Our Herbs

These are the cultivated and wild herbs we use in our medicinal nightshade ointments. Each one has a storied ancient history of use in early medicine, ceremony, and pharmacology. Nightshade ointments were once common remedies for many serious issues, but the knowledge of their dosage and manufacture using the whole plants was lost until now. Through history these plants have been used as traditional medicines to help with arthritis, rheumatism, tendonitis, bursitis, Parkinson's, fibromyalgia, sciatica, nerve pain, muscle pain, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and motion sickness. Medicinal nightshades have the ability to relax the nervous system, reduce physical and mental stress, and induce sleep. Larger doses have been used to help with anxiety, depression, and loss of libido.

It is my goal to reintroduce the medicinal members of the Solanaceae plant family as powerful tools and allies of herbal medicine and it is my hope to see more of these plants grown in gardens and more knowledge being shared of their medicinal applications and how to prepare them safely. The more medicinal nightshades are used in herbalism and the more common place they become, the less fear will surround their poisonous properties resulting in a greater ability for their medicine to help people.

Belladonna

Genus: Atropa

Species: Atropa belladonna

Origin: sustainably wild harvested in Bulgaria.

Medicinal Constituents: atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolomine.

Medicinal Actions: aphrodisiac, analgesic, anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, anticholinergic, euphoric, and hypnotic/sedative.

Medicinal Preparation: a topical ointment meant for external use only.

Safety Info: 

Signs of allergic reaction include an irregular heartbeat and vomiting along with feeling warm, sweaty, dizzy, and nauseated. If you feel this way, wash the area of your skin where you applied an oil or ointment, drink lots of water, and rest. The effects can take 4-6 hours to wear off. If you do not feel better, go to the hospital.

Adverse effects of external use can include dry mouth, blurry vision, short-term memory loss, and mental confusion. Belladonna is sedative, do not use while driving or operating machinery.

There is no evidence that belladonna is unsafe for use while pregnant or breastfeeding, but with this plant it is better to be safe than sorry as and forgo its use until your child is weaned.

Medicinal Uses:

Used externally to treat muscle and joint pain and is especially effective at treating back pain, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, pulled muscles, tense muscles and nerves, sciatica, pulled and torn tendons, tendonitis and bursitis, carpal tunnel, arthritis, rheumatism, pain and bruising after surgical procedures, and the pain of menstrual cramps. Belladonna is a nervine relaxant and has the ability to calm the nerves, reduce physical and psychological tension, and directly affect the nervous system to induce sleep.

An external oil or ointment rubbed into the temples, neck, and shoulders will help one relax and fall asleep. If applied to the affected area 1-2 hours before bedtime it can help you sleep through chronic pain or the pain of a recent injury. When used externally as a sedative, belladonna has the added benefit of providing visually stimulating but pleasant dreams.


Datura

Genus: Datura

Species: Datura stramonium and Datura innoxia

Origin: our Datura stramonium is locally wild harvested or grown and our Datura innoxia is from Richter's Herbs who source it from its ancient origin of India. 

Medicinal Constituents: scopolamine and hyoscyamine

Medicinal Actions: analgesic, anticholinergic, anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, anti-emetic, nervine relaxant, and hypnotic/sedative.

Medicinal Preparation: a topical ointment meant for external use only.

Safety Info:

Do not use when pregnant or breastfeeding.

Datura medicine should not be used by the very elderly due to the high concentration of scopolamine which can interact badly with their other medications and also increase the likelihood of negative side effects.

Side effects can include dry mouth, drowsiness, and mental fog. Adverse effects can include mental confusion and short-term amnesia.

Datura can cause tachycardia and should not be used by those with heart disease. Datura should not be used by people suffering from glaucoma. In general solanaceae should not be used as medicine for those who have weak hearts, weakened immune systems, liver issues, and kidney disease –but datura even more so.

Medicinal Uses:

Datura ointment is very effective at treating deep tissue and bone pains, especially when it comes to treating the pain of muscles, tendons, joints and bones. It is the most effective of the nightshade ointments for relieving bone on bone pain and is our customers' choice for both types of arthritis, bone and joint pain, fibromyalgia pain & inflammation, as well as the pain of healing broken bones or poorly healed old injuries. Datura can penetrate deeper into the body than belladonna to target an issue. Ancient cultures like the Aztecs used datura poultices and possibly ointments to treat broken bones and fractures.

