Hyoscyamus & Passive Mania

Words: Dr Barbara ETCOVITCH

Hyoscyamus niger also known as Black Henbane, Stinking Nightshade, and Devil’s Eye, is a biennial plant found in dry, sandy soils, waste grounds, graveyards and around the foundations of neglected homes in northern US, Canada and Europe. The plant has a fetid odour.

The homeopathic remedy, Hyoscyamus, profoundly disturbs the nervous system and is known as a remedy of passive mania, similar to Belladonna and Stramonium in this regard, but less active and violent.

In all its stages, its underlying disturbance is jealousy and suspicion. The suspicions may first present themselves with respect to wives, or work, colleagues, and then expands to include acquaintances and strangers.

Suspicion may also result in a state of simple paranoia, or escalate to a florid, paranoid schizophrenia and include delirium tremens. There is a fear of being poisoned and sold.

Wronged Feeling

There is a feeling of persecution in the remedy. Hyoscyamus believes that that everything is ‘being done to him.’ ‘He is being wronged, given a hard time, suffered injury.’ He can be rendered sleepless from these imagined insults.

The remedy produces a state of obsession as well, where the patient is completely absorbed with harmless and simple things that represent an attempt to ‘ground’ the mind. The obsessiveness is compensation for the insanity of Hyoscyamus, whereby the mind becomes stuck in a rut. The patient may be seen staring at wallpaper, trying to restructure its design.

The obsessive and paranoid states are both an attempt to keep the unconscious under control, but as the insanity of Hyoscyamus progresses the attempt may fail and Hyoscyamus, at the instinctual level, erupts into erotic mania.


The Hyoscyamus patient becomes shameless, exposes and plays with his genitals, sings [singing, obscene songs], curses [cursing], refers to sexual subjects, desires to uncover [prattling, lies naked in bed], and has amorous dreams [sleep, dreams, amorous]. Sexual desire and behaviours increase.

The unconscious may also erupt in the involuntary passage of stool and urine, and as the senile dementia progresses the patient may play with the stool. The sensitive skin too suffers and leads to the desire to take off clothes.

The acute delirium of Hyoscyamus is characterised by muscular twitching and passive mania and may progress into states of stupor and coma. It is typical of a Hyoscyamus patient to be aroused from the stupor, provide a reasonable answer to a question asked and then lapse into a state of stupor.

The acute stage of Hyoscyamus also entails hydrophobia. There is a dread of water, running water, convulsions and loss of urine and stool caused by running water.

There is a lot of opposition, or alternation, in the remedy. For example, senility and hysterical rage; muttering in delirium and outbursts of rage; violence and stupor; frequent and delayed stools; copious urination and retained, or scanty flow. There is an aversion to company and a fear of solitude/desire for company. There is muttering and loquaciousness and loss of speech and paralysed tongue. There is a fear of water and excessive thirst. To speak each word louder is typical of Hyoscyamus.

Hyoscyamus is wild with a wild look in the eyes and wild behaviour. The patient may act like a clown, wear ridiculous clothes, jump out of bed, pick the bedclothes and display angular and clutching movements. Everything they do is exaggerated. He may love to wear hats and make-up.

We also see disturbances of sleep. Hyoscyamus may jerk and cry out, grind their teeth twitch, tremble, or laugh.

The remedy is worse from sleep.

Dr BARBARA ETCOVITCH is a Classical Homeopath, Interfaith Minister, freelance writer, and lecturer. She has a BA from Sir George Williams University, a MA in Literature from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and a Diploma in Classical Homeopathy from the School of Homeopathy, Devon, England. She was ordained by the All Faiths Seminary International in New York City in 2004. She has been in homeopathic practice for 30+ years treating human and animals alike, from her office in Montreal, Canada, and worldwide via Skype and WhatsApp.

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