– VERMEULEN Frans,
I saw a Datura plant and was bending over to make a closer inspection of the flower when the little Indian girl who was our guide became quite frightened and ran up to my wife and said that if I touched the plant it would drive me crazy. My wife’s answer I have tried to forget.
[Charles B. Heiser, Jr., Nightshades]
Datura stramonium. Thorn Apple. Jimsonweed. N.O. Solanaceae.
CLASSIFICATION See BELLADONNA.
ch_width = 200;
ch_height = 150;
ch_type = “mpu”;
ch_sid = “Chitika WRESEACH WITHINPOST”;
ch_backfill = 1;
ch_color_site_link = “#CF172F”;
ch_color_title = “#CF172F”;
ch_color_border = “#ffffff”;
ch_color_text = “#000000”;
ch_color_bg = “#FFFFFF”;
GENUS The genus Datura has usually been considered to comprise fifteen to twenty species. All species are annual or short-lived perennial herbs and subshrubs with simple, alternate leaves and large, 5-lobed, funnel-shaped flowers that are followed by spiny capsules. The six or seven species of Brugmansia [Angel’s Trumpet], South American shrubs and small trees, were formerly included in Datura, but are now placed in a separate genus. Datura has had a long history in both hemispheres as a genus employed for hallucinogenic purposes.
STRAMONIUM There is disagreement as to where Datura stramonium originates. For many authors it is a plant native to the Old World, coming from the area of the Caspian Sea or from Asia Minor. The fact that certain North American Indians knew it as ‘the white man’s plant’ has been used as evidence that it was introduced from Europe. Richard Evans Schultes, noted authority on hallucinogenic plants, on the other hand claims that it originally stems from eastern North America, the important narcotic species of the Old World being Datura metel. Datura stramonium is a very variable species, to the extent that now four varieties are distinguished. Datura stramonium var. godronii [synonym: D. inermis] has thornless seed capsules and bright bluish purple flowers; D. stramonium var. inermis has smooth seed capsules, green stems and white flowers; D. stramonium var. tatula has spiny seed capsules, bluish purple flowers, while shoots, leaf stalks and veins have a bluish purple tinge; D. stramonium var. stramonium has spiny capsules, white flowers and green shoots. The latter variety is employed in homoeopathy. Three species which were formerly seen as separate Datura species are now considered to be subspecies of D. stramonium. These three are: D. stramonium ssp. quercifolia, D. stramonium ssp. villosa, and D. stramonium ssp. ferox. To complicate matters even more, Datura stramonium is known under 21 synonyms: D. bernhardii; D. bertoloni; D. capensis; D. ferox; D. inermis; D. laevis; D. loricata; D. lurida; D. parviflora; D. peregrinum; D. pseudo-stramonium; D. quercifolia; D. spinosum; D. tatula; D. villosa; D. wallichii; Stramonium ferox; S. foetidum; S. spinosum; S. vulgare; S. vulgatum. 1
FEATURES The thorn apple is distributed throughout the world, including Europe, North Africa, North America, Central and South America, Asia Minor, Himalayas. It is a coarse plant of variable size, usually growing from 40 to 90 cm high, but with the potential to double that height on soils rich in calcium and nitrogen such as waste places, roadsides and barnyards. The spreading branches cover an area almost as broad. The branched, thick root is very long. The upper surface of the large and angular leaves is greyish-green and smooth, the under surface paler, and when dry, minutely wrinkled. The whole plant is smooth, except for some short, curved hairs on the younger parts which fall off as growth proceeds. D. stramonium has a distinctive angular or prismatic calyx. The 6-9 cm long flowers are the smallest among the Datura species. The blooms open at dusk during the summer months, emitting their powerfully sweet fragrance to attract night moths. The opening of the flowers takes place in a peculiar way. Each day at dusk the bud, enveloping the entire, neatly folded and twisted corolla as a compact cylinder, begins to gradually unfold, thereby slowly unfurling the corolla which, as the intertwined lobes come lose from one another, suddenly snaps open and then gives off its strong scent. During the night the fragrant flowers are frequently visited by large [nocturnal] sphinx moths. By mid-morning the following day the flowers close again. Moths reportedly appear to be intoxicated by Datura nectar, flying erratically around the plants, clumsily landing on blossoms and crashing into leaves or falling upon the ground. Siegel observed that hummingbirds, also favouring daturas, fluff their feathers after ingesting the nectar and then freeze stiff like corpses for several hours. Typical for D. stramonium is that the seed capsules stand upright, in contrast to the pendant capsules of D. innoxia [toloache, Mexican thorn apple], D. metel [Indian thorn apple], and D. wrightii [Californian thorn apple]. Seeds are produced in prolific amounts and possess a remarkable longevity; tests on seeds stored for 39 years have shown a germination of 90%.
