Christine (mintywolf) wrote in little_details,

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Poisonous Women from Herb Usage

So I used to research the lore and historical use of poisonous herbs as a hobby and I remember reading about a myth or legend about a group of women in ancient times (I want to say Greece or Rome, or that's where the legend circulated) who had regularly taken a particular deadly herb so that they were not only accustomed to it, but that they themselves gained poisonous qualities and having physical contact or sleeping with them was deadly.

Unfortunately I cannot for the life of me remember where I read this or even what herb it was.  I thought it was belladonna, but I haven't been able to find anything that sounds similar to what I remember.  I've searched the entries for belladonna in Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Herbs and Things, and on and Wikipedia, and done google searches for various combinations of "belladonna poisonous women" "deadly nightshade poisonous women," "deadly nightshade lore" "poisonous women" etc but haven't found what I'm looking for.

So does anyone happen to have heard this legend or know what herb I'm talking about?  And if there was a certain name for the poisonous herb-eating women?  And also if it was just a myth or something that was purported to actually happen and sailors were warned away from them or something.

Thank you for your help!
Tags: ~folklore (misc)
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