Devil’s Weed- Datura, A Witch’s Herb

My mother and I went on a walk and found Datura Stramonium growing wild on the side of the road. What an awesome find for a Witch! I had always thought it was an exotic plant but was delighted to find out how prolifically it grows on roadsides and in velds.

Datura is part of my much beloved Nightshade family, the Solanaceae, and forms part of what are known as Cursing Herbs. Datura Stramonium is also known as Jimsonweed, Thorn apple, Witch’s Thimble and Ghost Flower. Here in South Africa they are called Malpitte (Mad seeds).

Datura Stramonium is extremely poisonous and should be handled with care. Like its cousins, Datura is ruled by Saturn and is a veritable Witch’s weed along with Mandrake, Belladonna and Henbane, and also sometimes included in Flying ointments for its psychotropic effects.

According to Cunningham’s encyclopedia of Magical herbs it is used in Hex Breaking, sleep and protection. p 100

Datura has been used necromantically in order to see ghosts, and can be included in concoctions for that purpose. I do not recommend Datura for consumption as doses of atropine, hyoscyamine and Scopolomine are so varied within plant matter.

Datura is also linked in folklore to shape-shifting and can form part of therianthropic ointments. As a love  potion, datura is intoxicating and deadly, and can evoke the seductive powers of the Siren.

Datura has been used in the past to induce visionary states, as it is a hallucinogen or more accurately, a deliriant. While some people may try to obtain a legal high from these plants it is not recommended as the tropane alkaloids can have devastating effects, including coma and death.

My stepfather’s  mother once worked on the police force and had been called down when children had gotten hold of the fruit. The children were off their heads with delirium. It can induce rage and other terrifying emotions which may last long after initial poisoning.

“Datura intoxication typically produces a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy (delirium, as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia;tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect. The antidote of choice for overdose or poisoning is physostigmine.Wikipedia*

No wonder with these effects Datura is called “Malpitte” down here.

This plant has been used in sacred ceremonies in Native American and Asian cultures, and is known as “Grandmother” to the Mexican shamans.

Datura can be given as an offering to Hekate, Baba Yaga and other spirits and beings who are associated with Poison and Bane. It is a plant which acts as a psychopomp and can therefore be a gateway between this realm and the afterlife, so it can be used to propitiate underworld spirits as well as to travel to the underworld.

Datura has been used medicinally in many cultures for madness and melancholy. Stramonium has also been used as an analgesic, an ingredient in cough syrup and to treat asthma and respiratory disorders. Scopolomine, one of the alkaloids present within Datura has been used to treat spasms and Parkinson’s disease.*

Works Cited:

Scott Cunningham -Cunninghams Encyclopedia  of Magical Herbs 1985

*Medicinal Plants of the World- Ben Erik van wyk, Michael Wink.

Encyclopedia of psychoactive plants- Christian Ratsch


For more information:

How to Grow Daturas


Datura: Herbcyclopedia

Daturas and Brugmansias

In the Witch’s Garden: Hells Bells and the Zombie Drug

All blog content is copyright of Nightshade 2012 author of unless otherwise stated

2 thoughts on “Devil’s Weed- Datura, A Witch’s Herb

  1. Pingback: Datura study | articulatedwhimsy

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