Datura is a nervine relaxant and has the ability to calm the nerves, reduce physical and psychological tension, and directly affect the nervous system to induce sleep. Datura’s sedative effects can help to relieve anxiety, stress, and panic attacks, but keep in mind ointments can take up to two hours to take effect and will wear off in 4-6 hours. Re-apply every 4-5 hours on bad days.


Henbane

Genus: Hyoscyamus

Species: Hyoscyamus niger

Origin: our henbane was grown in North Africa where it is a native herb and medicinal crop.

Medicinal Constituents: hyoscyamine, scopolamine, atropine

Medicinal Actions: analgesic, anticholinergic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-emetic, nervine relaxant, and hypnotic/sedative.

Medicinal Preparation: a topical ointment meant for external use only.

Safety Info:

Though henbane has the same properties as belladonna, datura, and mandrake, it is less intense in its side effects. Allergies to henbane generally present as itchy rashes on the skin, or if ingested, an itchy mouth, throat, and ears. Allergic reactions are not common, however.

Henbane should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as the alkaloids have been shown to cross from the blood into the placenta as well as breast milk.

Side effects of use can include dry mouth, farsightedness, loss of coordination, and drowsiness. Adverse effects include mental confusion, short-term amnesia, and drunkenness.

Medicinal Uses:

Black henbane is an excellent pain reliever for sore muscles and joints, stiffness, bruising, and other injuries that have not broken the skin. An ointment can be rubbed on the abdomen for menstrual cramping or used similarly for muscle cramps. It is also a traditional remedy to prevent motion sickness.Try using the ointment two hours before you travel. 

Henbane is a sedative and nervine relaxant and has the ability to calm the nerves, reduce physical and psychological tension, and directly affect the nervous system to induce sleep. In Dioscorides' Materia Medica written 2000 years ago, he lists henbane ointment as being very effective for treating anxiety and frayed nerves and our customers have found this to be true in practice.


Mandrake

Genus: Mandragora

Species: Mandragora officinarum

Origin: our mandrake root comes from Turkey where it is still grown as a commercial crop today.

Medicinal Constituents: scopolamine, atropine, hyoscyamine, and mandragorine.

Medicinal Actions: analgesic, anticholinergic, antispasmodic, anesthetic, aphrodisiac, euphoric, nervine relaxant, and hypnotic/sedative.

Medicinal Preparation: a topical ointment meant for external use only.

Safety Info:

Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Mandrake can cause increase one’s heart rate and should be avoided by those with heart disease or who have recently suffered a heart attack. It should also be avoided by those with kidney disease. Side effects can include dry mouth, dry mucous membranes, dilated pupils, flushed cheeks, farsightedness, a fast heartbeat, and sometimes muscle weakness.

Mandrake is the only medicinal nightshade herb we use that is safe to come in contact with mucous membranes. It makes it the better choice for sensual massage.

Medicinal Uses:

It is often confused with American Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) which is not actually related to the Mandragora genus and in medicine the two are not created equal.

Though mandrake is a gentler medicine than datura, its scopolamine content lends itself just as well to treating severe pain caused by injuries and chronic conditions. It excels at relieving muscle and joint pain and is the most effective medicinal nightshade for treating migraines. Apply a mandrake ointment to the temples, the forehead, the back of the neck, and the shoulders. The person should then lie down in a dark room and allow time for rest and recovery.

Many of my clients and friends have successfully used mandrake root as an antidepressant. It’s effectiveness in this area seems to go beyond simply its euphoric attribute. A study is very much needed to show which of the alkaloids or combination thereof helps with depression and why. In the meantime, we have some validation from ancient physicians for mandrake’s use in treating anxiety and depression in early texts such as The Hippocratic Corpus.

While mandrake is well-known as a very effective sedative, for some people it can have a stimulating effect instead where they feel like they have been given a burst of restless energy. 

I also recommend mandrake for loss of libido. It can be applied two hours before love-making and the aphrodisiac effects can last for 4-6 hours.

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