Datura

"In India, whores gave Datura seeds to their patrons, and criminals used them surreptitiously to render their victims unconscious» It was believed that those who used Datura could foresee the future and discover buried treasure. Datura was widely held to be an aphrodisiac; but it has also been used to lessen sexual excitement in cases of nymphomania. Along with other drugs, preparations made from it were used to lute girls into prostitution. Insanity and death have been caused by eating the plant, affecting children particularly, yet certain American Indians used an infusion of the seeds to quiet unruly children! Datura is a genus of contrasts-from smelly weeds to lovely ornamentals

The generic name comes from the Hindu dhatura or dhattura. Dhat is the name of the poison derived from the plant, and the Dhatureas were a gang of thugs who used the plant to stupefy or poison their intended victims.*

-Charles EL Heiser, Jr.,Nighlshades, W.H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco, California 1969, pp. 136-137

includes tryptamines (Psilocybe and related mushrooms, yage,' bufotenine and DMT snuffs such as virola and yopo); lysergic acid amides (LSD, morning-glory seeds); the f3 -carbolines-harmine and harmaline; and ibogaine (found in iboga root).

The botany and chemistry of hallucinogenic plants is at times as confusing as the identity of illicit drugs sold on the streets of American cities. For example, there are about 20 "false peyotes," several as hallucinogenic as true peyote. For some plants the search goes on to discover which of its alkaloids is the "active principle" (responsible for the hallucinogenic effects), the role of the other alkaloids in the same plant (e.g., more than 50 in peyote), the relative effects of combining several plants (sometimes 5 or 6 are used in one decoction)* Hallucinogenic drugs, capable of transpoiling the user to other reality junctions along the time-space continuum, can be natural, semisynthetic, or synthetic» DMT is produced synthetically _ but is also a natural constituent of several plants found in both the Old and the New World. There are probably as many mind^altering plants and their multiple preparations-including those lost to our. knowledge and those yet to be discovered-as there are pure synthetic hallucinogens that have been and will be produced in outj Brave New World labs.

NIGHTSHADES The 3,000 species of the Solanaceae family include the potato and tobacco as well, as a group of the most feared botanicals on the planet-datura, _._■ belladonna, henbane and mandrake^all _ staples in the art of witchcraft % and sorcery. An ointment composed of these substances rubbed into the body produces a sensation of flying and dreams of sexual frenzy, perhaps due to the irregularity of the heartbeat» . The deadly nightshades have been known since antiquity as highly toxic substances and have always been connected with poisonings, accidental and deliberate. But with extreme care in dosage and combined with other plants they have long been used in native ceremonial magic; and modern medicine has found them useful: Astlimador cigarettes made with datura leaves were available to asthma sufferers in the 1920s.

The tiopane alkaloids-scopolamine, hyoscyamine and, to a lesser extent, atropine-are the active agents. Scopolamine, the most hallucinogenic of the tropanes, predominates in datura; hyoscyamine, in the other nightshades. Scopolamine was used at the turn of the century to alleviate the pains of childbirth with a "twilight sleep," and since World War I as a chemical agent in brainwashing (its "truth serum" potential may have been a factor in witches" confessions).

There are 20 species of datura having worldwide hallucinogenic use» In the Old World it has long been used in India; it was a sacred plant in Chinese Buddhism and was known to Arabian physicians. It may have been the intoxicating smoke at the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. Datura leaves are mixed with cannabis or tobacco and smoked in India and pails of Africa. In India it has a history of being used by thieves to drug their victims. The U»S» species, Datura stramonium and D. inoxia (formerly, D. meieloidcs), are indigenous, respectively, to the the Middle Atlantic slates and the Southwest» . Hie popular name jimson weed arose from an incident of mass intoxication of British soldiers stationed in

Datura sangulnea-lhe red thorn appte

Datura sangulnea-lhe red thorn appte

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