The devil’s trumpet plant was not known in Europe during ancient times and the Middle Ages until it was brought to Spain from Mexico in the late 16th century. It quickly spread through Europe because of its significant effect on the nervous system.
Devil’s Trumpet Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names: Devil’s apple, Jimson weed, Jamestown weed, mad-apple, nightshade, Peru-apple, stinkweed, stinkwort, stramonium, thorn-apple.
- French: Stramoine, pomme epineuse.
- Spanish: Estramonio, floripondio, chamico.
- Environment: Original to Central and South America, it is presently found all over the world. It grows on the borders of fields and roadsides, near villages and populated areas.
- Description: Annual strong plant of the Solanaceae family, growing from 30 to 90 cm high. Big, white, trumpet-shaped flowers. Its fruits are spinous, and the whole plant has an unpleasant smell.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: Leaves.
Healing Properties and Uses
The entire plant contains active alkaloids that act on the autonomic nervous system (hyoscine, atropine, and scopolamine), citric and malic acids, tannins, and essential oils. Its action is similar to that of henbane and belladonna, and it is characterized by an inhibition of the parasympathetic nervous system. The plant has the following properties and uses:
- Antispasmodic. It relaxes the digestive tract muscles, the bronchi, and the urinary and bile ducts.
- It has been used for all kinds of colic pains: intestinal, digestive, and renal, including as an antiasthmatic substance.
- In external applications, it eases rheumatic pains.
WARNING! It is a stupefacient and toxic plant, which produces hallucinations and mental disorders, and many of its popular Latin American names are related to this effect. Some of these names are very expressive, such as “vuelvete loco” (go mad).
How to use Devil’s Trumpet
- Being a toxic plant, it must not be used internally, except under medical supervision.
- Powder made from the leaves. The maximum dose is 0.2 g three times a day.
- Poultices of mashed leaves, which are applied on the affected articulation.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 157. Print.[devil’s trumpet plant]