FEROX Datura ferox is considered to be a subspecies of D. stramonium, or even as identical. Effects of eating the [unripe] fruit are recorded in Allen’s Encyclopedia [Vol. IV], where it is erroneously included in the Ranunculaceae, instead of Solanaceae. The fragmentary symptoms of Datura ferox are indistinguishable from those of Stramonium: “A girl ate half an unripe fruit [as large as an acorn] mixed with her food. After a quarter of an hour she was completely out of her mind, was dizzy, sleepy; at last fell into a sleep, in which the eyes remained more or less open, and if disturbed she sprang up raving, and uttered unintelligible words; if one sang she began to dance in the Javanese fashion. Pulse was slow and full. Mouth very dry. Buchner’s Toxicologie, 1827, states that if the lips are held for a short time to a glass rubbed with a leaf, one is made to rave. Gmelin, Reise, etc., state that beer poisoned with the seeds of this plant causes ravings.”
NAME The generic name Datura was taken by Linnaeus from the vernacular name dhatura or dhutra in India, deriving from the dhatureas, bands of thieves in ancient India that used it to drug their intended victims. Linnaeus, who was not so fond of exotic or barbaric names, accepted it as the name for the genus because he thought that it contained the Latin root dare to give, since Datura is given to those whose sexual powers are weakened. Several explanations are given for the specific name stramonium as coming from strumaria [struma = tumour] in allusion to the shape of the seed capsule; as a contraction of strychnos manikos, meaning ‘maddening strychnos’, the name given to the plant by Dioscorides; or as derived from tatorah, Arabic for tube and Turkish for trumpet, referring to the shape of the flower. Since all parts of the plant are extremely evil-smelling, the odour may have been taken as the source of the epithet stramonium, from the French stramoine, ‘Thorn apple’ refers to the spiny seed capsules. ‘Jimsonweed’ is a contraction of the older name ‘Jamestown weed’, which refers to an incident in 1676 when British soldiers stationed in Jamestown, Virginia, went temporarily insane after eating stramonium leaves inadvertently mixed through their salads by the regimental cooks. Robert Beverly, a contemporary writer, gives an apt description of the effects in his History and Present State of Virginia : “Some of them eat plentifully of it [the boiled salad], the Effect of which was a very pleasant Comedy; for they turn’d Fools upon it for several Days: One would blow up a Feather in the Air; another would dart Straws at it with much Fury; and another stark naked was sitting in a Corner, like a Monkey, grinning and making Mows at them; a Fourth would fondly kiss, and paw his Companions, and snear in their Faces, with a Countenance more antick, than any in a Dutch droll. In this frantick Condition they were confined, lest they should in their Folly destroy themselves; though it was thought that all their Actions were full of Innocence and good Nature … a Thousand such simple Tricks they play’d, and after Eleven Days, return’d to themselves again, not remembering anything that had pass’d.”2 Throughout the world datura is known as ‘the plant that drives mad’.
CONSTITUENTS All species of Datura are very similar with respect to their content of minor alkaloids. The active ingredients of Datura are hyoscyamine, atropine [in much lower quantities], and a relatively low amount of scopolamine [which is highest in Hyoscyamus]. Young plants, however, contain primarily scopolamine, older plants chiefly hyoscyamine [according to Rätsch]. The highest concentration of the alkaloids is in the seeds. The ash of the plant has been found to contain magnesium, aluminium, lithium, and much potassium. 3 Datura, as well as atropa and henbane, are hardly attractive as psychedelic agents because they cloud rather than expand consciousness and impair the memory rather than increase awareness. “Atropine and scopolamine depress salivation, reduce sweating, dilate the pupils, increase heart rate, and cause loss of tone in the urinary bladder and the gastrointestinal tract. Because these drugs also inhibit the secretion of acid into the stomach, they are frequently used in the medical treatment of ulcers, although their effectiveness is limited by rather significant side effects. Low doses of scopolamine depress the arousal centres in the ascending reticular activating system of the brain, induce a cortical brain-wave pattern characteristic of sleep, and produce drowsiness, euphoria, amnesia, fatigue, delirium, mental confusion, dreamless sleep, and loss of attention. Low doses of atropine, however, do not seem to affect EEG or behaviour.”4 The mnemonic for clinical effects of typical atropine poisoning is: ‘blind as a bat, mad as a hatter, red as a beet, hot as a hare, dry as a bone, the bowel and bladder lose their tone, and the heart runs alone.’
