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Datura stramonium, known by the English names jimsonweed (jimson weed) or devil's snare,[2] is a plant in the nightshade family. Its likely origin was in Central America,[2][3] and it has been introduced in many world regions.[4][5][6] It is an aggressive invasive weed in temperate climates across the world.[2]

Jimsonweed
Datura stramonium 2 (2005 07 07).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Datura
Species:
D. stramonium
Binomial name
Datura stramonium
Synonyms[1]

D. stramonium has been used in various treatments of traditional medicine or drug abuse as well as a hallucinogen and deliriant that is taken entheogenically for intense visions.[2] It contains tropane alkaloids which produce the hallucinogenic properties, and may be severely toxic.[2][7]

DescriptionEdit

 
Mature (left) and immature (right) seed pods

D. stramonium is a foul-smelling, erect, annual, freely branching herb that forms a bush up to 60 to 150 cm (2 to 5 ft) tall.[8][9][10]

The root is long, thick, fibrous, and white. The stem is stout, erect, leafy, smooth, and pale yellow-green to reddish purple in color. The stem forks off repeatedly into branches and each fork forms a leaf and a single, erect flower.[10]

The leaves are about 8 to 20 cm (3–8 in) long, smooth, toothed,[9] soft, and irregularly undulated.[10] The upper surface of the leaves is a darker green, and the bottom is a light green.[9] The leaves have a bitter and nauseating taste, which is imparted to extracts of the herb, and remains even after the leaves have been dried.[10]

D. stramonium generally flowers throughout the summer. The fragrant flowers are trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet, and 6 to 9 cm (2 123 12 in) long, and grow on short stems from either the axils of the leaves or the places where the branches fork. The calyx is long and tubular, swollen at the bottom, and sharply angled, surmounted by five sharp teeth. The corolla, which is folded and only partially open, is white, funnel-shaped, and has prominent ribs. The flowers open at night, emitting a pleasant fragrance, and are fed upon by nocturnal moths.[10]

The egg-shaped seed capsule is 3 to 8 cm (1–3 in) in diameter and either covered with spines or bald. At maturity, it splits into four chambers, each with dozens of small, black seeds.[10]

 
Fruits and seeds – MHNT


Etymology and common namesEdit

The genus name is derived from the plant's Hindi name, dhatūra, ultimately from Sanskrit dhattūra 'white thorn-apple'.[11] Stramonium is originally from Greek στρύχνος "nightshade" and μανιακός "mad".[12]

In the United States, the plant is called "jimsonweed", or more rarely "Jamestown weed" deriving from the town of Jamestown, Virginia, where English soldiers consumed it while attempting to suppress Bacon's Rebellion. They spent 11 days in altered mental states:

The James-Town Weed (which resembles the Thorny Apple of Peru, and I take to be the plant so call'd) is supposed to be one of the greatest coolers in the world. This being an early plant, was gather'd very young for a boil'd salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon (1676); and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned 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; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.

In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves—though it was observed that all their actions were full of innocence and good nature. Indeed, they were not very cleanly; for they would have wallowed in their own excrements if they had not been prevented. A thousand such simple tricks they played, and after eleven days returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.

— Robert Beverley, Jr., The History and Present State of Virginia, Book II: Of the Natural Product and Conveniencies in Its Unimprov'd State, Before the English Went Thither, 1705[13]

Common names for D. stramonium vary by region[2] and include thornapple and moon flower,[14] and it has the Spanish name toloache.[15] Other names for the plant include hell's bells, devil's trumpet, devil's weed, tolguacha, Jamestown weed, stinkweed, locoweed, pricklyburr, false castor oil plant,[16] devil's cucumber,[17] and thornapple.[18]

Range and habitatEdit

D. stramonium is native to North America, but was spread widely to the Old World early.[2] It was scientifically described and named by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753, although it had been described a century earlier by botanists such as Nicholas Culpeper.[19] Today, it grows wild in all the world's warm and moderate regions, where it is found along roadsides and at dung-rich livestock enclosures.[20][21][22] In Europe, it is found as a weed in garbage dumps and wastelands,[20] and is toxic to animals consuming it.[23]

