: a poisonous fetid Old World herb of the genus Hyoscyamus (H. niger) that has sticky hairy dentate leaves and yellowish brown flowers, contains the alkaloids hyoscyamine and scopolamine, and is the source of hyoscyamus—called also black henbane, insane root
Plant (Hyoscyamus niger) of the nightshade family, native to Britain and found growing wild in poor soil and on rubbish heaps. It also occurs in central and southern Europe and from western Asia to India and Siberia and has long been naturalized in the U.S. The whole plant has a powerful nauseating odour. Commercial henbane, which consists of the dried leaves of H. niger and sometimes of H. muticus, of Egypt, yields three drugs: atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. Isolated and purified, these drugs are remedies for spasmodic muscular contractions, nervous irritation, and hysteria.