henbane

/hen"bayn'/, n.
an Old World plant, Hyoscyamus niger, of the nightshade family, having sticky, hairy fetid foliage and greenish-yellow flowers, and possessing narcotic and poisonous properties esp. destructive to domestic fowls.
[1250-1300; ME; see HEN, BANE]

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Plant (Hyoscyamus niger) of the nightshade family, native to Britain and found growing wild in poor soil and on rubbish heaps.

It also occurs in central and southern Europe and from western Asia to India and Siberia and has long been naturalized in the U.S. The whole plant has a powerful nauseating odour. Commercial henbane, which consists of the dried leaves of H. niger and sometimes of H. muticus, of Egypt, yields three drugs: atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. Isolated and purified, these drugs are remedies for spasmodic muscular contractions, nervous irritation, and hysteria.

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plant
      (Hyoscyamus niger), highly toxic plant of the family Solanaceae indigenous to Great Britain and found growing wild in waste places and on rubbish heaps. It also occurs in central and southern Europe and in western Asia extending to India and Siberia, and has long been naturalized in the United States. There are two forms of the plant, an annual and a biennial. The annual grows during the summer to a height of 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) and then flowers and sets seed. The biennial produces during the first season only a tuft of basal leaves, which disappear in winter, leaving underground a thick fleshy root, from the crown of which arises in spring a branched flowering stem, usually much taller and more vigorous than the flowering stems of the annual plants. The whole henbane plant has a powerful, nauseous odour.

      Commercial henbane, which consists of the dried leaves of Hyoscyamus niger and sometimes of H. muticus, of Egypt, yields three dangerous drugs: atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. Among the major suppliers of these leaves are Hungary, Egypt, and the United States, all of which grow it commercially. In France another species of henbane, H. albus, is used for the same purpose.

      The leaves of H. niger are used in illicit preparations of smoking mixtures and, in India, as a beverage. The seeds, which contain more alkaloid than the foliage, have also been used in India as a remedy for toothache. Medical use of henbane is complicated by the fact that the leaves contain varying amounts of the narcotics listed above. The isolated and purified drugs derived from henbane, particularly the biennial forms, are valuable remedies for spasmodic muscular contractions, nervous irritation, and hysteria.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Henbane — Hen bane , n. [Hen + bane.] (Bot.) A plant of the genus {Hyoscyamus} ({Hyoscyamus niger}). All parts of the plant are poisonous, and the leaves are used for the same purposes as belladonna. It is poisonous to domestic fowls; whence the name.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • henbane — [hen′bān΄] n. [ME: see HEN & BANE] a coarse, hairy, foul smelling, poisonous plant (Hyoscyamus niger) of the nightshade family: it is used in medicine as a source of hyoscyamine and scopolamine …   English World dictionary

  • henbane — svaigioji drignė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Bulvinių šeimos vaistinis augalas (Hyoscyamus muticus), paplitęs Afrikos šiaurėje ir Azijos pietvakariuose. Turi narkotinių medžiagų. atitikmenys: lot. Hyoscyamus albus angl. henbane; white… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • henbane — juodoji drignė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Bulvinių šeimos vaistinis nuodingas augalas (Hyoscyamus niger), paplitęs Europoje, Afrikoje ir Azijoje. Piktžolė. atitikmenys: lot. Hyoscyamus niger angl. black henbane; henbane; hog s bean;… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • henbane — SYN: hyoscyamus. * * * hen·bane hen .bān n a poisonous fetid Old World herb of the genus Hyoscyamus (H. niger) that has sticky hairy dentate leaves and yellowish brown flowers, contains the alkaloids hyoscyamine and scopolamine, and is the source …   Medical dictionary

  • henbane — noun Date: 14th century a poisonous fetid Eurasian herb (Hyoscyamus niger) of the nightshade family with yellowish brown flowers and sticky hairy leaves that yield hyoscyamine and scopolamine …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • henbane — noun /ˈhɛnbeɪn/ a) A poisonous plant, Hyoscyamus niger, used sometimes as a drug that causes at least hallucinations, dilated pupils, restlessness, and flushed skin. b) Any other plant of the genus Hyoscyamus …   Wiktionary

  • henbane — n. type of plant having poisonous and narcotic qualities …   English contemporary dictionary

  • henbane — [ hɛnbeɪn] noun a poisonous plant of the nightshade family, with sticky hairy leaves and an unpleasant smell. [Hyoscyamus niger.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • henbane — n. Hyoscyamus, stinking nightshade …   New dictionary of synonyms

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