Through observation, the seed is thought to be carried by birds and spread in their droppings. Its seeds can lie dormant underground for years and germinate when the soil is disturbed. The Royal Horticultural Society has advised worried gardeners to dig it up or have it otherwise removed,[24] while wearing gloves to handle it.[25]

ToxicityEdit

All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics.[2][7] The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur among recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects.[7][20][26]

The amount of toxins varies widely from plant to plant. As much as a 5:1 variation can be found between plants, and a given plant's toxicity depends on its age, where it is growing, and the local weather conditions.[20] Additionally, within a given plant, toxin concentration varies by part and even from leaf to leaf. When the plant is younger, the ratio of scopolamine to atropine is about 3:1; after flowering, this ratio is reversed, with the amount of scopolamine continuing to decrease as the plant gets older.[27] In traditional cultures, a great deal of experience with and detailed knowledge of Datura was critical to minimize harm.[20] An individual seed contains about 0.1 mg of atropine, and the approximate fatal dose for adult humans is >10 mg atropine or >2–4 mg scopolamine.[28]

Datura intoxication typically produces delirium, hallucination, hyperthermia, tachycardia, bizarre behavior, urinary retention, and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days.[7] Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.[29] The onset of symptoms generally occurs around 30 to 60 minutes after ingesting the herb. These symptoms generally last from 24 to 48 hours, but have been reported in some cases to last as long as 2 weeks.[30]

As with other cases of anticholinergic poisoning, intravenous physostigmine can be administered in severe cases as an antidote.[31]

UseEdit

Traditional medicineEdit

 
D. stramonium var. tatula, flower (front)

The active agent in datura is atropine which has been used in traditional medicine and recreational abuse over centuries.[2][7] The leaves are generally smoked either in a cigarette or a pipe. During the late 18th century, James Anderson, the English Physician General of the East India Company, learned of the practice and popularized it in Europe.[32][33]

The Zuni people once used datura as an analgesic to render patients unconscious while broken bones were set.[34] The Chinese also used it as a form of anesthesia during surgery.[35]

Early European medicineEdit

John Gerard's Herball (1597) states,[10]

[T]he juice of Thornapple, boiled with hog's grease, cureth all inflammations whatsoever, all manner of burnings and scaldings, as well of fire, water, boiling lead, gunpowder, as that which comes by lightning and that in very short time, as myself have found in daily practice, to my great credit and profit.

William Lewis reported in the late 18th century that the juice could be made into "a very powerful remedy in various convulsive and spasmodic disorders, epilepsy and mania," and was also "found to give ease in external inflammations and haemorrhoids."[36]

Henry Hyde Salter discusses D. stramonium as a treatment for asthma in his 19th-century work On Asthma: its Pathology and Treatment.

Spiritualism and occultEdit

 
Seed capsule, showing dehiscence by four valves to release seeds

The ancient inhabitants of what became central and southern California used to ingest the small black seeds of datura to "commune with deities through visions".[37] Across the Americas, other indigenous peoples, such as the Algonquian, Navajo, Cherokee, Luiseño and the indigenous peoples of Marie-Galante also used this plant in sacred ceremonies for its hallucinogenic properties.[38][39][40] In Ethiopia, some students and debtrawoch (lay priests), use D. stramonium to "open the mind" to be more receptive to learning, and creative and imaginative thinking.[41]

The common name "datura" has its origins in India, where the sister species Datura metel is considered particularly sacred — believed to be a favorite of Shiva in Shaivism.[42] Both Datura stramonium and D. metel have reportedly been used by some sadhus and charnel ground ascetics, such as the Aghori as both an entheogen and ordeal poison. It was sometimes mixed with cannabis as well as highly poisonous plants like Aconitum ferox to intentionally create dysphoric experiences.[43] They used unpleasant or toxic plants such as these in order to achieve spiritual liberation (moksha) in settings of extreme horror and discomfort.[44][45]

