Jimsonweed - Datura stramonium

Family: Solanaceae (Potato family) [E-flora]

[IFBC-E-flora]

[E-flora]

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry waste places in the lowland and steppe zones; rare in S BC; introduced from Mexico. [IFBC-E-flora]
D. stramonium is found throughout the eastern United States, frequently in fields and along roadsides. [Nyerges]

Identification

Datura stramonium is a ANNUAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Moths.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.[PFAF] [PFAF]

Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora]
General: Annual herb from a fibrous root; stems erect, solitary, branched, smooth, 50-150 cm tall. [IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves egg-shaped, irregularly toothed or angled, shallowly lobed, 5-20 cm long, 4-15 cm wide. [IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: Inflorescence of terminal, single flowers; corollas white, tubular, the tubes 6-10 cm long, the limbs 3-5 cm tall, shallowly lobed with projecting teeth up to 1 cm long; calyces 3.5-5 cm long, shortly 5-lobed. [IFBC-E-flora]
Fruits: Capsules, dry, dehiscent egg-shaped, 3-5 cm long, densely prickly; seeds poisonous. [IFBC-E-flora]


Hazards


Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

The thornapple is a bitter narcotic plant that relieves pain and encourages healing[238]. 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[1, 4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 46, 165, 238, 240]. [PFAF]


Lore & History

The name Jimsonweed is a corruption of the word Jamestown, after Jamestown, Virginia. It was there, in 1676, that soldiers confused D. stramonium for a potherb (they probably thought it was a chenopodium or an atriplex) and ate it, afterwards experiencing visions and hallucinations. The plant was then referred to as Jamestown weed and has steadily evolved to its present form. [Nyerges]

"In that quaint old work, ''History and Present State of Virginia'' (1705), by Robert Beverly, the author gives a curious account of what happened to some soldiers who made a boiled dish of the early shoots of the plant, supposing them to be edible potherbs. ''Some of them eat plentifully of it,'' writes Master Beverly, ''the Effect of which was a very pleasant Comedy; for they turn'd natural Fools upon it for several Days: One would blow up a Feather in the Air; another would dart Straws at it with much Fury; another, stark naked, was sitting in a Corner, like a Monkey, grinning and making mows at them; a Fourth would fondly kiss and paw his Companions and snear in their Faces with a Countenance more antick than any Dutch Droll. ... A thousand such simple Tricks they play'd, and after Eleven Days, return 'd to themselves again, not remembering anything that had pass'd.''" [Saunders]

The most widespread use of the plant has been as a drink made from the roots and seeds, used as a ceremony for Native American boys' puberty rites. Native American shamans are also said to have used this plant to induce a state of mind where they could see future events and learn some of nature's secrets. The Native American ceremonial uses of this plant are described in detail in The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. There is a saying: "The stems and leaves are used for medicine, the roots and seeds for divination, but the flowers will drive you mad." The root often has the appearance of a human body, somewhat akin to the appearance of a ginseng root, though the jimson root is much larger. This is one of the plants witches are said to have made into an ointment, which they rubbed all over their bodies in order to fly. [Nyerges]

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Saturn
Element: Water
Powers: Hex-Breaking, Sleep, Protection
Ritual Uses: Datura has been used in shamanic practices and religious rites for untold centuries. The Aztecs considered the plant to be sacred.
Magical Uses: Datura is used to break spells by sprinkling it around the home. It also protects against evil spirits. If insomnia persists night after night, it may be cured by placing some datura leaves into each shoe and then setting the shoes under the bed with the toes pointing toward the nearest wall. A few datura leaves placed on the crown of a hat protects the wearer from apoplexy as well as sunstroke.[EMH Cunningham]