TOXICOLOGY Symptoms of Datura toxicity usually occur within 30-60 minutes after ingestion and may continue for 24-48 hours because the alkaloids delay gastrointestinal motility. Ingestion of Datura manifests as classic atropine poisoning. Initial manifestations include dry mucous membranes, thirst, difficulty swallowing and speaking, blurred vision, and photophobia, and may be followed by hyperthermia, confusion, agitation, combative behaviour, hallucinations typically involving insects; urinary retention, seizures, and coma. Hallucinations are reported in as many as 83% of cases; typically they are simple visual images in natural colours, but infrequently also tactile hallucinations of crawling insects. During October 8 – November 15, 1994, fourteen identified cases of Jimson weed intoxication were reported by a regional poison-control centre in New York. The mean age of the 14 patients was 16.8 years [range: 14-21 years], and eight were male. In the five incidents for which quantity of Jimson weed exposure was reported, ingestion ranged from 30 to 50 seeds per person. Manifestations included visual hallucinations [12 persons], mydriasis , tachycardia  dry mouth , agitation , nausea and vomiting , incoherence , disorientation , auditory hallucinations , combativeness , decreased bowel sounds , slurred speech , urinary retention , and hypertension .
SENSELESS Datura intoxication is characterized by two hallmark symptoms: senseless behaviour and amnesia. The senseless behaviour falls into two categories: comical, as exemplified by the Jamestown incident, and combative. Datura was widely held to be an aphrodisiac, but has also been used to lessen sexual excitement in cases of nymphomania. Along with other drugs, preparations made from it were used to lure girls into prostitution. One indignant German writer said that the plant was used as “a tool of brothel-keepers, wicked seducers of girls, depraved courtesans and shameless lechers.” The latter application is more likely than the use of datura as an aphrodisiac since the plant produces a state of submission and a complete loss of memory, thus rendering the victims incapable of resisting and preventing subsequent recognition.
TRADITIONS “In the 16th century the Portuguese explorer Christoval Acosta found that Hindu prostitutes were so adept at using the seeds of the plant that they gave it in doses corresponding to the number of hours they wished their poor victims to remain unconscious [thus minimizing the demands on their services]. A later traveller to the Indies, Johann Albert de Mandelslo, noted in the mid-17th century that the women, closely watched by their husbands yet tormented by their passion for the novel Europeans, drugged their mates with datura and then ‘prosecuted their delights, even in the presence of their husbands’, who sat utterly stupefied with their eyes wide open. A more macabre use was recorded from the New World, where the Chibcha Indians of highland Colombia administered a close relative of datura to the wives and slaves of dead kings, before burying them alive with their deceased masters. … Perhaps more than any other drug, datura is associated with such transitional moments of passage, of initiation and death. The Luisena Indians of southern California, for example, felt that all youths had to undergo datura narcosis during their puberty rites in order to become men. The Algonquin and other tribes of northeastern North America also employed datura, calling it wysoccan. At puberty, adolescent males were confined in special longhouses and for two or three weeks ate nothing but the drug. During the course of their extended intoxication, the youths forgot what it was to be a boy and learned what it meant to be a man. In South America the Jivaro, or Shuar – the famed headhunters of eastern Ecuador – give a potion called maikua to young boys when at the age of six they must seek their souls. If the boy is fortunate, his soul will appear to him in the form of a large pair of creatures, often animals such as jaguars or anacondas. Later the soul will enter the body. For many Indian tribes datura is closely associated with death. In parts of highland Peru it is called huaca, the Quechua name for grave, because of the belief that those intoxicated with the plant are able to divine the location of the tombs of their ancestors. The Zuni of the American Southwest chew datura during rain ceremonies, often placing the powdered roots in their eyes as they beseech the spirits of the dead to intercede with the gods for rain. Perhaps more than any other clue, it was this connection between datura and the forces of death and darkness that had offered the first indication of the makeup of the zombi poison. … The Hausas of Nigeria used the seeds to heighten the intoxication of ritual beverages. It was given to Fulani youths to excite them in the sharo contest, the ordeal of manhood. Witch doctors in Togo administered a drink of its leaves and the root of a potent fish poison [Lonchocarpus capassa] to disputants who appeared before them for a settlement. In many parts of West Africa the use of Datura stramonium in criminal poisonings still takes a unique form: women breed beetles and feed them on a species of the plant, and in turn use the faeces to kill unfaithful lovers.”5
ZOMBIES The symptom given by Hering, “He is like one enchanted and beside himself,” seems to fit perfectly the zombie phenomenon. To the Haitians Datura stramonium is concombre zombi – the zombi’s cucumber. Several documented cases of the zombie phenomenon exist, among them the case of Clairvius Narcisse who was pronounced dead on 2 May 1962 and buried the next day. Eighteen years later he reappeared in his village, alive. The Narcisse case generated considerable publicity within Haiti and the BBC made a short documentary based on his story in 1981. Immediately following his resurrection from the grave, Narcisse, by his own account, was beaten and bound, then led away by a team of men to work as a slave with other zombies. After two years he was set free after the death of the zombie master and spent the next sixteen years wandering about the country. “It has been revealed that the secret zombie poison was not given in drink form, but was applied directly to the skin of the victim by the zombie maker. As it causes severe itching, the victim scratches the skin and this facilitates