Hyoscyamus Niger. (Henbane.)

Botanical name: 

Preparation.—We prepare a tincture from the recent dried leaves in the proportion of ℥viij. to Alcohol 76° Oj. Dose from gtts. ss. to gtts. v.

In medicinal doses, the Hyoscyamus is a stimulant to the cerebro-spinal centers, and may be employed whenever such action is desirable. It is from this that it has its sleep-producing properties, as well as the relief of pain. With some persons the tolerance for Hyoscyamus is very great, and even drachm doses exert this stimulant influence.

It exerts a similar influence upon the vegetative system, in a slight degree favoring every process that is performed under its influence. It is not only stimulant, but it allays irritation. Thus, in some cases, when a frequent pulse is dependent upon irritation and debility of the cardiac nerves, it exerts the influence of the special sedatives. It never arrests secretion, but, as before remarked, it favors it. Thus small doses of Podophyllin, combined with Hyoscyamus, is not only less irritant, but more effectual. So we find in irritable states of the digestive apparatus, the addition of a small portion of Hyoscyamus to the bitter tonics improves their action.

Because Hyoscyamus is poisonous, it is no reason why it should be an active remedy. Poisoning and curing are too different things. Whilst it will be found a valuable curative agent, and quite direct in its action, its influence is rather feeble than otherwise, and too much must not be expected from it.

Specific Medication and Specific Medicines, 1870, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.