Poison Hemlock, Monkshood, Henbane Culture and Extraction
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: [No Name Given]
Posted on: August 14, 1998

I have recently placed an order for poison hemlock seeds, monkshood, and henbane.

I live in middle Alabama. How well will these plants adapt here, and what care will they need? Also, what is the best way to extract their respective properties for medicinal value? I have heard that boiling them all in wine will work. Is this true?

Poison Hemlock will grow in zones 5 to 10 and likes damp rich soil, but will even tolerate dry sandy soil under some conditions.

Monkshood or Aconite will grow in zones 2 to 9 and likes deep, moist, rich soil in shade to sun. The pH should be between 5 and 6.

Henbane is an annual that likes sun and a light well-drained deep soil that contains some lime. However it sometimes tolerates a pH from 4.5 to 8.2.

All three herbs are very poisonous and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor. The book, "A Modern Herbal" by Mrs M. Grieve (catalogue # B6250) discusses alcohol extraction of the active principles of these herbs, which leads me to suspect that wine could be used to extract the active ingredients. You might wish to consult this book for further information.

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