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First Aid for Jimsonweed Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 27, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Jimsonweed Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the plant or plant product containing the compound. All parts of the plant are known to be toxic, particularly the leaves and seeds.

What is Jimsonweed Poisoning?

  • Jimsonweed plant (botanical name Datura stramonium) is a herbaceous plant with a foul-smell, that is seen across several regions of the world; although, the plant is native to North America
  • The plant extracts are used in native medicines and tea preparation in some parts of the world. Dried Datura leaves have also been traditionally used in smoking for their psychotropic effect
  • Jimsonweed Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the plant or plant product containing the compound. All parts of the plant are known to be toxic, particularly the leaves and seeds
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Jimsonweed Poisoning may be also referred to variously as the following:

  • Angel's Trumpet Poisoning
  • Datura Poisoning
  • Datura Stramonium Poisoning
  • Devil’s Cucumber Poisoning
  • Devil’s Trumpet Poisoning
  • Devil’s Weed Poisoning
  • Devil's Snare Poisoning
  • Hell's Bells Poisoning
  • Jamestown Weed Poisoning
  • Jimsonweed Toxicity
  • Locoweed Poisoning
  • Moonflower Poisoning
  • Pricklyburr Poisoning
  • Stinkweed Poisoning
  • Thorn Apple Poisoning
  • Tolguacha Poisoning

What are the Causes of Jimsonweed Poisoning?

  • Jimsonweed Poisoning is caused by eating jimsonweed plant or plant products
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • The poisons contained in the plant include atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and certain alkaloids that are mainly found in the seeds and leaves. However, all parts of the jimsonweed plant are toxic
  • In some communities, the jimsonweed plant is used to prepare certain herbal medicines and for sacred rituals. The extracts of the plant may be slightly more concentrated and has the potential to cause severe symptoms

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Jimsonweed Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Jimsonweed Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the digestive system, nervous system, vascular system, urinary system, and ENT may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Jimsonweed Poisoning may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting; feeling very thirsty
  • Fever
  • Vision abnormalities including blurred vision; pupil dilation
  • Dryness of the mouth; dry skin that appears red
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Urination difficulties (absence of urine or poor urine outflow)
  • Abdominal pain due to poor urine output
  • Rapid pulse
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Delirium, hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Coma

How is First Aid administered for Jimsonweed Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Jimsonweed Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, for emergency assistance
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Clean the mouth to remove any remaining pieces; wipe mouth with a wet cloth
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the plant or plant product to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Gastric lavage for elimination of substance from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate and seizures
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the substance from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Jimsonweed Poisoning?

First aid for Jimsonweed Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Jimsonweed Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Jimsonweed Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms that occur due to mild poisoning, the outcome is generally good, with appropriate medication and early support. In most cases, the affected individuals are known to fully recover within 3 days
  • In case of severe symptoms due to severe contact/poisoning, it may worsen the outcome and/or prolong time of recovery. Nevertheless, deaths from Jimsonweed Poisoning are rarely reported

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Jimsonweed Poisoning be Prevented?

Jimsonweed Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Keeping any poisonous/hazardous chemicals and other materials out of children’s reach
  • Avoiding eating wild berries and plants, especially if you have no information about them
  • Following working in the garden or fields, hiking, or camping, always wash hands thoroughly, prior to eating anything
  • Always follow instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

It is important to give your healthcare provider a complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications that are being currently taken. This will help them in assessing the possible drug interactions within various medications and help avoid/prevent accidental or unintentional toxic drug effects.

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

First Aid tips for Jimsonweed Poisoning:

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 6, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 27, 2018