Datura stramonium in profile

Common names:

Thornapple, Devil's Apple, Devil's Weed, Jamestown Weed, Jimson Weed, Stramonium, Sacred Datura, Devil's Trumpet, Angel's Trumpet, Apple of Peru, Stinkweed, Stechapfel, Atlinan, Campana, Concombre-Zombi, Xtohk'kuh, Toloache, Man t' o lo fa, Wan t'o hua, Nau Yeung fa, El Bethene


All warm and tropical regions throughout the world, in desert and arid zones as well as in the tropical forest region and mountainous areas.

Active Constituents:

Tropane alkaloids (hyoscyamine, atropine, scopolamine). The seeds contain the highest alkaloid concentration in both the Datura and Brugmansia species.

Parts used:

Most frequently the seeds and flowers are used but in some cultures the roots and leaves are also taken. Preparations include leaves rolled up into cigarettes, mixing seeds with cannabis and/or tobacco for smoking, mixing ground seeds with wine or beer, teas made with the leaves and flowers, cold water extracts of the root, enemas prepared with an infusion made from the leaves and suppositories made from rolled up leaves.

Magical Uses:

Hallucinogen, visionary journeys, shape-shifting, divination, clairvoyance, love magic, aphrodisiac, amulets, incense.

Medicinal uses:

Spasmolytic, anti-asthmatic, anticholinergic, narcotic and anesthetic.
The leaves are smoked as 'asthma cigarettes', steambath are prepared with the leaves for bad coughs and bronchitis, the juice is boiled and mixed with hog-lard as an external application for all types of burns, scalds, inflammations and hemorrhoids, poultices of the leaves are applied to badly healing wounds, swellings and arthritic or rheumatic pains, as an antispasmodic to control Parkinson's disease.


Grow in full sun in moisture retentive but well drained fertile and preferably calcareous soil.
Propagate by seeds sown in situ in spring (16°C / 61°F) or earlier under glass and set out after danger of frost has passed.
The foliage is extremely susceptible to viruses affecting other Solanaceous plants and may act as a host . . .

Daturas are subject to statutory control as weeds in some countries (notably parts of Australia).

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Datura or Brugmansia



For a long time Brugmansias, were regarded as a subspecies of the genus Datura. Only relatively recently have Botanists classified Brugmansias as a separate genus. However, the phytochemistry of Datura and Brugmansia species and hence their sacred and medicinal uses are very similar indeed.

 Culture plants

i.e. plants that have played a significant role in the development of human culture.


See Badianus Manuscript - An Aztec Herbal Of 1552 by Martin de la Cruz and Juannes Badianus; Emmert , 1940 (Ed.)


Ololuiqui (Turbina corymbosa), a member of the Convolvulaceae, known to the Atztecs as "the green snake'. It got itself quite a reputation during the psychedelic revolution of the 60s; most people may be more familiar with it's relative - Ipomoea tricolor (Morning Glory).

 skull trepanations

The success of such operations is archeologically evidenced. The bones of trepanated skulls found at archeological sites in Peru show no signs of infection.


Psychotria viridis from J. Ott's book 'Ayahuasca Analogues'Ayahuasca, a strong hallucinatory brew, usually prepared from Banisteriopsis caapi, a member of the Malpighiaceae, and Psychotria viridis of the Rubiaceae family. Sometimes other species of Banisteriopsis and/or Psychotria are used. Ayahuasca is the most important psychotropic ritual preparation of the Amazon. Frequently other psychoactive plants are added to the basic brew. These are termed 'maestros' and are regarded as plant-spirit teachers.

 vamana purana

Vamana purana and garuda purana are parts of the Puranas, a series of lesser epics dating from about the 4th to the 16th centuries A.D.

"Datura and Brugmansia species as Sacred Plants and Medicines"
was written by Kay Morgenstern
SacredEarth Website

Web presentation designed by Matthew Sleigh


R..E. Schultes & A. Hoffman, Pflanzen der Götter, Hallwag, Bern 1987.
Bert Marco Schuldes, Psychoaktive Pflanzen, Nachtschatten Verlag (Solothurn) & MedienXperimente (Lohrbach).
G. & M. Haerkötter, Wterich + Hexenmilch, Giftpflanzen, Eichborn Verlag, Frankfurt 1991.
G. & M. Haerkötter, Hexenfurz und Teufelsdreck, Eichborn Verlag, Frankfurt 1987.
W.D. Storl, Von Heilkr„utern und Pflanzengottheiten, Aurum Verlag, Braunschweig 1993.
Christian Rätsch, Indianische Heilkr„uter, Diederichs Verlag, Munich 1993.
Christian Rätsch, Lexikon der Zauberpflanzen, Adeva Verlag, Graz 1988.
Christian Rätsch, Von den Wurzeln der Kultur, Sphinx Verlag, Basel 1991.
Harold A. Hansen, The Witch's Garden, Weiser Verlag, York Beach 1983.
Virgil J. Vogel, American Indian Medicine, University of Oklahoma Press 1982.
M. Grieves, A Modern Herbal, Penguin 1984.
Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology, Penguin Books, 1972.
Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings Of Don Juan, Penguin Books 1974.
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