This vegetable delights in a moist, shady situation : it may be propagated in autumn, when the stalks begin to decay, either by parting the roots, or by sowing the seeds, soon after they become ripe. It is a very hardy plant, and requires no other care than to be kept clear from weeds.
The German Leopard's-Bane possesses an acrid, bitter taste ; and, on bruising it, emits a pungent odour, which excites sneezing. Hence the country people, in some parts of Germany, employ it in snuff, and smoke it as a substitute for tobacco.
Various medicinal properties are attributed to this vegetable : it has been chiefly recommended in paralytic affections, and in cases of gutta serena. For the removal of such disorders, an infusion is to be made, of from one to four drams of the flowers, in a pint of boiling water; and the liquor to be taken in divided doses, in the course of the day. Although the use of this remedy is frequently attended with no sensible operation, yet sometimes it produces vomiting, sweating, or a copious discharge of urine ; urine; and, in some paralytic cases, the cure is said to be preceded by a peculiar prickling sensation, and by shooting pains in the affected parts. It has also of late been recommended as a very powerful antispasmodic ; and it is said to have been successfully employed in agues, as well as in gangrenous affections ; where it is asserted to be equally efficacious as the Peruvian bark, when administered in the form of an electuary with honey. But, as the alledged virtues of the German Leopard's-bane, have not hitherto been confirmed by the experience of British practitioners, the real efficacy of this active plant remains to be ascertained by future observations. If, however, too large a dose of ne should have been swallowed by mistake, its most effectual antidote will be vinegar, which ought to be taken without delay, in copious draughts.