the absorption of the poison. Under the influence of this poison, the victim’s breathing becomes weak, and after a time his heartbeat ceases almost completely. The patient looks dead so that even an experienced doctor can be misled and consider such a man to be dead. However, the victim of zombification is still alive. He falls into a deep lethargy, but retains consciousness and is fully aware of what is going on around him. But being paralysed he can do nothing. When he is finally put into the grave, the buried man is still alive, and can survive on the small supply of air in the coffin. Now, at a chosen moment, when nobody is around, the victim is secretly dragged from the grave by the zombie assistants. The zombie maker then gives his resurrected man a potion of Datura plants to drink to make him fully ‘alive’. But the man, who is now called a zombie, is in a state of shock and, in the midst of the confusion caused by the Datura potion, he has no power to protest. He agrees to do what his masters say and is usually sold as a slave. Having experienced his own death and burial, mysterious resurrection, and being regarded as dead by all the community, the zombie is aware that his sudden appearance at home may frighten people to death. So, zombies normally work on sugar plantations and do not try to return home. It is interesting that although Datura plants are the main active ingredient of the zombie poison, the incredible state of lethargy is induced by an animal poison. The zombie makers fortify the plant poison by adding an extract of the flesh of certain puffer fish [Diodon species], which is among the most toxic agents ever discovered.”6 Harvard ethnobotanist Wade Davis presents an intriguing account and explanation of the phenomenon in The Serpent and the Rainbow. “The investigation had come full circle. Ironically, the plant I had originally suspected to be the source of the drug that allowed an individual to be buried alive turned out to be, if anything, a possible antidote, which, at the same time, was instrumental in actually creating and maintaining the zombie state. For if tetrodotoxin [toxin from puffer fish] provided the physiological template upon which cultural beliefs and fears could go to work, datura promised to amplify those mental processes a thousand times. Alone, its intoxication has been characterized as an induced state of psychotic delirium, marked by disorientation, pronounced confusion, and complete amnesia. Administered to an individual who has already suffered the effects of the tetrodotoxin, who has already passed through the ground, the devastating psychological results are difficult to imagine. For it is in the course of that intoxication that the zombie is baptized with a new name, and led away to be socialized into a new existence.”7
GYPSIES “In the European flora it [Datura stramonium] has only been noted from the 17th century onwards. There is one very credible older tradition that the gypsies brought the seed to the western parts of our continent. What have the gypsies got to do with Stramonium? – Apparently quite a lot! They always carry the seed of the thorn apple with them. On the one hand they use it as a narcotic and to prepare love potions. In many crises of conscience it also serves them as a talisman. It furthermore plays an outstanding and convincing role as a remedy in their traditional medicine, which is not surprising considering its wide range of clinical use. … [The following is] a personal reminiscence from the final phase of the second world war when nations were in the melting pot, in a camp in Eastern Europe. Among the Hungarian prisoners were a group of about 25 gypsies, all in civvies because quite obviously they had never been soldiers. These kept as far as possible apart from their fellow-countrymen who spoke the same tongue, so that they might go on living their own life – undeterred by other camp affairs – and this quite insouciantly. In contrast to almost all the other inmates of the camp they were never hungry or emaciated. They ate their fill of the rats which were there in hordes and a great plague to the rest of the camp. Any attempt on the part of those in power, however gentle or harsh, to get them to perform the imposed labours they repelled in such a way that in the end nobody dared approach them. They reacted heatedly, aggressively or stuporously. In some cases it was impossible to say with certainty whether illness was being simulated or really did exist. If they were not sleeping or brooding they nattered unceasingly, day and night, rather loudly and with wild gesticulations. Although anything that would burn was scarce and dear, their barrack room was always dimly lit at night. At the same time others were lying on their bunks fast asleep, not even waking if one shook them by the foot. Some individuals would sometimes sit on their bunks for hours, bent forwards, forehead on their knees, murmuring to themselves or humming monotonous tunes. Now and then they quite unexpectedly presented the whole camp with spontaneous, wildly ecstatic performances in the main street. Some would sing and gesticulate wildly, usually rhythmically, others dance bizarrely, with acrobatic exhibitions in between. Their complexion was normally a pale yellow, but on these occasions their faces acquired a peculiar shiny red coloration. In their personal contacts they were amiable, devoted and mistrustful. They stole like magpies, everything that was not nailed to the ground. Often the track of the culprits could be seen to lead to their place through the freshly fallen snow. But nobody would have dreamt of facing them with it, for one had an idea that that might be the end of one. After all, it was known that even among themselves they easily drew their knives. They demanded a high price in consumer goods for their fortune telling. But in spite of the great hunger everybody paid up gladly: For one hoped in fear and trembling that one might survive and return home. By the way, gypsy women are said to know a great deal more about the art of fortune telling than the men do. It is as impossible for us to understand the mentality of these people as it is for each of us even to understand himself. But perhaps a secret gypsy corner exists nevertheless somewhere within the convolutions of one’s brain.”8
