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To Hercules also is attributed the discovery of the plant known as the "apollinaris," and, among the Arabians, as the "altercum" or "altercangenum:" by the Greeks it is called "hyoscyamos."1 There are several varieties of it; one of them,2 with a black seed, flowers bordering on purple, and a prickly stem, growing in Galatia. The common kind3 again, is whiter, more shrublike, and taller than the poppy. The seed of a third variety is similar to that of irio4 in appearance; but they have, all of them, the effect of producing vertigo and insanity. A fourth5 kind again is soft, lanuginous, and more unctuous than the others; the seed of it is white, and it grows in maritime localities. It is this kind that medical men employ, as also that with a red seed.6 Sometimes, however, the white seed turns of a reddish colour, if not sufficiently ripe when gathered; in which case it is rejected as unfit for use: indeed, none of these plants are gathered until they are perfectly dry. Hyoscyamos, like wine, has the property of flying to the head, and consequently of acting injuriously upon the mental faculties.

The seed is either used in its natural state, or else the juice of it is extracted: the juice also of the stem and leaves is sometimes extracted, separately from the seed. The root is sometimes made use of; but the employment of this plant in any way for medical purposes is, in my opinion, highly dangerous. For it is a fact well ascertained, that the leaves even will exercise a deleterious effect upon the mind, if more than four are taken at a the; though the ancients were of opinion that the leaves act as a febrifuge, taken in wine. From the seed, as already7 stated, an oil is extracted, which, injected into the cars, deranges the intellect. It is a singular thing, but we find remedies mentioned for those who have taken this juice, as though for a poison, while at the same time we find it prescribed as a potion among the various remedies. In this way it is that experiments are multiplied without end, even to forcing the very poisons themselves to act as antidotes.

1 "Swine's bean"—our henbane.

2 The Hyoscyamus reticulatus of Linnæus, reticulated henbane.

3 The Hyoscyamus niger of Linnæus, black henbane.

4 See B. xviii. c. 22, and B. xxii. c. 75. The Hyoscyamus aureas of Linnæus, golden henbane.

5 The Hyoscyamus albus of Linnæus, white henbane.

6 The third kind mentioned above.

7 In B. x. c. 7. and B. xxiii. c. 49. This cannot have been a fixed oil.

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