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Poisons or Medicines?: A lesson in the historical and contemporary use of poisonous medicinal plants

  • Mockingbird Meadows Eclectic Herbal Institute 16671 Burns Rd Marysville, OH 43040 (map)

"All drugs are poisons the benefit depends on the dosage." Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus (1493-1541)

This class will focus on the historical and contemporary use of medicinal plants that are considered poisonous to human beings.  Come and explore the literary and folkloric legends of plant species such as Atropa belladonna (Belladonna), Aconitum napallus (Aconite), Hyoscyamus niger (Henbane), and Conium maculatum (Poison Hemlock).  The Eclectic and Physiomedicalist traditions within the history of American Medicine will also be drawn upon in order to clarify and understand the contemporary use of these poisonous medicinal plants within the clinical practice of medical herbalism in the United Kingdom.  The concept of ‘Heroic Medicine’ will also be discussed alongside the reaffirmation of the famous words of Hippocrates, “Of several remedies, the physician should choose the least sensational.” This class is not meant to teach you how to use these poisonous herbs, as accurate preparations and dosages along with in-depth clinical knowledge and experience are required in order to not cause severe harm or death. This class is meant to reinvigorate the budding herbalist into thinking more critically about the use of herbal medicines as agents of wellness rather than pseudo-pharmaceuticals, and embracing their efficacy in regards to clinical outcomes within the larger context of diet and lifestyle regimens.