Readers of Britain’s Healthy & Organic Living got treated to an unhealthy and organic tip from celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson: Try spicing up your summer meals with the weed henbane, also known as stinking nightshade.
The Daily Mail reports that this was, in fact, a fairly bad suggestion:
Henbane is used in some herbal remedies. In 1910, Hawley Harvey Crippen used a poison made from the plant to kill his wife. The homoeopathic doctor had ordered a quantity of the powerful narcotic hyoscine from a chemist ‘for homoeopathic purposes.’
Hyoscine, which comes from henbane, causes agitation and delirium followed by drowsiness and paralysis. More than a quarter of a grain normally kills within 12 hours. In his wife’s remains, more than half a grain was traced.
Fat-hen, apparently, was the weed Thompson meant to suggest.
For the record: Plants named for being lethal to animals are probably less delicious than plants named for fattening up animals. And if you’re looking for a refreshing summer salad that includes quinoa and won’t cause paralysis, CHOW has you covered.