Datura is a genus of nine species of poisonous vespertine flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae. They are commonly known as thornapples or jimsonweeds but are also known as devil’s trumpets, due to the shape and sound of the flowers when they bloom. All species of Datura are toxic, especially their seeds and flowers.
Datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death; it was well known as an essential ingredient in witches’ brews and potions. T
he main active agents in Datura are the alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. These alkaloids are anticholinergics, meaning they block the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which can cause delirium and hallucinations.
Due to its extreme toxicity, Datura has not been approved as an herbal remedy by any government or medical regulatory body. It is considered a dangerous herb and should never be ingested without the supervision of an experienced health professional.
Datura can also interact with a variety of medications, including those used to treat mental illness, and should therefore not be taken in combination with any other drugs or supplements.
Despite its risks, Datura has been traditionally used as a medicine for centuries by many cultures around the world. In India, it is known as dhatura and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of conditions such as fever, asthma, insomnia, and pain relief. In parts of the Middle East and Mexico, Datura has long been used ceremonially as an ecstatic or hallucinogenic medicine by shamans and spiritual healers. In Europe and America, Datura has been used to treat a variety of ailments including convulsions, epilepsy, asthma, migraine headaches, motion sickness, and insomnia.
Overview How to Grow Datura
Datura is a perennial plant, meaning it will last several years if properly cared for. It prefers a warm climate and full sun, with well draining soil that is slightly acidic to neutral in pH (5.5 – 7.0). Datura can be propagated either through seeds or cuttings. When planting from seed, the seeds should be sown in early spring and lightly covered with soil. Cuttings should be taken from healthy plants in mid-spring and rooted in a potting mix or moist sand.
Once planted, Datura requires regular watering to keep the soil slightly moist but not wet. During the summer months, it may need to be watered more frequently, especially if the weather is hot and dry. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 during the growing season.
In general, Datura is an easy plant to grow but can be toxic if not handled properly. All parts of the plant contain the toxic alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine and should never be ingested. When handling the plants, wear protective gloves to prevent skin irritation and always wash your hands after contact.
Finally, it is important to note that Datura can become invasive in some climates, especially if not kept in check. Regular pruning and thinning of the plants should be done to prevent them from spreading outside their designated area.
10 Ways How to Grow Datura
Plant your Datura in rich, well-draining soil that is slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5 – 7.0). Add compost or aged manure to the soil for added fertility and moisture retention. If planting in pots, use a potting mix specifically designed for growing plants.
Datura requires full sun to thrive; it will not do well in shady areas.
Datura can be sensitive to cold temperatures and frost damage; protect your plants if the temperature drops below 40°F (4°C).
Water your Datura regularly, keeping the soil slightly moist but not wet. During especially hot and dry weather, additional watering may be necessary.
Fertilize your Datura monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-10.
Datura can be started from seed or cuttings. If sowing seeds, do so in early spring and lightly cover them with soil. For cuttings, take healthy stems from an existing plant in mid-spring and root them in a potting mix or moist sand.
Once your Datura has established a strong root system, it can be transplanted outdoors. Choose a sunny spot and ensure that the soil is well-drained and slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5 – 7.0).
In warmer climates, Datura can be directly sown into the ground in early spring. Choose a sunny spot and make sure the soil is well-draining and slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5 – 7.0).
Pruning your Datura regularly will help keep it from becoming invasive. Prune away any dead or damaged stems, and thin out overcrowded areas to promote healthy growth.
Datura is susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Use an insecticidal soap or Neem oil to control these pests.
while Datura has a long history of medicinal use, it is considered a dangerous herb due to its extreme toxicity. All parts of the plant contain toxic alkaloids that can cause delirium and hallucinations and should never be ingested without the supervision of an experienced health professional. Despite these risks, Datura can be easy to cultivate when grown with care, although it can become invasive in some climates and regular pruning may be necessary. As always, caution is advised when handling this plant and protective gloves should always be worn.