Among its sacred and visionary purposes, jimson weed has also garnered a reputation for its magical uses in various cultures throughout history. In his book, The Serpent and the Rainbow, Wade Davis identified D. stramonium, called "zombi cucumber" in Haiti, as a central ingredient of the concoction vodou priests use to create zombies.[46][47] However others have noted that the process of zombification is not directly performed by vodou priests of the loa but rather, bokors. [48] In European witchcraft, D. stramonium was also a common ingredient used for making witches' flying ointment along with other poisonous plants of the nightshade family.[49] It was often responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of magical or lycanthropic salves and potions.[50][51]

CultivationEdit

Datura prefers rich, calcareous soil. Adding nitrogen fertilizer to the soil increases the concentration of alkaloids present in the plant. Datura can be grown from seed, which is sown with several feet between plants. It is sensitive to frost, so should be sheltered during cold weather. The plant is harvested when the fruits are ripe, but still green. To harvest, the entire plant is cut down, the leaves are stripped from the plant, and everything is left to dry. When the fruits begin to burst open, the seeds are harvested. For intensive plantations, leaf yields of 1,100 to 1,700 kilograms per hectare (1,000 to 1,500 lb/acre) and seed yields of 780 kg/ha (700 lb/acre) are possible.[52]

In cultureEdit

The American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) painted jimson weed several times. She was fond of the flowers, which grew wild around her New Mexico house. These paintings of the exotic white pinwheel blooms, hugely magnified, are among her most familiar works.[53] In 2014 one such painting sold for $44 million, a record price for a female artist’s work.[54] It was also used as the basis of the drug known as Bliss in the video game Far Cry 5.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Plant List, Datura stramonium L.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Datura stramonium (jimsonweed)". CABI. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Datura stramonium in Flora of China @ efloras.org". www.efloras.org. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Datura stramonium". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  5. ^ "Biota of North America Program, 2014 county distribution map". bonap.net.
  6. ^ Australia, Atlas of Living. "Datura stramonium : Common thornapple | Atlas of Living Australia". bie.ala.org.au. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e Glatstein, Miguel; Alabdulrazzaq, Fatoumah; Scolnik, Dennis (2016). "Belladonna Alkaloid Intoxication". American Journal of Therapeutics. 23 (1): e74–e77. doi:10.1097/01.mjt.0000433940.91996.16. ISSN 1075-2765. PMID 24263161.
  8. ^ Stace, Clive (1997). New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. p. 532. ISBN 978-0-521-65315-2.
  9. ^ a b c Henkel, Alice (1911). "Jimson weed". American Medicinal Leaves and Herbs. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 30.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Grieve, Maud (1971). A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs, & Trees with All Their Modern Scientific Uses, Volume 2. Dover Publications. p. 804. ISBN 978-0-486-22799-3.
  11. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). A Sanskrit-English dictionary : etymologically and philologically arranged with special reference to cognate Indo-European languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/MWScan/2014/web/index.php. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Datura species". Plants Poisonous to Livestock. Cornell University Department of Animal Science. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  13. ^ Beverley, Robert. "Book II: Of the Natural Product and Conveniencies in Its Unimprov'd State, Before the English Went Thither". The History and Present State of Virginia, In Four Parts. University of North Carolina. p. 24 (Book II). Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  14. ^ "Jimsonweed". University of Texas El Paso / Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program & Paso del Norte Health Foundation. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  15. ^ "Detailed Information: Jimsonweed". University of Texas El Paso / Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program & Paso del Norte Health Foundation. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  16. ^ Joseph Henry Maiden (1920). The Weeds of New South Wales. 1. W.A. Gullick, Government printer. p. 76. Thorn Apple or False Castor Oil Plant)
