Thorn Apple or more commonly known as Jimson Weed has been around for centuries. In fact, this plant received the name Jimson Weed because it was among one of the first plants that English settlers came in contact with during the settlement of Virginia.
Although this plant possesses a variety of medicinal and therapeutic benefits, it is advised that you keep away from this plant because all parts of this plant are considered to be extremely toxic if it is used incorrectly.
Botanical Name and Family of Jimson Weed
Jimson Weed is known botanically as Datura stramonium. It belongs to the Solanaceae or the Nightshade family and has been referred to as Moon Flower, Toloache, Devil’s Apple and Jimson Weed.
What Is Jimson Weed?
Jimson Weed is a foul-smelling herb that is native to America but is found all over the world. It was used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, however, its use has declined greatly in present times because it is highly toxic.
In fact, when the first settlers arrived in Jamestown Virginia, they ate the leaves of this plant and started to experience strange and unusual effects similar to narcotics. Since then, Thorn Apple has been referred to as Jimson Weed.
Active Ingredients Found in Jimson Weed
This herb contains tropane alkaloids such as hyoscyamine, atropine and scopolamine. Aside from these, Jimson Weed also contains the following nutrients:
- Oxalic acid
- Citric acid
- Malic acid
- Ethereal oil
- Lactic acid
- Mineral salts
The leaves and seeds of this plant are known to possess anti-asthmatic, anti-malarial, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Health Benefits of Jimson Weed
Jimson Weed has been used in anti-asthmatic and analgesic agents. It was also used to produce visions in spiritual activities because of its hallucinogenic properties. However, the herb is toxic in doses only slightly greater than the medicinal dose; therefore, it is not commonly used in modern herbal medicine.
Nevertheless, during the old days the leaves of this plant were used topically to help heal open wounds, reduce inflammation, relieve pain caused by hemorrhoids and relieve muscular and arthritis pain as well.
As surprising as this may sound, this herb was also smoked to help relieve spasmodic asthma attacks in certain individuals.
How to Use Jimson Weed
The leaves of this herb were made into a powder that can be applied topically or smoked through a pipe or in the form of a cigarette.
Side Effects of Jimson Weed
Even though Jimson Weed has been cited for a variety of medical benefits, the plant is no longer used for its therapeutic purposes because it causes severe toxicity that includes the following side effects if over-consumed:
- Dryness of the mouth
- Vision problems
- Increased heartbeat
- High temperatures
If you choose to use this herb, make sure you discuss it with your doctor to ensure that consuming would be beneficial for your health.
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Soni P, Siddiqui AA, Dwivedi J, Soni V. Pharmacological properties of Datura stramonium L. as a potential medicinal tree: An overview. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. Dec 2012: 2(12); 1002-1008. PMCID: PMC3621465