Datura Datura stramonium
Annual
Flowers July-Oct. Seed ripens Aug.-Oct.
Common Names / Habitat / Magickal Uses / Edible Uses / Medicinal Uses / Cultivation / Propagation

Common Names: Angel's Trumpet, Apple Of Peru, Buenas Tardes, Chamico, Chamisco, Cocombre Zombie, Cojon De Diablo, Concombre Zombie, Cornicopio, Daturah, Doornappelkruid, Estramoni, Estramonio, Feng Ch'Ieh Erh, Figuiero Do Inferno, Floribunda, Galurt, Gemeiner Stechapfel, Jamestown Weed, Jimson, Jimson Weed, Jimsonweed, Man T'O Lo, Nafeer, Noce Del Diavolo, Nongue, Opium Tropical, Pomme Epineuse, Pomme Poison, Stinkblaren, Stinkweed, Stramoine, Stramonium, Tapate, Thorn Apple, Thorn-Apple, Thornapple

Habitat: Dry waste ground and amongst rubble or the ruins of old buildings. It is found in most of the continental US from New England to Texas, Florida to the far western states.

Magickal Uses:

Edible Uses: None known.

Medicinal Uses: Anodyne; Anthelmintic; Antiasthmatic; Antidandruff; Antiinflammatory; Antispasmodic; Hallucinogenic; Hypnotic; Mydriatic; Narcotic. The thornapple is a bitter narcotic plant that relieves pain and encourages healing. It has a long history of use as a herbal medicine, though it is very poisonous and should be used with extreme caution. The leaves, flowering tops and seeds are anodyne, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, hallucinogenic, hypnotic, mydriatic and narcotic. The seeds are the most active medicinally. The plant is used internally in the treatment of asthma and Parkinson's disease, excess causes giddiness, dry mouth, hallucinations and coma. Externally, it is used as a poultice or wash in the treatment of fistulas, abcesses, wounds and severe neuralgia. The use of this plant is subject to legal restrictions in some countries. It should be used with extreme caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner since all parts of the plant are very poisonous and the difference between a medicinal dose and a toxic dose is very small. See below. The leaves should be harvested when the plant is in full flower, they are then dried for later use. The leaves can be used as a very powerful mind-altering drug, they contain hyoscyamine and atropine. There are also traces of scopolamine, a potent cholinergic-blocking halucinogen, which has been used to calm schizoid patients. Atropine dilates the pupils and is used in eye surgery. The leaves have been smoked as an antispasmodic in the treatment for asthma, though this practice is extremely dangerous. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter and acrid taste with a cooling and very poisonous potency. Analgesic, anthelmintic and antiinflammatory, they are used in the treatment of stomach and intestinal pain due to worm infestation, toothache and fever from inflammations. The juice of the fruit is applied to the scalp to treat dandruff.

Cultivation: Succeeds in most moderately good soils but prefers a rich light sandy soil or a calcareous loam, and an open sunny position. Plants often self-sow when well sited. The thornapple is cultivated commercially as a medicinal plant. It can become a weed in suitable conditions and is subject to statutory control in some countries. This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes. Grows well with pumpkins. The whole plant gives off a nauseating stench.

Propagation: Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse. Put 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and thin if necessary to the best plant. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 6 weeks at 15c. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Especially in areas with hot summers, it is worthwhile trying a sowing outdoors in situ in mid to late spring.

From the 2000 Horizon Herbs catalog:

Easy. Direct seed in warm, sunny location or start in greenhouse in flats or pots. Likes full sun. It is easy to over-water Daturas, which tend to grow better if slightly water-starved. Given the right conditions, a Datura plant can easily sprawl 6 feet, so plenty of space should be allowed between plants.

Mode of Poisoning: Ingestion.

Poisonous Part: All parts, mainly seeds and leaves.

Symptoms: Hot, dry, and flushed skin, hallucinations, pupil dilation, headache, delirium, rapid and weak pulse, convulsions, and coma.

Toxic Principle:Tropane alkaloids.

Severity: TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN.

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