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Description. Our common Henbane has very large, thick, soft, woolly leaves, lying on the ground, much cut in, or torn on the edges, of a dark, ill greyish green colour; among which arise up divers thick and short stalks, two or three feet high, spread into divers small branches, with lesser leaves on them, and many hollow flowers, scarce appearing above the husk, and usually torn on one side, ending in five round points, growing one above another, of a deadish yellowish colour, somewhat paler towards the edges, with many purplish veins therein, and of a dark, yellowish purple in the bottom of the flower, with a small point of the same colour in the middle, each of them standing in a hard close husk, which after the flowers are past, grow very like the husk of Asarabacca, and somewhat sharp at the top points, wherein is contained much small seed, very like Poppy seed, but of a dusky, greyish colour. The root is great, white, and thick, branching forth divers ways under ground, so like a Parsnip root (but that it is not so white) that it has deceived others. The whole plant more than the root, has a very heavy, ill, soporiferous smell, somewhat offensive.

Place. It commonly grows by the waysides, and under hedgesides and walls.

Time. It flowers in July, and springs again yearly of its own seed. I doubt my authors mistook July for June, if not for May.

Government and virtues. I wonder how astrologers could take on them to make this an herb of Jupiter; and yet Mizaldus, a man of a penetrating brain, was of that opinion as well as the rest; the herb is indeed under the dominion of Saturn, and I prove it by this argument: All the herbs which delight most to grow in saturnine places, are saturnine herbs. But Henbane delights most to grow in saturnine places, and whole cart loads of it may be found near the places where they empty the common Jakes, and scarce a ditch to be found without it growing by it. Ergo, it is an herb of Saturn. The leaves of Henbane do cool all hot inflammations in the eyes, or any other part of the body; and are good to assuage all manner of swellings of the privities, or women's breasts, or elsewhere, if they be boiled in wine, and either applied themselves, or the fomentation warm; it also assuages the pain of the gout, the sciatica, and other pains in the joints which arise from a hot cause. And applied with vinegar to the forehead and temples, helps the head-ache and want of sleep in hot fevers. The juice of the herb or seed, or the oil drawn from the seed, does the like. The oil of the seed is helpful for deafness, noise, and worms in the ears, being dropped therein; the juice of the herb or root doth the same. The decoction of the herb or seed, or both, kills lice in man or beast. The fume of the dried herb, stalks and seed, burned, quickly heals swellings, chilblains or kibes in the hands or feet, by holding them in the fume thereof. The remedy to help those that have taken Henbane is to drink goat's milk, honeyed water, or pine kernels, with sweet wine; or, in the absence of these, Fennel seed, Nettle seed, the seed of Cresses, Mustard, or Radish; as also Onions or Garlic taken in wine, do all help to free them from danger, and restore them to their due temper again.

Take notice, that this herb must never be taken inwardly; outwardly, an oil ointment, or plaister of it, is most admirable for the gout, to cool the veneral heat of the reins in the French pox; to stop the tooth- ache, being applied to the aching side: to allay all inflammations, and to help the diseases before premised.


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