  17. ^ "Thorn-apple, Datura stramonium – Flowers – NatureGate". luontoportti.com.
  18. ^ Bunney, Sarah. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs.
  19. ^ Culpeper, Nicholas (1653), Culpeper's Complete Herbal, Slough: W Foulsham & Co Ltd, pp. 368–369, ISBN 978-0-572-00203-9
  20. ^ a b c d e Preissel, Ulrike & Hans-Georg Preissel (2002). Brugmansia and Datura: Angel's Trumpets and Thorn Apples. Firefly Books. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-1-55209-598-0.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  21. ^ Veblen, K.E. (2012). "Savanna glade hotspots: Plant community development and synergy with large herbivores". Journal of Arid Environments. 78: 119–127. Bibcode:2012JArEn..78..119V. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2011.10.016.
  22. ^ Oudhia P., Tripathi R.S.(1998).Allelopathic potential of Datura stramonium L.. Crop. Res. 16 (1) : 37-40.
  23. ^ Cortinovis, Cristina; Caloni, Francesca (8 December 2015). "Alkaloid-containing plants poisonous to cattle and horses in Europe". Toxins. 7 (12): 5301–5307. doi:10.3390/toxins7124884. ISSN 2072-6651. PMC 4690134. PMID 26670251.
  24. ^ "Deadly Harry Potter plant devil's snare turns up in Suffolk pensioner's garden". Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  25. ^ "There's a devil in my garden..." Dawlish Newspapers. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  26. ^ AJ Giannini,Drugs of Abuse--Second Edition. Los Angeles, Practice Management Information Corporation, pp.48-51. ISBN 1-57066-053-0.
  27. ^ Nellis, David W. (1997). Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean. Pineapple Press. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-56164-111-6.
  28. ^ Arnett AM (December 1995). "Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium) poisoning". Clinical Toxicology Review. 18 (3).
  29. ^ Freye, Enno (21 September 2009). Pharmacology and Abuse of Cocaine, Amphetamines, Ecstasy and Related Designer Drugs. Springer Netherlands. pp. 217–218. ISBN 978-90-481-2447-3.
  30. ^ Pennachio, Marcello et al. (2010). Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke: Its Ethnobotany As Hallucinogen, Perfume, Incense, and Medicine. Oxford University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-19-537001-0.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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  37. ^ Austin, Alfredo Lopez et al. (2005). Mexico's Indigenous Past. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-8061-3723-0.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  38. ^ Biaggioni, Italo et al. (2011). Primer on the Autonomic Nervous System. Academic Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-12-386525-0.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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  40. ^ Davis, Wade (1997). The Serpent and the Rainbow: a Harvard scientist's astonishing journey into the secret societies of Haitian voodoo, zombis and magic. Simon & Schuster. p. [page needed]. ISBN 978-0-684-83929-5.
  41. ^ Molvaer, Reidulf Knut (1995). Socialization and Social Control in Ethiopia. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 259. ISBN 978-3-447-03662-7.
  42. ^ Pennachio, Marcello et al. (2010). Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke: Its Ethnobotany As Hallucinogen, Perfume, Incense, and Medicine. Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-19-537001-0.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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  44. ^ Indian doc. focuses on Hindu cannibal sect http://www.today.com/id/9842124#.UsLVWdIW1A0
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  46. ^ Clairvius Narcisse
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  48. ^ Davis 1988.
  49. ^ Rätsch, Christian, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications pub. Park Street Press 2005
  50. ^ Schultes, Richard Evans; Albert Hofmann (1979). Plants of the Gods: Origins of Hallucinogenic Use New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-056089-7.
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  52. ^ Chopra, I.C. (2006). Indigenous Drugs of India. Academic Publishers. p. 143. ISBN 9788185086804.
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  54. ^ Rile, Karen (1 December 2014). "Georgia O'Keeffe and the $44 Million Jimson Weed". JStor Daily. Retrieved 19 January 2019.

External linksEdit