Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sacred Datura or Jimson Weed

Sacred Datura plant
Sacred Datura blossoms

Sacred Datura, or Jimson Weed  is one of the desert's most recognizable plants.  Although it doesn't grow in Pine Valley, it can be seen all along the roads through Dammeron Valley and Veyo at this time of the year.

Sacred Datura is one of the most toxic plants known.  The lives of many adults and children have been lost after the leaves, stems or fruits have been eaten.  All parts of the plants have a powerful hallucinogen that was used by native shamans in their rituals.  One interesting ritual involved feeding children who had reached puberty some of the plant.  It was believed that if the child survived, the gods meant that child to live (!).

Some other traditional uses of Datura, or Jimson Weed, was to make a paste from the leaves and stems for broken bones or swollen joints to reduce or eliminate pain.  Inhaling the fumes of burning leaves was used for respiratory ailments.  The Navajos were reported to grind the entire fruit, mix the seeds and pulp with special clay and then use the mixture as a food.

Extreme caution should be used in approaching the plant with anything but a camera.  Isn't it interesting that something so dangerous should be so pretty?  Please take this information for interest and education only, and see your medical care provider if you have medical needs.

By Laura Bergeson

1 comment:

  1. Laura, I have read about Jimson weed in a lot of books and never realized that was Jimson weed! Very interesting.