This article is from the Herb Reference series.
The plant was used by the Priests of Apollo to produce prophecies. The plant was introduced to Western Europe in the 16th century by the Gypsies, who smoked the leaves for their intoxicating effect. In India it is used in certain puberty rites for males. The Zuni Indians drank a decoction for its anesthetic qualities. Toloache (Aztec) Indians used the entire plant for hypnotic states.Habitat:
Jimson weed is native to Asia but has been naturalized in Europe as well as North and Suoth America.Description:
Jimson weed is a foul smelling , short lived perenial or annual with a large fibrous White root.Properties:
Stems: The round, branching, yellowish green stems are rubbery and hairless.
Flowers: White to light blue trumpet like flowers, ( similar to Morning Glories ) grow singly from stalks at leaf axils.
Leaves: the alternate, oval leaves are irregularly toothed, dark green on top and lighter on the underside.
Fruit: A prickly, ovate, four valved capsule about the size of a golf ball, which contains many kidney shaped dark brown to black seeds.
Height: 3 to 6 feet Cultivation: You can grow Jimson weed from seeds in a sunny place protected from wind, in deep rich soil. They need watering during the growth and blooming seasons. However they don't require much watering at other times. Prune them in early spring after the last frost. Cut the branchlets back to one or two buds. To prolong the blooming season remove the flowers before they go to seed.
Anti spasmodic Anti asthmaticUses:
leaves can be smoked for asthma and colds. It is also used in a wash for horses to keep them from straying, and there is some claim for its use in this way to 'increase sexual desire' (doubtful medically). Jimson weed IS highly dangerous, overdose is generally fatal. The plant can be smoked, drunk, boiled or simmered in oil. A person who consumes this drug becomes unconscious and must be watched to prevent them from hurting themselves. The first symptoms are a dry throat, the and uncontrolled and unprovoked giggling and laughter and black objects appear green visually. Intense hallucinations may follow before unconsciousness. There is often short-term memory loss associated with the drug, making its magical use for prophesies limited drastically and definitely not recommended. The antidote for poisoning is the same as generally used for Belladonna: If a doctor or medical facility is not in easy reach, give the person emetics or use a stomache pump, give a cleansing enema, empty the bladder, give tannic acid by mouth and then morphine, stimulants, brandy, caffeine, artificial respiration... while applying cold to the head and warm to the feet. I have NO concept of the proper dosage - it varies from individual to individual based on various factors including body weight. Safest usage would be as part of an incense mixture, then as an actual smoked herb.
*This is a very dangerous plant and should NOT be experimented with without access to experienced medical personnel. I personally feel the risks involved are not worth any minor benefits it may have... *
There are several related species found in gardens. These are:
Brugmansia arborea, which has smaller flowers.
B. candida, is native to Peru and can grow to 15 feet, has large ( 8-12 in. ) leaves, heavy single or double white flowers that are fragrant especially at night, and can grow as much as 6 feet in one season.
B. sanguinea, another native of Peru, grows to 15 feet, flowers are 10 in. long, and are orange red with yellow veinings. RARE.
B. suavolens, native to Brazil, similar to B. candida but leaves and flowers are larger.
B. versicolor, flowers range in color from white or peach to pink.