THORN-APPLE (Datura stramonium, or virtually any of the genus) seeds, in both the old and new worlds, were administered in various ways as love potions (Safford), and the roots were used, too, according to Haining; he says they were burned at the Sabbats in order to excite (and also to overcome) women for sexual motives. Similarly, a 17th century medical report claims that the seeds given to anyone will cause that victim to be at the complete mercy of the practitioner for 24 hours, “and you can do what you like with him; he notices nothing, understands nothing”, and will remember nothing (Haining). That sounds very like Voodoo magic, and what was certainly Voodoo practice was to pound the seeds up with the dried head of a snake. The mixture was used “to produce a mysterious and baffling blindness” (Puckett. 1926). [DPL Watts] "In India, women known as "mundane ladies" (prostitutes) would use "knockout drops" (D. metel) for intoxicating, then robbing, their clients." [TMRU]


Pharmacology

"Jimsonweed Case series indicate that agitation, confusion, hallucinations, and combative behavior are common clinical manifestations of jimsonweed poisoning in patients presenting to emergency departments for treatment, particularly in adolescents who drank tea brewed from these plants.53,54 In a review of case studies of jimsonweed intoxication from the smoking of D. stramonium cigarettes, dryness of the mouth and pupillary dilation were the earliest signs of intoxication.32 Other clinical signs of toxicity in these cases included hallucinations (83%), disorientation (54%), dilated pupils (54%), dry mucous membranes (46%), fever (31%), ataxia (26%), rapid pulse (20%), amnesia (19%), and fl ushing (19%). Hallucinations usually involve simple images in natural colors, in contrast with the brilliant visual displays seen with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The presence of bowel sounds and diaphoresis suggests an adrenergic (cocaine, amphetamine) excess rather than an anticholinergic (jimsonweed) poisoning. Tactile hallucinations are uncommon. Amnesia may last up to 24 hours during anticholinergic intoxication.55 Seizures occur rarely during jimsonweed intoxication,31,56,57 but patients may present in coma, particularly following the ingestion of teas.58 Fatalities usually result from trauma or drowning rather than medical complications (respiratory failure, arrhythmias).32,49,59 Symptoms typically resolve in 24 to 48 hours, although pupillary dilation may continue up to 1 week.60,61" [TNS]

"Proliferation of jimsonweed in cornfields has led to an occupational disease known as cornpicker ’ s pupil in which the pulverized jimsonweed dust caused mydriasis for several days after mechanical harvesting.62,63 Asymmetrical anisocoria can occur in patients following ocular contact with parts of Datura species, and this effect usually resolves within 3 days.64" [TNS]

The concentration of hyoscyamine in the seeds of Datura stramonium can reach concentrations of 0.2 - 0.6% [2]. The tropane alkaloids are acetylcholine antagonists acting at the muscarinic cholinergic receptors in the autonomic nervous system, central nervous system, heart, and digestive systems. Most cases of poisoning are reported in humans who deliberately consume the seeds or make tea from the leaves to experience the hallucinogenic properties of the tropane alkaloids [3,4]. Although the alkaloids are hallucinogenic, the profound effects of the alkaloids on the nervous system can and do cause fatalities.[DP2]

Analgesic (1; CRC; JFM; ZUL); Anesthetic (1; CRC; VAG); Antiasthmatic (f; CRC); Anticholinergic (1; CRC; PH2; ZUL); Anticholinesterase (1; WBB); Antihistaminic (1; ZUL); Antiinflammatory (1; ZUL); Antiparkinsonian (f; CRC); Antiseptic (1; ZUL); Antisialagogue (1; CRC; TRA; VAG); Antispasmodic (1; JFM; TRA; ZUL); Aphrodisiac (f; VAG);Bronchoconstrictor (1; TRA); CNS-Sedative (1; TRA; VAG); CNS-Stimulant (1; TRA; VAG); Fungicide (1; ZUL); Hallucinogen (1; JFM; PH2; VAG); Hypnotic (f; HHB; ZUL); Lactifuge (f; ZUL); Mydriatic (f; CRC); Narcotic (1; CRC; ZUL); Nervine (f; HHB); Parasympatholytic (1; PH2; TRA); Poison (1; CRC); Sedative (1; ZUL).[HMH Duke]