ALLIES Don Juan, the Yaqui shaman-teacher in the books by Carlos Castaneda, described Datura and psilocybe mushrooms as powers or allies, as opposed to peyote, which he described as a teacher. Any species of Datura is the container of the ally, according to Don Juan. Don Juan’s own plants belonged to the species D. innoxia [= D. meteloides]. “Don Juan categorized the ally contained in Datura as having two qualities: it was woman-like, and it was a giver of superfluous power. He thought these qualities were thoroughly undesirable. … The fact that it was depicted as being woman-like did not mean, however, that the ally was a female power. It seemed that the analogy of a woman may have been only a metaphorical way don Juan used to describe what he thought to be the unpleasant effects of the ally. Besides, the Spanish name of the plant, yerba [yerba del diablo, devil’s weed], because of its feminine gender, may have also helped to create the female analogy. At any rate, the personification of this ally as a woman-like power ascribed to it the following anthropomorphic qualities:  it was possessive;  it was violent;  it was unpredictable; and  it had deleterious effects. Don Juan believed that the ally had the capacity to enslave the men who became its followers. The ally possessed its followers by bestowing power on them, by creating a feeling of dependency, and by giving them physical strength and well-being. This ally was also believed to be violent. Its woman-like violence was expressed in its forcing its followers to engage in disruptive acts of brute force. And this specific characteristic made it best suited for men of fierce natures who wanted to find in violence a key to personal power. Another woman-like characteristic was unpredictability. For don Juan it meant that the ally’s effects were never consistent; rather, they were supposed to change erratically, and there was no discernible way of predicting them. … But, alongside its woman-like nature, this ally had another facet which was also perceived as a quality: it was a giver of superfluous power. Don Juan was very emphatic on this point, and he stressed that as a generous giver of power the ally was unsurpassable. It was purported to furnish its followers with physical strength, a feeling of audacity, and the prowess to perform extraordinary deeds. … The overall, undesirable qualities of the ally contained in Datura, esp. its quality of unpredictability, turned it into a dangerous, undependable vehicle. Ritual was the only possible protection against its inconsistency, but that was never enough to ensure the ally’s stability; a sorcerer using this ally as a vehicle had to wait for favourable omens before proceeding.”9
REALITY “I can vouch for scopolamine’s bizarre effects, as I was ‘spiked’ with datura one summer night when I was fifteen. I was walking home when I first felt odd – it seemed as if insects were crawling under my skin, and in the corner of my vision I noticed flickering shapes that disappeared when I looked directly at them. To avoid being noticed, I took a route that brought me down a dimly-lit alley. Ahead of me I could see a large Irish wolfhound, snarling silently; as I approached, it mutated into a small cat and I attempted to stroke it. As I reached out my hand, it dissolved into dock leaves. Realizing my mind was not working correctly, I diverted my route and sat in a field, leaning against a tree. The bushes became figures talking inaudibly among themselves, and impaled on a branch I saw the severed head of a friend. Two giants appeared and chased each other in and out of a nearby tree, clubbing each other. In a corner of my vision, I noticed a woman in a long, flowing dress approaching, but each time I turned to look at her, she vanished. Then I realized that ‘she’ was just a lock of my hair curling in the breeze. A large group of trees on the far side of the field uprooted themselves and cavorted lewdly in a circular dance. I got up and walked on, noticing the trees by the road were shaped like caricatures of people I knew. A rock by someone’s garden sprouted a swan’s neck, and then a human mouth appeared in it; this image was the same one found in a photograph I had of Francis Bacon’s disturbing painting Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. Unlike that of indole-based hallucinogens, the scopolamine experience is disturbingly real. Even though I knew I was undergoing hallucinations, there was a part of me that was willing to accept the images as authentic. It was as if I was viewing an alternative plane of reality, that this spirit world always existed, but had only become visible on this ‘special’ night. It is interesting to note that all of my hallucinations related to people I knew and familiar images; the giants came from the pages of a book I had recently given up trying to read [The Hobbit], and the woman was the same as an imaginary figure I had recently painted.”10
MEDICINE Clay tablets from Babylonian and Assyrian ruins indicate that datura was used medically in ancient civilizations several thousand years ago. Greek and Roman physicians used datura mixed with opium as a sedative and general anaesthetic during surgery. “The Aztecs used Datura [stramonium or meteloides] as a narcotic agent for ‘pain in the side’, in the treatment of infected or abscessed ears, in a plaster applied after lancing of abscessed glands, for pain of the pubes, in an ointment to cure cracks in the soles of the feet, in a lotion for injured feet, in gout, and in a plaster for ulcers and pustules of the body. … Cullen of Edinburgh reported that seeds and extract of Stramonium, including European varieties, were used in ‘mania’, epilepsy, melancholy, rheumatism, ulcerous affections, and cancer. Samuel Sterns called attention to the experiments performed with this plant by Dr. von Störck of Vienna, who used an extract of the juice for convulsions, epilepsy, and ‘madness’. Dr. Porcher called the weed an antispasmodic, useful in chorea and tetanus. … Stramonium has been widely used in folk medicine. A poultice or ointment made from the pulp of the bruised green leaves has been used to relieve the pain of insect bites and stings.”11 The smoking of stramonium leaves in anti-asthma cigarettes stems from the presence of atropine, which by its paralyzing action helps relieve bronchial spasms. Low doses of thorn apple are used for whooping cough, muscle spasm and the symptoms of Parkinsonism.
