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Jimson Weed
by Terry Cochrane

Jimson WeedJIMSON WEED datura stramonium
Jamestown weed, Datura, Giant Thornapple

When Europeans came to the Colony of Virginia, they found a weed with pretty white/purple flowers on a thorny stalk that had a large brown seed pod. The local Indian medicine men knew of the powers of this very dangerous plant that grows in waste locations throughout the southern United States. The Indians used the leaves as a smoke for asthma and other breathing problems. If taken incorrectly, this herb can cause severe neurological damage. The East Indian "Bidis" cigarette contains a small amount of datura. Even skin contact with flowers, and especially seeds can cause dangerous neurological disorders and powerful hallucinations. This plant is the source of the "witches" of the colonies who touched the seeds or smoked the leaves and thought they had been flying on their brooms (those who survived the experience to tell of it).

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