Decontamination: "Due to decreased GI motility, lavage may be useful unless the patient is symptomatic with anticholinergic toxidrome Supportive therapy: Physostigmine may be useful to treat life-threatening anticholinergic symptoms; physostigmine should not be used in this ingestion if tricyclic antidepressants are a suspected coingestant due to the potential for seizures; propranolol can be used to help in treating cardiovascular complications; benzodiazepines should be used for treatment of agitation." [PTH]


Phytochemicals

Datura stramonium L. - Solanaceae [DukePhyt]
Part /Lo ppm /Hi ppm /Reference

  • 3ALPHA,6BETA-DITIGLOYLOXYTROPANE Plant DUKE1992A
  • 4-HYDROXYLUBIMIN Plant DUKE1992A
  • ACETIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • ACETONE Leaf DUKE1992A
  • ACONITIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • ALKALOIDS Fruit 4600 DUKE1992A
  • ALKALOIDS Root 2100 DUKE1992A
  • ALKALOIDS Stem 2500 2600 DUKE1992A
  • ALKALOIDS Seed 5000 DUKE1992A
  • ALKALOIDS Plant 1000 5000 DUKE1992A
  • ALKALOIDS Leaf 2500 5100 DUKE1992A
  • ALPHA-KETO-GLUTARIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • APOATROPINE Plant DUKE1992A
  • ASCORBIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • ATROPAMINE Plant DUKE1992A
  • ATROPINE Plant 800 1000 DUKE1992A
  • ATROPINESTERASE Plant DUKE1992A
  • BUTANOL Leaf DUKE1992A
  • CAFFEIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • CAPSIDOL Plant DUKE1992A
  • CHLOROGENIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • CITRIC-ACID Plant 750 DUKE1992A
  • CUSCOHYGRINE Leaf DUKE1992A
  • DATUGEN Plant DUKE1992A
  • DATUGENIN Plant DUKE1992A
  • DITIGLOYL-D-DEHYDROXYTROPANE Plant DUKE1992A
  • EO Leaf 450 DUKE1992A
  • ESCULETIN Plant DUKE1992A
  • ETHANOL Plant DUKE1992A
  • FAT Seed 150000 300000 DUKE1992A
  • FERULIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • FLURODATURATINE Plant DUKE1992A
  • FORMALDEHYDE Plant DUKE1992A
  • FORMIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • FUMARIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • GALACTOSE Leaf DUKE1992A
  • GLUCOSE Leaf DUKE1992A
  • GLYCOLIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • HOMOFLURODATURATINE Plant DUKE1992A
  • HYOSCINE Leaf 550 2500 DUKE1992A
  • HYOSCINE Seed 1200 5000 DUKE1992A
  • HYOSCYAMINE Seed 80 490 DUKE1992A
  • ISOBUTYRALDEHYDE Plant DUKE1992A
  • LACTIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • LIGNOCERIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • LINOLEIC-ACID Seed 22500 45000 DUKE1992A
  • MALIC-ACID Plant 2120 DUKE1992A
  • METELOIDINE Leaf DUKE1992A
  • METHANOL Leaf DUKE1992A
  • NEO-CHLOROGENIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • NICOTINE Plant DUKE1992A
  • OLEIC-ACID Seed 93000 186000 DUKE1992A
  • PALMITIC-ACID Seed 15000 30000 DUKE1992A
  • POTASSIUM-NITRATE Plant DUKE1992A
  • PROPIONALDEHYDE Plant DUKE1992A
  • PROTEIN Seed 140000 194000 DUKE1992A
  • PUTRESCINE Plant DUKE1992A
  • RUTIN Plant DUKE1992A
  • SCOPIN Plant DUKE1992A
  • SCOPOLAMINE Seed 53 3050 DUKE1992A
  • SCOPOLETIN Plant DUKE1992A
  • SCOPOLIN Plant DUKE1992A
  • SITOSTEROL Seed DUKE1992A
  • SOPHOROSE Leaf DUKE1992A
  • STEARIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • SUCCINIC-ACID Plant DUKE1992A
  • TANNIN Plant 70000 DUKE1992A
  • TIGLOYLMETELOIDIN Plant 5 25 DUKE1992A
  • UMBELLIFERONE Plant DUKE1992A
  • VITASTRAMONOLIDE Plant DUKE1992A

