flowers dirty yellow with purple veins in wavy tendrils. The fruit is a 2-cell box (lid), opening with a lid. Seeds numerous, dark brown or black. The plant in the first year produces only a rosette of leaves, the stems grow in the second year. Blooms from June to September.

Black henbane is found throughout the European part of Russia. Grows everywhere within dwellings, in abandoned places, along roads, in fallow lands and fields like a weed. Sometimes it forms quite large thickets on fallows.

Medicinal raw materials are leaves and seeds, sometimes the tops of stems with flowers.

It is necessary to follow the rules for storing poisonous plants, because the plant is very poisonous.

Seeds are harvested in late August – early September, and leaves – during flowering, and in dry weather. Store raw materials in a dry, dark room. The storage period is 2 years. The leaves of henbane contain the alkaloids hyoscyamine, atropine and scopolamine.

Black henbane alkaloids have an atropine-like effect, that is, they have an antispasmodic effect on smooth muscles, dilate pupils, increase intraocular pressure, cause accommodation paralysis, destroy the secretion of the glandular apparatus, and increase heart contractions. The actions of henbane alkaloids on the central nervous system are different: hyoscyamine increases the excitability of the nervous system, and scopolamine lowers it. In medical practice, henbane and its products are prescribed both internally and externally. Inside – as a means of antispasmodic and analgesic; bleached oil is used externally as an anesthetic in the composition of rubbing for neuralgia, myositis, arthritis and rheumatic pains.

Powder from the leaves of henbane is part of the asthma-tol used in bronchial asthma.

Alcoholic tinctures of henbane are used in combination with sunflower oil for rubbing against pain in the joints and muscles.

A mixture of dry leaves of henbane, dope and sage is used for smoking in bronchial asthma.

In folk medicine, this plant is recommended for dysentery, Witt’s dance (shaking), convulsive vomiting, and convulsions of various origins.

Leaves and seeds of henbane are used externally for fumigation for toothache, various types of neuralgia, and the oil from it is used for gout and bruises (as an analgesic).

The original method of fumigation for toothache, known to the people: burning coals are placed in a metal teapot, henbane seeds are poured on them, covered with a lid, and the teapot spout, from which the smoke from the seeds comes out, is brought to the aching tooth. The pain subsides.


Extract: 0.25 g of dried henbane leaves per 100 ml of boiling water, evaporated for a long time until the mass becomes thick; or 1/20 of a teaspoon to half a glass of water. Take orally 2 drops of the extract per 1 tbsp. a spoonful of water 3 times every day.

Tincture: 15 g of crushed henbane leaves per 100 ml of alcohol or vodka, take 2 drops per 1 tbsp. a spoonful of water 3 times every day.

Powder: 0.03 g (at the tip of a penknife) 3 times daily.

Oil: 15 or 30 parts of crushed seeds per 100 parts of oil (sunflower) insist for 8-10 days.

Another type of henbane – Czech henbane – is an annual plant. It differs from the previous one in the absence of rosette-like leaves, a simple stem, a thin, unbranched root, weakly crumpled leaves and late flowering at the end of summer. It also grows in wastelands.

In medical practice, thick and dry extracts from the leaves and herbs of henbane are used as an antispasmodic and analgesic – just like henbane black.

The picture of henbane poisoning and help with it are the same as with dope poisoning. See Datura ordinary.

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