Sacred Weeds - Henbane The Witches Brew

  • Published 1 year ago
  • Not Rated

Henbane is a herb linked with so many legends and mysteries. According to some sources, Egyptians smoked the plant, witches used it, and it is the poison chosen by Shakespeare for Hamlet’s father.

Henbane is a plant known for its hallucinogenic and psychotropic role. During the Middle Age, henbane was widely known as “insane seed that breed madness”. Today, henbane is part of the formula for many modern medical painkillers.

The Latin name of the plant is “Hyoscyamus niger”, and is part of family of flowering plants. The group includes innocent plants like tomatoes and potatoes, but also other poisonous plants like belladonna.

Some legends link henbane with witches. According to the legend, witches used its magical qualities for recipes for the “flying ointment”. German folklore also contains legends as henbane used for witchcraft and witches. In German folklore, witches used the plant to raise rainstorms or curse people and their lands with sterility.

Another interesting legend is linked with beer, a tradition that has history in Celtic culture and tradition. Before hops was adopted as the flavor for beers and ales, Celtics used henbane as a flavoring and enhancer to beer. The legend says the plant made beer more intoxicating.

As for Hamlet, if you read the play, you’ll see that Shakespeare chose it for the poison to kill Hamlet’s father. The text reads “hebenon or hebona”, and the line quotes it “with juice of cursed hebenon”. Many scholars have linked the reference to henbane.

In this documentary, Dr. Francoise Barbira-Freedman, medical anthropologist and lecturer at University of Cambridge talks about the effects of henbane.

From Around the Web

Related Videos

Nature
domestic cats
youtube icon
01:32:06
New

Cats nowadays might be the most popular animal on the planet. They have definitely dethroned dogs as the most popular pets. And for one reason, kittens are just adorable. Sma...

  • 157
  • 6 days ago
  • 10(1)
Nature
jonathan tortoise
youtube icon
02:59

Jonathan, a giant tortoise, is the oldest living terrestrial animal in the world. He came to life in 1832, and is currently 187 years old. He has lived through World War I, W...

  • 146
  • 1 week ago
  • 10(1)
Nature
birds of paradise papua new guinea
youtube icon
47:24

Birds of Paradise are extremely rare species of birds. They are members of the family Paradisaeidae, and majority of them are found in Papua New Guinea. There are 42 known sp...

  • 441
  • 2 weeks ago
  • Not Rated
Nature
amazon fire
youtube icon
09:04

In the past several days, we’ve seen the Amazon rainforest burn. And up until lately, the awareness of why it is so important was almost non-existent. After 15 or 16 days o...

  • 214
  • 3 weeks ago
  • Not Rated
Avatar

4,049 Videos / 10,161,434 Views
Tags

Related Articles
The stag beetle has shiny black head and thorax, while his wing case is chestnut brown. There is also a difference betwe...
  • 706
  • 1 month ago
Until the 1950s, scientists thought that there was no liquid water underneath Greenland. But research has come a long wa...
  • 461
  • 2 months ago
Today, there are fewer than 7,000 snow leopards left in the wild. New roads, mining projects disrupting their habitat, a...
  • 394
  • 2 months ago
Damage done by overfishing goes beyond the marine environment. People rely on fish for protein. Fish is also the princip...
  • 731
  • 3 months ago