The Datura stramonium leaf usually contains 0.2–0.45% of alkaloids, principally (-)-hyosycamine and (-)-hyoscine in a ratio of about 2:1.[HPEP]

Low amounts of calystegines were detected in Datura stramonium (Iimson-weed) but none in Nicotiana species. [AlkaloidsChemical&BiologicalPerspectives V.11]

COMPOUNDS: JIMSON WEED LEAF

Tropane alkaloids (0.1-0.65%): chief alkaloids (-)-hyoscyamine, under drying conditions changing over to some extent into atropine and scopolamine (ratio 4:1), furthermore including, among others, apoatropine, belladonnine, tigloylmeteloidin
Flavonoids
Hydroxycoumarins: including, among others, umbelliferone, scopolin, scopoletin
Withanolide: including, among others, withastramonolide

COMPOUNDS: JIMSON WEED SEED

Tropane alkaloids (0.4-0.6%): chief alkaloids (-)-hyoscyamine, under drying conditions changing over to some extent into atropine, and scopolamine (ratio 4:1).
Indole alkaloids ($-carboline type): including, among others, fluorodaturin (very fluorescent).
Lectins
Fatty oil (15-45%) [PDR]
Proteins (12-25%) [PDR]


Propagation

Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse[200]. 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 15oc. 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.[PFAF]


Cultivation

Succeeds in most moderately good soils but prefers a rich light sandy soil or a calcareous loam, and an open sunny position[1, 4, 200]. Plants often self-sow when well sited[1]. The thornapple is cultivated commercially as a medicinal plant[57]. It can become a weed in suitable conditions and is subject to statutory control in some countries[238]. 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[200]. Grows well with pumpkins[20]. The whole plant gives off a nauseating stench[245]. [PFAF] "They are easily grown from seeds, which sprout quickly even without bottom heat. Does well in rich soil in a dry, sunny location. May be sown in the open in May in mounds 18 inches apart with four seeds in each mound. Thin out all but the healthiest plant after sprouting."[GrowingTheHallucinogens]

Growing Cycle: The plant has a rather large forking taproot, about the size of a slender carrot and reaching about two feet into the ground. The persistent root produces new foliage each spring; thus it is a perennial. During the winter, you'll see the dried staiks with the seed capsules still clinging. [Nyerges]


DATURA JIMSON WEED

Annual to subshrub, hairs ± 0 or simple, ill-smelling. Leaf: entire to deeply lobed. Inflorescence: flowers 1 in branch forks. Flower: calyx circumscissile near base, leaving ± rotate collar in fruit; corolla funnel-shaped, white or ± purple, lobes 5(10); stamens attached below tube middle; ovary 2- or 4-chambered. Fruit: capsule, leathery or woody, prickly; valves 2–4 or irregular. Seed: ± flat, black, brown, gray-brown, or tan.
± 13 species: warm regions, especially Mexico; several ornamental, some source of drugs. (Hindu: ancient name) All species. TOXIC. [Jepson2012]

Local Species;

  1. Datura stramonium - jimsonweed [E-flora]

References

  1. [COAA]https://prezi.com/mmkgj9rdqp73/coming-of-age-algonquin-tribe/, Accessed Feb 1, 2015
  2. [DukePhyt]http://sun.ars-grin.gov:8080/npgspub/xsql/duke/plantdisp.xsql?taxon=356, Accessed Feb 1, 2015
  3. E-flora]http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Datura%20stramonium, Accessed Feb 1, 2015
  4. [Jepson2012] Michael H. Nee, 2012. Datura ferox, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=22381, accessed on Oct 14 2013
  5. [PFAF]http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Datura+stramonium, Accessed Feb 1, 2015

Page last modified on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 5:00 AM