Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Genus: Hyoscyamus
Botanical name: Hyoscyamus niger
Sanskrit: Parseekyawani
Hindi: Khurasani, Ajwain
English: Henbane, Stinking nightshade, Black henbane
Malayalam: Kurassani
Kurassani is a robust, leafy plant, growing to 1 m tall. The plant is coarsely hairy, sticky and stinks. Basal leaves are elliptic, irregularly lobed, stalked. Stem leaves are stalk less. Flowers are cup-shaped, 2-3 cm across, dull yellow, prominently netted with purple veins, and have a dark purple center. Sepal cup is funnel shaped with triangular pointed sepals. Sepals enlarge and become papery in fruit, and encircle the capsule. Kurassani is found in the Himalayas at altitudes of 2100-3300 m.
Kurassani has a very long history of use as a medicinal herb, and has been widely cultivated to meet the demand for its use. All parts of the plant, but especially the leaves and the seeds, can be used - they are mildly pain-relieving, antispasmodic, mildly diuretic, hallucinogenic, hypnotic, pupil-dilating, narcotic and sedative. Henbane is a powerful narcotic, but, unless improperly and injudiciously used, it is only considered moderately poisonous. For sedative uses it is considered better than opium, as it does not produce constipation. It is used principally to cause sleep, and remove irregular nervous action. Combined with other preparations mentioned in many parts of this volume, it is most excellent for gout, rheumatism, asthma, chronic cough, neuralgia, irritations of the urinary organs, etc. The leaves make fine external preparations for glandular swelling or ulcers, etc. This plant should never be used, under any circumstances, without the advice of a good herbal physician.
Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
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