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Datura wrightii


Also listed as: Datura meteloides, California jimson weed
Related terms

Related Terms
  • Angel trumpet, California jimson weed, devil's trumpet, devil's weed, Datura meteloides, DAWR2, hairy thorn-apple, hierba del diablo, Indian apple, Indian whiskey, manit, momoy, raving nightshade, sacred thorn-apple, sacred thornapple, southwestern thorn apple, Stechapfel, stinkweed, thorn apple, tolguacha, toloache, western jimsonweed, Wright's jimsonweed.
  • Not included in this review: Jimson weed (Datura stramonium) or Datura suaveolens.

  • Datura wrightii (California jimson weed), and to a lesser extent, Datura stramonium, are common plants in California in the United States, with a repulsive smell and a harsh, astringent flavor to their leaves. In California, the plant is frequently called jimson weed, which has lead to confusion among scientists and clinicians who may not realize that the plant is actually Datura wrightii, not Datura stramonium.
  • Datura wrightii has been widely used in California. It is also a potentially dangerous plant that has killed many, especially teenagers. Abuse of the plant has been promoted on the Internet, in books, and by word of mouth.
  • However, many southwestern Native American cultures used Datura wrightii during puberty ceremonies, specifically to induce visions. It was and continues to be a popular herbal medicine among Native Americans who know how to use it safely. It is sometimes sold in Mexican shops as hierba del diablo.
  • Use of this plant may cause respiratory depression that may result in death. Datura contains atropine and scopolamine, which may induce visual and auditory hallucinations, confusion, panic, and other conditions.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Acne, analgesic (pain reliever), anesthetic, anodyne (pain-reliever), antibacterial, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appendicitis, aromatherapy, arthritis pain, asthma, bloating, blood poisoning, boils, broken bones, bruises, burns, cathartic (producing bowel movements), chest pain, constipation, dry skin, ear aches, eye disorders, fever, hemorrhoids, inflammation, laxative, narcotic, nasal congestion, respiratory problems, rheumatism (topical), sedative, shortness of breath, skin irritation, skin wounds, snake bites, sores, sprains, stimulant, stomach ache, swelling, tonic, wounds.


Adults (18 years and older)

  • In general, there is no proven safe of effective dose of California jimson weed (Datura wrightii). Certain chemicals in California jimson weed, such as l-hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and atropine, have been used for a variety of conditions. For gastrointestinal problems, Parkinson's disease, rhinitis, or urinary tract infections, l-hyoscyamine has been administered in doses of 0.125-0.25 milligrams, three or four times daily.
  • Atropine has been administered in doses of 0.4-0.6 milligrams for heart conditions, respiratory infections, or tremors. This corresponds to about the amount of atropine in 4-6 seeds. However, it is important to remember that the seeds also contain scopolamine and other tropane alkaloids.
  • Scopolamine has been administered in doses of 0.4-0.8 milligrams for motion sickness and heart conditions. This corresponds to about the amount of scopolamine in 8-16 seeds.
  • Atropine has also been applied to the eye to treat eye infections as a 1% ointment or 0.5-2% solution. Scopolamine is applied to the eye as a 0.25% solution. Datura wrightii preparations should not be applied to the eye since they may contain bacteria, fungi and particles.
  • Approximately 0.25-0.5 milligram l-hyoscyamine has been administered subcutaneously (under the skin), intramuscularly (injected into the muscle) or intravenously (injected into the vein), 2-4 times daily. Scopolamine has been administered as 0.32-0.65 milligram subcutaneously or intramuscularly. It can be given intravenously but must be diluted prior to injection. Datura wrightii preparations should not be used parenterally since they may not be sterile and may contain particles. Injections should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • In general, there is no proven safe of effective dose of California jimson weed (Datura wrightii), and use is not recommend in children. Certain chemicals in California jimson weed, such as l-hyoscyamine, scopolamine and atropine, have been used for a variety of conditions. Dosing in children is often based on body weight and should only be given under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid in patients with a known allergy or sensitivity to Datura wrightii or other members of the Solanaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • In general, Datura wrightii induces visual and auditory hallucinations. Death may occur due to respiratory paralysis. Elderly patients tend to react to atropine and scopolamine (found in the herb) with excitement and agitation, even following small doses.
  • Datura wrightii may be safe when used externally in poultices, solutions or in aromatherapy. It is also possibly safe when used internally in small doses for nasal congestion, pain, stomach ache, fever and other uses. However, this is largely based on expert opinion. Datura wrightii is likely unsafe when used internally in large doses for asthma, the induction of hallucinations, or as a poison. Use of any preparation of Datura wrightii against rattlesnake bites is also likely unsafe.
  • Hot, dry skin and dry mouth, thirst, decreased sweat production, increased heart rate, and heat exhaustion can occur with Datura wrightii. Decreased gastrointestinal motility and secretions, including decreased stomach acid secretion, decreased urinary tract motility and possible decreased bile duct motility may occur. These decreases may slow down and prolong the absorption of the alkaloids.
  • Headache, blurred vision, visual and auditory hallucinations (sometimes involving insects), respiratory depression, confusion, panic, dysarthria (slurred speech), ataxia (loss of coordination), coma, euphoria, fatigue, insomnia, inappropriate and combative behavior, and seizures have been reported. Difficulty swallowing and speaking can occur. Atropine is a central nervous system stimulant, whereas scopolamine is a central nervous system depressant. Coma from Datura wrightii can last several days. Intoxication can also occur from smoking California jimson weed (Datura wrightii).
  • Datura wrightii may decrease bronchial secretions and, because atropine is contraindicated in asthma, this plant should not be used with asthma.
  • Patients with narrow angle glaucoma, ocular adhesions, tachycardia, unstable cardiovascular status due to hemorrhage, myocardial infarction (heart attack), obstructive gut diseases, paralytic ileus, intestinal atony (lack of muscle tone), severe ulcerative colitis, megacolon or hepatic disease, obstructive uropathy, renal (kidney) disease, or myasthenia gravis should not take Datura wrightii preparations.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • California jimson weed is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Hyoscyamine is known to be excreted into breast milk. Atropine and scopolamine may decrease milk production.


Interactions with Drugs

  • Alcohol causes delirium, respiratory depression and coma. These effects may be additive when taken with Datura wrightii.
  • Theoretically, Datura wrightii may interact with agents that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Datura wrightii preparations theoretically have all the drug interactions of atropine and scopolamine. These agents are known to have additive anticholinergic effects with amantadine and tricyclic antidepressants, increase the effects of atenolol and digoxin, and decrease the antipsychotic effects while increasing the anticholinergic effects of phenothiazines. Patients taking tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticholingerics or other types of antidepressants should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before taking Datura wrightii.
  • Datura wrightii may interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Datura wrightii may alter the effects of MAOI antidepressants, such as isocarboxazid (Marplan®), phenelzine (Nardil®), or tranylcypromine (Parnate®).
  • Emergency room treatment of patients under the influence of Datura wrightii is dangerous. Anesthesia is dangerous to these patients due to the respiratory depression induced by anesthesia. This is additive with the respiratory depression caused by the plant. Several deaths have occurred during anesthesia in these patients.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Datura wrightii theoretically may increase the effects of Atropa belladona and other herbs containing anticholinergics. Caution is advised.
  • In theory, use of Datura wrightii with herbs or supplements that may cause bleeding may increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Theoretically, Datura wrightii may increase the effects of Digitalis preparations. Caution is advised when using with other herbs and supplements with similar effects, such as foxglove.
  • Datura wrightii may interact with herbs that have chemical properties similar to monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Caution is advised.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

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Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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