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posticon witchcraft herbal lore


Atropa Belladonna
 

Commonly known as Deadly Nightshade. It is usually found in chalky soils, shaded areas and waste ground or old ruins. The name Belladonna, "Beautiful Lady", is thought to derive from its use by Italian ladies, to dilate the pupil of the eye to make them more attractive. The generic name, "Atropa", is derived from the Greek, Atropos, one of the fates that held the shears to cut the thread of human life. According to folklore it is a plant that belongs to the Devil.

The properties of Belladonna depend on the presence of Hyoseyamine and Atropine, the root is the principle source of preparing tinctures, however, the whole plant including the berries contain these alkaloids. Atropine, or Tropane is a highly toxic white crystalline alkaloid (C17H23NO3). In medicines, atropine is used to relieve spasms, to diminsh secretions, to dilate the pupil of the eye, and to relieve pain and inflammation. However, when a potion containing atropine is rubbed into the skin, it can produce life-like dreams, delusions, and high excitement. It has anti spasmodic activity and was used for asthma and whooping cough. In poisonous doses it causes paralysis, excitement and delirium.

Aconite (Aconitum Napellus)
 

Commonly known as Monkshood. The poisonous properties of aconite have been used to coat arrowheads for use on humans and animals.

Its medical uses was mainly restricted for the alleviation of muscular and rheumatic pain when applied externally to the affected area.

A number of alkaloids have been identified within aconite but the group which is believed responsible for its medical and poisonous activity are the Aconitines.

 Aconite is extremely poisonous and the symptoms of poisoning begin with numbness in the mouth, crawling sensations on the skin, vomiting, stomach pains, laboured breathing, irregular and weak pulse, giddiness and staggering, eventual cardiac arrest or asphyxiation. The mind remains clear : in cases of poisoning artificial respiration and stimulants are indicated.

Datura Stramonium
 

Commonly known as Thornapple. Datura is strongly narcotic and doses lead to dilation of the pupils, giddiness, delirium and mania.

The active constituents are the same as Belladonna, i.e. hyoseyamine and atropine, but in smaller concentrations. Its medical uses are also the same as Belladonna, its effects on coughing and respiratory conditions being slightly stronger.


Last edited by MaTTsWoRld, Sep/26/2007, 6:53 pm


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Re: witchcraft herbal lore


Hyoscyamus Niger
 

Commonly known as Henbane. In Greek legend the dead in Hades were crowned with Henbane as they wandered beside the Styx. The plant has been used since antiquity in magic and diabolism for its power of causing delirium and hallucinations.

In poisonous doses, poor vision, dizziness, sleepiness are often followed by delirium and convulsions. The active constituents are Hyoseyamine, Atropine and Hyoseine.

 Similar to Belladonna in its medicinal uses, however the added presence of Hyoscine gives it the properties of reducing secretions and relax spasm of involuntary muscles.

It has been employed in hysteria, pain and rheumatism. It was also used extensively in insane asylums for treating mania and delirium tremens.
Digitalis purpured
 

Commonly known as Foxglove. Digitalis containing a number of glucosides, three of which are cardiac stimulants: digitoxin, digitalin and digitalun. The other glucoside is digitonin, a cardiac depressant.

Digitalis has been used from early times for its properties on the heart and circulation. Its first action is to increase blood pressure due to contraction of the heart and arteries.

In toxic doses it causes disturbances of the senses, blurs the visual field. Low dose poisoning leads to slow and irregular pulse. Higher concentrations of poisoning leads to rapid heart beat and arrest.
 
 


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