Flying ointment

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Flying ointment is a hallucinogenic blend of plant extracts, fat, oils, soot, and blood. Recipes vary greatly depending on the version and use. Due to its involvement with the Mandrake and its reference as an anointing oil in the Compendium Maleficarum for the Hand of Glory, the ointment is intimately related to other folklore practices. The ointment allowed the witches to "fly" by producing vivid visions. The ointment contains a variety of different poisons, some of are only numbing (aconitine), some only respiratory (coniine), but the safest are nervous which are the anticholinergic deliriant tropane alkaloids: scopolamine and hyoscyamine (atropine is more cardiac and dangerous, but it is not absorbed through the skin).[1] Even with just the psychotropic plants, the chemicals in flying ointment are still deadly.


Hallucinogenic components

  • Atropa belladonna - Deadly Nightshade
  • Mandragora officinarum - Mandrake
  • Datura - Devil's Trumpet
  • Hyoscyamus niger - Black Henbane
  • Lactuca virosa - Opium lettuce

Poisonous plants

  • Aconitum - Wolfsbane
  • Conium maculatum

Other plants

  • Apeum graveolens - Celery
  • Potentilla reptans
  • Populus - Poplar
  • Sium latifolium - Water parsnip

Other ingredients

  • Oil
  • Infant fat
  • Grave wax (Adipocere)
  • Soot
  • Bat's blood


Effects of applying flying ointment to the skin are:[2]

  • Delirium
  • Stupor
  • Confabulation [3]
  • Bodily sensations of flying or falling, euphoria, ecstasy
  • Hallucinations[4]
  • Delusions
  • Distortion of time
  • Dizziness
  • Distorted, warped, glitched, or blurred vision
  • Weakness
  • Sedation
  • Agitation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Anxiety, intense impending sense of doom and terror
  • Hyperthermia
  • Dry mouth
  • Pupil dilation
  • Tachycardia

In overdose (lethal):

  • Heart failure
  • Stroke


  • Harner, Michael (1973). Hallucinogens and Shamanism. – See the chapter "The Role of Hallucinogenic Plants in European Witchcraft"
  • Scot, Reginald. The Discoverie of Witchcraft. London: n.p., 1584. Print.


  1. Heath, Andrew J. (2002). Monograph on Atropine. International Program on Chemical Safety Evaluation. 
  2. Erowid Datura Effects. 
  3. Talan, Jamie (July–August 2008). Common Drugs May Cause Cognitive Problems. Neurology Now. DOI:10.1097/01.NNN.0000333835.93556.d1. 
  4. Bersani, F. S.; Corazza, O.; Simonato, P.; Mylokosta, A.; Levari, E.; Lovaste, R.; Schifano, F. (2013). Drops of madness? Recreational misuse of tropicamide collyrium; early warning alerts from Russia and Italy. General Hospital Psychiatry. DOI:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2013.04.013. PMID 23706777.