PROVINGS ••  Hahnemann – 3 provers; method: unknown.
••  Schneller – self-experimentation, c. 1846; method: increasing doses of tincture.
••  Coxe – self-experimentation, 1857; 1x thrice daily for four days; Coxe’s 11-year old son took 8 doses of 3x over three days.
••  Berridge – 3 [male] provers, c. 1871; repeated and increasing doses of tincture [of seeds] for two days [one prover]; repeated doses of tincture [of seeds] for eight days, chewing of 6-8 seeds, and one daily dose of 10 drops of 3rd dil. for three days [one prover, three trials]; repeated doses of tincture [from whole plant], 1-3 times per day for 4-9 days [one prover, three trials].
••  Berridge – 5 provers [4 females, 1 male], c. 1871; single dose of 43M [three provers], repeated doses of 30c and 200c [one prover]; Berridge himself took, successively, one dose of 43M, one dose of 1M, one dose of 200c, one dose of 1M, seventeen doses of 3rd over three days, thirteen doses of 6th dil. over three days, and ten doses of 12th dil. over two days. During a second trial Berridge one dose of 5M on the first day, one dose of 10M on the fifth day, and one dose of 30M on the eighth day, after which he “had to take Alumina and ceased the proving.”
Allen cites some 220 toxicological reports.
 Rätsch, Enzyklopädie der psychoaktiven Pflanzen.  Robert Beverly, cited in Charles B. Heiser, Jr., Nightshades: The Paradoxical Plants.  Stübler and Krug [eds.], Leesers Lehrbuch der Homöopathie: Pflanzliche Arzneistoffe II.  Julien, A Primer of Drug Action.  Davis, The Serpent and the Rainbow.  S. Talajaj et al., The Strangest Plants in the World.  Davis, ibid.  Berndt, The drug picture of Stramonium; BHJ, April 1964.  Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan.  Morgan, Toads and Toadstools.  Vogel, American Indian Medicine.
BRAIN. MIND. Circulation [throat; skin]. Spinal nerves [arms; hip – left; genitals]. Muscles. Sexual organs.
Worse: Glistening objects. Fright. AFTER SLEEP. DARKNESS. Dark, cloudy days. Suppression. Intemperance. When ALONE. Attempting to swallow, esp. liquids. Being touched.
Better: LIGHT. Company. Warmth. Cold water.
c LIGHT – DARKNESS.
The activity of Datura depends on the concentration of tropane alkaloids in the plant. The alkaloid content varies with location, weather, and, particularly, the amount of solar radiation. Plants growing in shade can have a six- to eightfold decrease in alkaloid content; alkaloid concentrations in plants growing in tropical zones are considerably higher than those in plants from northern countries. Exposure to light is thus an essential factor for the development of the typical Datura intoxication.
Stramonium patients, reportedly, often wear black, or white.
M Strong desire for LIGHT.
• “He always imagines that he is alone and is afraid.”
• “He imagines that he is quite alone in a desert, and is afraid.” [Hahnemann]
Wants light but turns away from direct light.
• “Always wants light, but turns away from direct light. Direct look at light produces muscular spasms, mental confusion, epileptiform attack, asthmatic state, attack of coughing or screaming. And even more: If one shines a light into the face of a Stramonium-sick child to test the reaction of the pupils, the child is likely to hit out and strike the pencil light from one’s hand, he shrieks and raves, goes into spasms or coughs.”1
M Strong desire for COMPANY.
