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Datura stramonium

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Datura stramonium, known by the English names jimsonweed or devil's snare, is a plant in the nightshade family. It is believed to have originated in Mexico,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> but has now become naturalized in many other regions.<ref name= 'NPGS/GRIN'>Template:GRIN</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Other common names for D. stramonium include thornapple and moon flower,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and it has the Spanish name toloache.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> 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,<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> devil's cucumber,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and thornapple.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Datura has been used in traditional medicine to relieve asthma symptoms and as an analgesic during surgery or bonesetting. It is also a powerful hallucinogen and deliriant, which is used entheogenically for the intense visions it produces. However, the tropane alkaloids responsible for both the medicinal and hallucinogenic properties are fatally toxic in only slightly higher amounts than the medicinal dosage, and careless use often results in hospitalizations and deaths.

Description

Mature (left) and immature (right) seed pods

Datura stramonium is a foul-smelling, erect, annual, freely branching herb that forms a bush up to Template:Convert tall.<ref name=Stace>Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="Henkel-1911-p30">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="maud-desc">Template:Cite book</ref>

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.<ref name="maud-desc" />

The leaves are about Template:Convert long, smooth, toothed,<ref name="Henkel-1911-p30" /> soft, and irregularly undulated.<ref name="maud-desc" /> The upper surface of the leaves is a darker green, and the bottom is a light green.<ref name="Henkel-1911-p30" /> 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.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Datura stramonium generally flowers throughout the summer. The fragrant flowers are trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet, and Template:Convert 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.<ref name="maud-desc" />

The egg-shaped seed capsule is Template:Convert in diameter and either covered with spines or bald. At maturity, it splits into four chambers, each with dozens of small, black seeds.<ref name="maud-desc" />

Datura stramonium - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-051.jpg
Fruits and seeds – MHNT

Range and habitat

Datura stramonium is native to North America, but was spread to the Old World early. 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.<ref>Template:Citation</ref> 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.<ref name="Preissel" /><ref>Template:Cite journal</ref><ref>Oudhia P., Tripathi R.S.(1998).Allelopathic potential of Datura stramonium L.. Crop. Res. 16 (1) : 37-40.</ref> In Europe, it is found as a weed on wastelands and in garbage dumps.<ref name="Preissel">Template:Cite book</ref>

The seed is thought Template:By whom 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,<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> while wearing gloves to handle it.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Toxicity

All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects.<ref name="Preissel" /><ref>AJ Giannini,Drugs of Abuse--Second Edition. Los Angeles, Practice Management Information Corporation, pp.48-51. Template:ISBN.</ref>

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.<ref name="Preissel" /> Additionally, within a given datura 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.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> In traditional cultures, a great deal of experience with and detailed knowledge of Datura was critical to minimize harm.<ref name="Preissel" /> An individual datura 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.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Datura intoxication typically produces delirium, hallucination, hyperthermia, tachycardia, bizarre behavior, and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.<ref name="Freye">Template:Cite book</ref> 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 two weeks.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

As with other cases of anticholinergic poisoning, intravenous physostigmine can be administered in severe cases as an antidote.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Use

Traditional medicine

D. stramonium var. tatula, flower (front)

In Ayurveda, datura has long been used for asthma symptoms. The active agent is atropine. 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.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="Pennachio-2010-p6">Template:Cite book</ref>

The Zuni people once used datura as an analgesic to render patients unconscious while broken bones were set.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> The Chinese also used it as a form of anesthesia during surgery.<ref name="Nellis-1997-p238">Template:Cite book</ref>

Early European medicine

John Gerard's Herball (1597) states, Template:Quote

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."<ref>William Lewis, "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica: Stramonium"</ref>

Spiritual uses

Datura seedpod, opening up to release seeds inside

The ancient inhabitants of what is today central and southern California used to ingest the small black seeds of datura to "commune with deities through visions".<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> Across the Americas, other indigenous peoples such as the Algonquin, Navajo, Cherokee, Luiseño and the indigenous peoples of Marie-Galante also used this plant in sacred ceremonies for its hallucinogenic properties.<ref name="Biaggioni-2011-p77">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="Pennachio-2010-pp82-83">Template:Cite book</ref><ref>Template:Cite book</ref> 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.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

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.<ref>Clairvius Narcisse</ref><ref>Davis, Wade (1985), The Serpent and the Rainbow, New York: Simon & Schuster</ref>

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.<ref>name="Pennachio-2010-p6"</ref>

Cultivation

Datura prefers rich, calcareous soil. Adding nitrogen fertilizer to the soil will increase the concentration of alkaloids present in the plant. Datura can be grown from seed, which is sown with several feet between plants. Datura 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 Template:Convert and seed yields of Template:Convert are possible.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Etymology

The genus name is derived from the plant's Hindi name धतूरा dhatūra, ultimately from Sanskrit धत्तूर Template:IAST 'white thorn-apple'.<ref name="MWSD">Template:MWSD</ref> Stramonium is originally from Greek Template:Lang "nightshade" and Template:Lang "mad".<ref name="Cornell">Template:Cite web</ref>

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

Fossil record

Fossil seeds like seeds of Datura stramonium have been found in Pliocene strata of Belarus.<ref>The Pliocene flora of Kholmech, south-eastern Belarus and it's correlation with other Pliocene floras of Europe by Felix Yu. VELICHKEVICH and Ewa ZASTAWNIAK – Acta Palaeobot. 43(2): 137–259, 2003</ref>

References

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External links

Also known as "BURUNDANGA" and "ESCOPOLAMINA" in Spanish : https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escopolamina Template:Commons Template:Wikispecies

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