Commonly known as Castor Oil Plant or Castor Bean Plant. Despite its name the seeds the plant produces as “beans” are not true beans.
It is not to be mistaken as a Fatsia Japonica, (known as the false castor oil plant), they are similar in appearance.
Castor oil and beans from the plant contains Ricin, a highly toxic natural protein. A dose as small as a few seeds can kill an adult if ingested or the oil injected.
Ricin can even be poisonous if inhaled.
However Cold pressed castor oil commercially sold is non-toxic to humans due to the small dosage and dilution.
Overdosing on ricin can include painful and unpleasant symptoms such as, nausea, diarrhea, tachycardia, hypotension, persisting seizures, burning in the mouth and throat, abdominal pain, severe dehydration, and a decrease in blood pressure. If not treated, death occurs within 3-5 days however when recognised a full recovery usually occurs.
Suicide or murder attempts are very rare, even though it is well known as being one of the deadliest plants, and its easy to find as the plant can grow along the roadside in India.
Other Names: Angel’s trumpet, Devil’s Apple, Devil’s Trumpet, Jimsonweed, Sorcerer’s Herb, Stramonium, Thorne-apple
Datura is one of the most toxic and poisonous plants on earth, it belongs to the “Witches’ Weeds” along with deadly Nightshade Henbane and Mandrake. Datura is dangerous even to touch, so much care needs to be taken when around this plant whether it is fresh or dried.
In ancient South America the seeds of the Tree Datura were once powered and mixed with pig’s fat to form an ointment used for healing and also by shamans for their out of body travels to the spirit world – but it was only used in times of great need, such as for a soul retrieval or to reverse a great curse caused by the ancestors. In folk magic it was used much more safely to break hexes and reverse curses back to the sender.
Most parts of the plant contain a toxic hallucinogen and it is most known for causing delirious states and DEATH if eaten. It has many healing properties but is rarely used due to its toxicity, which causes severe unpredictable hallucinations that can last hours or days, it can result in the person having to be tied up to prevent them from hurting themselves or others! Do not touch or ingest this plant!
All Datura plants contain a cocktail of chemicals (tropane alkaloids including scopolamine, hyoscyamine and atropine), which are found mostly in their seeds and flowers. The presence of these substances in Datura meant it was used for centuries in some cultures as a poison. The toxin variation across the plants can be a 5:1 but this depends on the plants age, where it is grown and local weather conditions. These variations make Datura exceptionally hazardous as a drug. Datura was used in traditional cultures as an hallucinogen, but only using a great deal of experience and detailed knowledge of the plant, this was critical in order to minimise harm.
Recently there has been many tragic incidents resulting from modern recreational users intentionally ingesting Datura. There are several reports in the medical literature of deaths from Datura Stramonium and Datura Ferox intoxication. Children are especially vulnerable to atropine poisoning and their prognosis is likely to be fatal. As a result of Datura’s poisonous nature and the possibility of fatality if indigested in some places it is prohibited to buy, sell or cultivate Datura as plants.
Effects if indigested
Datura intoxication produces a delirious effect, which includes an inability to differentiate reality from fantasy as well as other awful things like hyperthermia, an accelerated heart rate, bizarre and possibly violent behaviour, severe dilation of the pupil’s causing a painful intolerance to visual perception to the light that can last several days and pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect. No other psychoactive substance has received as many severely negative experience reports as has Datura.
Due to the agitated behaviour and confused mental state victims of Datura poisoning are typically hospitalized. Stomach pumping and the administration of activated charcoal can be used to reduce the stomach’s absorption of the indigested poisons. The drug physostigmine is used to reverse the effect of the poisons and Benzodiazepines can be given to curb the patient’s agitation and oxygen, hydration and symptomatic treatment is often provided. Observation of the patient is continuous until the symptoms resolve, usually from 24-36 hours after ingestion of the Datura.
Information sourced from wikipedia & witchofforestgrove.com