Datura stramonium (Bloustinkblaar, Jimson weed, iloyi) is widely used for headaches, asthma, wounds, sores and boils. It is poisonous and various cases of human poisoning have been reported.
Ethno Medicinal Uses of Datura stramonium
Administered to people: The Zulus use unspecified parts (probably leaves) with an unidentified Dioscora species as hypnotic drugs against hysteric fits in girls. It is also smoked for relieving headaches and asthma. Leaves, without the mid-rib, are laid over painful wounds and sores and are also used in poultices for scrofulous swellings (tuberculosis like bacteria of the lymph nodes, particularly of the neck) and tumours. Powdered leaves are applied to bruises and wounds to draw out inflammation and pus. (Hutchings et.al.)
An old treatment for septic wounds from a leopard’s claw was to syringe them with a solution of boiled Datura leaf decoction and nitrate of ammonia obtained from dassie urine. (Hutchings et.al.)
In Transkei, leaves are smoked for asthma and applied in a sugar and flour paste to whitlows (a painful infection of the finger caused by the herpes virus). Leaves are also smoked for asthma and coughs in Zimbabwe. Powdered roots and leaves are used in the treatment of goitre complaints (swelling in the neck resulting from an enlarged thyroid gland) and applied to boils. Leaves and fruits are taken in intoxicating infusions for frequent urination. The Vhavenda use leaves for venereal disease and insanity. (Hutchings et.al.)
In Israel, dried leaves are smoked for respiratory congestion and asthma. In Nigeria, leaves are used in the treatment of typhus. In Madagascar, they are used for asthma and foot ailments while seeds are used as narcotics, sedatives and antispasmodics. In India, warmed leaves are applied to the breast to reduce lactation and firm the breast while the sap is applied to the forehead to relieve headaches. (Hutchings et.al.)
Administered to animals: Powdered leaves are applied to bruises and wounds to draw out inflammation and pus. (Hutchings et.al.)
Applied in a magical sense: Powdered roots and leaves are inhaled as snuff to aid divining. (Hutchings et.al.)
Other Uses: In India, crushed leaves are kept in beds to kill bedbugs. (Hutchings et.al.)
Caution: Ingestion of seeds has produced similar effects to Cannabis poisoning in children. Plants are sometimes used by young people for intoxication purposes. Young plants cooked as vegetables were reported to have caused severe poisoning of British soldiers in Jamestown in 1676, an incident which led to the adoption of the common name, Jimson Weed. Symptoms of poisoning include severe mental confusion. (Hutchings et.al.)
This monograph contains details of Datura stramonium as per the references cited below. If you can provide any additional information, photos or reliable records, or spot any errors, please leave a comment below or in The Muthi Flora of southern Africa Facebook group.
Arnold. T.H., Prentice, C.A., Hawker, L.C., Snyman, E.E., Tomalin, M., Crouch, N.R. and Pottas-Bircher, C. (2002). Medicinal and magical plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 13. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
Hutchings, A., Scott, A.H., Lewis, G., Cunnigham, A.B., (1996). Zulu Medicinal Plants: an inventory. University of Natal