Henbane originated in Eurasia, and is now globally distributed as a plant grown mainly for pharmaceutical purposes. Henbane is rare in northern Europe; its cultivation for medicinal use is spread and legal in central and eastern Europe and in India. Henbane is an endangered plant according to the World Conservation Union’s Red List.
Henbane is used within the treatment of bones and rheumatism, toothache, asthma, cough, nervous diseases, and stomach pain. It might also be used as analgesic, sedative, and narcotic in some cultures. Adhesive bondages with henbane extract behind the ear are reported to prevent discomfort in travel-sick people. Henbane oil is used for medicinal massage.
Henbane was a common admixture to witches brews. The Priestesses of Delphi was thought to have used Henbane for prophetic purposes. Hyoscyamus niger was used in magic infusions to produce clairvoyant trance states. In the middle ages the dried herb and seeds were smoked as cigarettes.
Hyoscyamus niger (Henbane) plants, like other solanacea plants, contain tropane alkaloids and should be regarded as poisonous.