• “He always imagines that he is alone and is afraid.”
• “He feels as if he is alone in a wilderness, as if abandoned.” [Hahnemann]
M VIOLENCE or FEARS or CONVULSIONS.
Fear of violence or the violence is fearful.
M Violence [usually very prominent, but may be completely lacking].
RAGE, kicking, biting, striking.
Violent aggression; SUDDEN.
[May be aggressive in consultation.]
Lives under the impression of some immediate danger.
DARKNESS, water, violence, animals [black dogs, wolves], insects, when alone, closed places, tunnels, suffocation, strangers.
Fear of being attacked.
Fear of cemeteries, ghosts, spirits, demons [yet may be fascinated by them as well].
• “He dances at night in the churchyard.” [intoxication]
[Nightmares of graveyards and violence.]
• “Thought that one side of him was alive, while the other side was buried.” [Allen]
• “A Stramonium child can easily take on the persona of some terror he has seen or heard about, and after he has beheaded his hamster with the kitchen knife he will explain calmly that it was not he but the Executioner from the video film that did it. It is this sudden switch from being a victim of terrifying visions to being controlled by them that makes Stramonium so dangerous, and gives the type its violent reputation.” [Bailey]
M Awakes in fear or screaming; recognizes no one.
Clings to those near, or strikes at them.
NIGHT TERRORS; in children.
Knows nothing about it afterwards.
M Ailments from FRIGHT.
[seeing a death, a violence; after a life-threatening situation]
• “Shatan  found six common responses among Vietnam veterans being treated for post-combat syndrome: [a] guilt feelings and self-punishment; [b] feelings of being scapegoated; [c] rage and other violent impulses against indiscriminate targets; [d] loss of sensitivity and compassion; [e] alienation of their feelings about themselves; and [f] mistrust of and doubts of love towards others. … In another study of Vietnam returnees, Strange and Brown  compared combat and noncombat veterans who were experiencing emotional difficulties. The combat group showed a higher incidence of depression and of conflicts in their close interpersonal relationships. They also showed a higher incidence of aggressive and suicidal threats but did not actually carry them out. In a later study of veterans of Vietnam who were making a satisfactory readjustment to civilian life, DeFazio, Rustin, and Diamond  found that the combat veterans still reported certain symptoms twice as often as the noncombat veterans. Based on a questionnaire checklist obtained from 207 veterans separated from the armed forced for over 5 years, DeFazio et al. found the following percentages of combat veterans still reporting symptoms: [a] frequent nightmares – 68%; [b] considers self a hothead – 44%; [c] many fears – 35%; [d] worries about employment – 35%; [e] difficulties with emotional closeness – 35%; [f] tires quickly – 32%.”2
M Religious obsession.
Despair of salvation.
Feels abandoned by God or thinks God is speaking to him.
• “After spasms she fell into a trance, says she is under influence of spirits, and has had conversation with spirits, communications from God; delivers emphatic sermons, prophecies.” [Hering]
May join religious cults. 3
Inspired talking and singing.
Incoherent; prattling and babbling; like that of dementia.
Full of wit, but indecent.
Loquacity during [painful] menses; about religious subjects.
Converses in different languages or in jargon.
Difficulty in finding the right expression; aphasia.
Refuses to talk, will not answer questions, avoids the eye.
• “Gives no answer, and evades carefully looks of other persons.” [Hering]
• “He lay down; got up afterwards to see a patient, who was alarmed to find how bewildered and incapable he was. He upset everything he touched; patient seemed to be talking out of a cloud, or as if he was a figure in a vision, and when he ceased talking prover subsided into a sort of bewilderment, from which he could with difficulty rouse himself to attend to the case. His writing was an almost unintelligible scrawl. He lay down again all day till evening, dizzy and incapable, with dull headache on vertex, but not much pain; could not realise anything, his wife sitting by his bedside seemed like a phantom, and he put his hand occasionally to assure himself of her real existence.” [effects of repeated doses of tincture of seeds for 8 days]
• “After waking all things all things appear to him as if new, even his friends, as if he had never seen them.” [Hahnemann]
Inappropriate behaviour; comical; playing antics.
• “The appearance of the family was extremely ludicrous. The children were laughing, crying, singing, dancing, and playing all imaginable antic pranks. They had no correct estimation of distances or the size of objects; were reaching their hands to catch hold of objects across the room, and again running against persons and things which they appeared to view as distant. The nailheads in the floor were pieces of money which they eagerly tried to pick up. A boy, apparently fancying himself undressed, caught a hat belonging to a student, thrust his foot into it, pulled with both hands on the brim, and began to fret that he could not ‘get on his trousers’. The parents frequently called on the children to behave themselves; but their own actions being equally eccentric, they afforded a ridiculous exhibition of family government.” [poisoning, cited in Hughes]
• “Making all kinds of faces and imitating motions, gestures and voices of different animals.” [Hering]
[Actual or delusional.]
