An early Henbane potion was dedicated to Apollo, the Greek god of healing and disease. A Henbane potion could cure the madness brought on by those under the influence of that other Greek deity, Dionysus and his own potions. In small doses however, a Henbane potion can be calming and act as a sedative, inducing a state of divine madness where Dionysus could bring on prophecy and visions.
A Henbane potion to the witches of the middle ages, could be used as one of the ingredients of their flying potion. The hallucinogenic qualities of a Henbane potion can certainly give one the feeling of flying, or being suspended in air. Another quality of the flying ointment when using a Henbane potion is that the person affected by it would remember nothing of it the next day.
Related to both Mandrake and Datura, in mythology, the leaves and roots of Henbane are the most noxious parts, though all parts of the plant is poisonous.
Medea once prepared a Henbane potion to give to Jason to make him impervious to pain whilst searching for the Golden Fleece. It finds its way most naturally into Judaic culture as the most widely growing plant on the surviving west wall of the temple in Jerusalem.
Ingesting Henbane potions, or the plant itself makes the pupils dilate and the heart palpitate. A bit more leads to vivid hallucinations, delirium and if too much is taken, coma, followed by death. Though there are many medicinal properties of Henbane, it’s advised that unless you are very skilled in the ways of herbalism, you take care not to ingest any part of the plant, brush against it with open sores or wounds, and after handling it, wash your hands immediately.
In small doses, a common practice in northern Europe was used early on in the production of beer, before hops took its place. The downside to this practice was the more one drank beer brewed with Henbane, the thirstier one became. Bewitching indeed.
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