1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bhang

BHANG, an East Indian name for the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see Hemp), but applied specially to the leaves dried and prepared for use as a narcotic drug. In India the products of the plant for use as a narcotic and intoxicant are recognized under the three names and forms of Bhang, Gunja or Ganja, and Churrus or Charas. Bhang consists of the larger leaves and capsules of the plant on which an efflorescence of resinous matter has occurred. The leaves are in broken and partly agglutinated pieces, having a dark-green colour and a heavy but not unpleasant smell. Bhang is used in India for smoking, with or without tobacco; it is prepared in the form of a cake or manjan, and it is made into an intoxicating beverage by infusing in cold water and straining. Gunja is the flowering or fruit-bearing tops of the female plants. It is gathered in stalks of several inches in length, the tops of which form a matted mass, from the agglutination of flowers, seeds and leaflets by the abundant resinous exudation which coats them. Churrus is the crude resinous substance separated from the plant. The use of preparations of hemp among the Mussulman and Hindu population of India is very general; and the habit also obtains among the population of central Asia, the Arabs and Egyptians, extending even to the negroes of the valley of the Zambezi and the Hottentots of South Africa. The habit appears to date from very remote times, for Herodotus says of the Scythians, that they creep inside huts and throw hemp seeds on hot stones.