Falls when attempting to walk.
Falls over to either side when attempting to sit up.
Fear that she is going to fall [and clings to those near].
• “In his conscious moments, he asked to be held because he is falling.” [Hering]
Fear that she is about to be thrown from a precipice.
Imagines that everything is falling on her, that the walls will come down.
Imagines that he is falling [and uses every exertion to prevent it].
G Suppressed or diminished SECRETIONS.
[stool, URINE, perspiration, menses, lochia].
Ailments due to suppressed secretions, esp. perspiration.
G SPASMODIC affections.
[convulsions, spasms, cramps, twitching – esp. of face -, jerks, stammering]
G Similar to Bell. in fevers and febrile convulsions.
But remaining longer or with RECURRENCES.
G Violent THIRST, esp. for SOUR drinks.
G Sleeplessness in dark room.
Faintness in dark places.
G > Warmth.
G < Long sleep. < Waking. • "One of the characteristics of all these fears and delusions, it is always worse on waking, while Belladonna is usually before they go to bed and Stramonium is on waking and all these fears are worse when alone."4 G < Autumn. G Disorderly, graceful or rhythmic MOTIONS, < head or arms. G PAINLESSNESS of complaints usually painful. Increased, maniacal strength. P Disturbances of vision. • "When in the dark has several times seen bright flashes, suddenly coming and going, like faint and small sheet lightning." [proving with tincture] • "Frequent passing of sparks of light across field of vision. ... Sparks of light occasionally crossed field of vision, from above downwards." [side effect of extract] • "Every object appears coloured with rainbow tints." [side effect of smoking stramonium for asthma] • "All black objects appear to be green." [poisoning] P MOUTH and THROAT EXTREMELY DRY. And Difficult swallowing. • "Great dryness of mouth, throat, and nostrils; could not eat bread and butter for breakfast, but must take sopped bread and milk instead; the dryness prevented insalivation, and made swallowing difficult." • "Woke several in night with excessively disagreeable dryness of mouth and throat, had to sip water." [Hughes]  Berndt, The drug picture of Stramonium; BHJ, April 1964.  Coleman et al., Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life.  Wallace, Remedy Notes.  Saine, Seminar Homeopathy and Psychiatric Patients I. Rubrics Mind Ailments from religious excitement . Anxiety, after coffee , when in company , in dark , from noise of rushing water , when speaking , in the presence of strangers . Desire to attack others . Cheerful during menses . Clinging to persons or furniture . Desire for company at night , during menses [1/1]. Delusions, she is always alone [1; Puls.], being devoured by animals [2/1], body is cut in two , impression of immediate danger , he is possessed of a devil , dogs attack him [3/1], feet are separated from body [1/1], people are fighting , sees black images, phantoms , she had no limbs [1/1], everything is new , things appear smaller and he were very large [1/1], walls are falling [1H], of wolves . Fear, of everything black , of tunnels . Imitation,of voices and motions of animals [2/1]. Cannot bear to be looked at, evading the look of other persons [2/1]. Loquacity, changing quickly from one subject to another, during headache , about religious subjects [1H]. Mutilating his body . Praying, during menses [2/1], nocturnal piety [1/1]. Does not recognize his friends [1HA], his relatives . Inspired singing and talking [1H]. Vertigo On entering a dark room . As if floating . Lying on back > .
Pain, when changing from dark to light and light to dark [2/1].
Colours, black objects seem green [1HU], rainbow, all colours [1HU]. Dazzling, sunlight . Dim, before headache , during headache . Flashes, in the dark . Flickering, with vertigo . Sparks, from above downward in field in vision [1HU].
Dryness at night on waking [1HU].
Dryness at night on waking [1HU]. Swallowing difficult from dryness of mouth and throat [1HU].
Sensation of lightness . Sensation of looseness in joints .
Position, sleeps kneeling [1; Med.]. Sleeplessnessin dark room .
Odour, offensive, during menses [1/1], rank, during menses .
* Repertory additions: [HA] = Hahnemann; [H] = Hering; [HU] = Hughes.
Note: Mind symptom, under Delusions, Friend, he had never seen his friends, after walking, must be … after waking. [symptom 503 Materia Medica Pura]
Aversion: : Water. : Cold water. : Alcohol; milk; mother’s milk.
Desire: : Sour. : Beer; brandy.
Worse: : Brandy. : Beer; coffee; cold drinks; lemonade; milk.
Better: : Lemons; vinegar.