Jimson Weed - Datura stramonium

Jimson Weed

Datura stramonium

All parts of Jimsonweed are notably notorious for their highly toxic effect. It has been used and misused as a hallucinogen for sacred or occult visions.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Thorn Apple, Devil’s Trumpet, Devil’s Snare
  • Medicinal: No
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: Yes
  • Parts Used: Leaves and Flowers
  • Side Effects: Side effects from ingesting Jimson Weed include tachycardia, dry mouth, dilated pupils, blurred vision, hallucinations, confusion, combative behavior, and difficulty urinating
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About Jimsonweed

Jimsonweed is an erect herbaceous annual plant with an aggressively invasive nature. It freely branches in the form of a bush that can take a height of up to 5 feet. 

Jimsonweed has long, thick, fibrous roots that give rise to a stout pale yellowish to the purple-colored aerial stem. This smooth yet leafy stem divides into branches, each branch forming an individual leaf and flower. Its leaves are irregularly undulated, soft, and toothed, stretching long for 6 to 8 inches. The flowers, on the other hand, are trumpet-shaped emitting a pleasant odor, all the while emerging in creamy white or violet shades.

All parts of Jimsonweed are notably notorious for their highly toxic effect. It has been used and misused as a hallucinogen for sacred or occult visions. It can cause certain serious crises, especially anticholinergic syndrome (disorientation/delirium). All these vicious effects are the result of tropane, an alkaloid present in jimsonweed’s leaves and flowers. 

Apart from its adverse outcomes, jimsonweed has managed to find its seat on the medicinal board. If used in the right amount, its leaves can be a natural cure for respiratory disorders (asthma, swine flu, persistent cough, and influenza) and some nerve diseases. 

 

Growing

Growing jimsonweed is very easy. Its seeds are started in mid-spring and early summer. They are preferred to be grown indoors first, at least 10 weeks before mid-spring, and then moved outdoors for further establishment. 

Jimsonweed seeds require full sun and well-drained, calcareous, humus-rich soil to flourish robustly. However, datura is naturally programmed to tolerate a vast variety of soil. It requires water on a regular basis during its establishing period, but once it matures, jimsonweed doesn’t require watering as it can obtain from the grounds through its extensive taproot system.

Being a prominent annual doesn’t cause any hindrance in the status of jimsonweed. It propagates scandalously due to its aggressive seed dispersal. Jimsonweed seeds germinate in no time when they receive their demanded requirements.

Jimsonweed plant enters its blooming phase when it has produced around 6 to 8 leaves, usually from May to September. They bloom at dusk and close the next morning, following which some nocturnal pollinating insects such as hawk moths and bees pollinate it.

The seeds then appear which can spread long distances and remain viable for a very long time to start their own jimsonweed plant.

 

 

Harvesting

The leaves and flowers of jimsonweed can be harvested at any time of the year whereas its seed pods are collected only when they start turning brown.

Jimsonweed stems are snipped with scissors and the required plant part (example: leaves, flowers, or seed pods) are separated as required manually.

Intact jimsonweed stems are tied with a string and hung upside down in the sun. Make sure there is a paper bag waiting beneath the bundle for the seedpods to collect the seeds once the seed pods split open.

The leaves and flowers can be used fresh or dried, as written in the monograph, for the preparation of the medicinal dosage form.
All these plant parts harvested should be stored in an airtight container to preserve their signature aroma and phytoconstituents.

 

Usage

Jimsonweed is used fervently in various medicinal preparations to address a wide range of maladies. It is preferred to take the services of an expert herbalist or skilled apothecary (pharmacist) for making dosage forms with Datura stramonium. Any mistake in preparing a medicine can be fatal.

 

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