Black Henbane
Hyoscyamus niger
Flowers June-Aug. Seed ripens Aug.-Sept.
Common Names / Habitat / Magickal Uses / Edible Uses / Medicinal Uses / Cultivation / Propagation


Common Names: Common Henbane, Henbane, Henbane, Henbell, Hog's Bean, Jupiter's Bean, black nightshade, devil's eye, poison tobacco

Danger: All parts of the plant are very toxic. Symptoms of poisoning include impaired vision, convulsions, coma and death from heart or respiratory failure

Habitat: By the walls of fields, waste ground, near buildings and in stony places from low-lying ground near the sea to lower mountain slopes

Magickal Uses:
Feminine. Saturn. Water.

A love-bringing herb when worn. Traditionally used in ointments and brews. Induces delirium. Used with wisdom, it could be an excellent herb for consecrating ceremonial vessels. Attracts hares, therefore would be an excellent herb for those who raise rabbits.

Edible Uses: NONE

Medicinal Uses: Anodyne; Anthelmintic; Antispasmodic; Antitumor; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Hallucinogenic; Hypnotic; Mydriatic; Narcotic; Sedative. 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 the form generally considered best for external use, whilst the white henbane (H. albus) is considered the most appropriate for internal use. 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. There is an annual and a biennial form of this species, both can be used medicinaly but the biennial form is considered to be superior. This is a very poisonous plant that should be used with great caution, and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The seed is used in the treatment of asthma, cough, epilepsy, myalgia and toothache. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter, acrid taste with a neutral and poisonous potency. Anthelmintic, antitumor and febrifuge, they are used in the treatment of stomach/intestinal pain due to worm infestation, toothache, inflammation of the pulmonary region and tumours

Cultivation: Prefers a sunny position and a dry soil. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil but prefers an alkaline soil. Plants succeed in sandy spots near the sea. Cultivated commercially as a medicinal plant, only the biennial form is considered officinal. Grows well in maritime areas, often self-sowing freely. Older plants do not transplant well due to a brittle taproot. The growing plant inhibits the growth of clover. The flowers emit a sickly fishy smell.

Propagation: Seed - sow summer in a cold frame and pot on as soon as possible before the taproot is too long.

From the 2000 Horizon Herbs catalog:

Extra Care. Seed should be subjected to a short period of cold, moist conditioning before germination. Plant in the early spring, or chill seed in wet sand in the refrigerator before sowing in the late spring. Germinates in 9 days. The plant does well in full sun. Plant 6 inches apart. Flowers to 18 inches high.

Back to Witches Garden