Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia and Datura species)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Alkaloid, alkaloids, Andes datura, angel's-tears, angel's trumpet tea, anticholinergic, apple-peru, Atlinan (Aztec), atropine, baumartige Engelstrompete (Dutch), borrachero, Brugmansia, Brugmansia arborea, Brugmansia aurea, Brugmansia candida, Brugmansia sanguinea, Brugmansia suaveolens, Brugmansia versicolor, campana (Spanish), chamico, concombre-zombi (Caribbean French), Datura candida, Datura condida, Datura cornigera, Datura fastuosa, Datura ferox, Daturainnoxia, Datura meteloides, Datura metel, Daturatatula, Datura, Datura arborea, Datura inoxia, Datura stramonium, Datura suaveolens, Datura wrightii, devil's cucumber, devil's trumpet, devil's weed, dhatūrā (Hindi), downy thornapple, floripondio (Spanish), golden angel's trumpet, herbe aux sorciers (Caribbean French), hyoscine, hyoscyamine, Iresine herbstii (Amaranthaceae), jimson weed, jimsonweed, kubijara, Lagerheim, maikoa, man-t'o-lo (Chinese), orange angel's trumpet, pricklyburr, red angel's trumpet, red floripontio, San Pedro cactus, scopolamine, serotonin, shredded white, Solanaceae (family), toloache (Aztec), tree datura, thornapple, trumpet lilies, weissliche Engelstrompete (German), white angel's trumpet.
Angel's trumpet is a common name for two closely related genera in the family Solanaceae: Brugmansia, comprising woody plants with pendulous flowers and Datura, comprising herbaceous plants with erect flowers. Some species formerly included in Datura are now classified in the separate genus Brugmansia.
Angel's trumpet has a long history of use in native Central and South American cultures. There is archaeological evidence of the use of this herb for medicinal purposes in pre-Colombian times in northern Peru as far back as 1500 B.C. Use of angel's trumpet continues into contemporary times as Andean shamans ritually use the herb in healing rites and in order to diagnose disease.
Parts of the angel's trumpet contain the poisonous belladonna alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. In the 1990s and 2000s, the U.S. media reported stories of adolescents and young adults dying or becoming seriously ill from intentionally ingesting angel's trumpet. Because of the high potential for overdose and accounts indicating the rising rates of this herb as a hallucinogen by teenagers in the United States, medicinal uses are often discouraged. Angel's trumpet is considered poisonous and it is on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Poisonous Plants List.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Anesthesia, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, arthritis, asthma, autonomic dysfunction, bone fractures, bruises, curative, euphoric, hallucinations, hemorrhoids, improved mental clarity, musculoskeletal injuries (feet), narcotic, pain, psychoactive, rheumatic diseases, sedation, skin conditions (pustules), swelling, ulcers, wound healing.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
Based on cases of poisoning and potential dangerous constituents, angel's trumpet is not recommended. Traditionally, angel's trumpet has been used as an enema, tea, or inhalant to induce visions.
Children (under 18 years old)
Based on cases of poisoning and potentially dangerous constituents, angel's trumpet is not recommended for children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with known allergy/hypersensitivity to angel's trumpet, its constituents (atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine), or Datura or Brugmansia species.
Side Effects and Warnings
Parts of the angel's trumpet contain the poisonous belladonna alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. Angel's trumpet is considered poisonous, and it is on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Poisonous Plants List. Because of the high risk for overdose and reports of increasing rates of this herb as a hallucinogen by teenagers in the United States, medicinal uses are often discouraged.
Fever, flushing, intense thirst, disorientation, hyperactivity, ataxia, delirium, motor restlessness, over-talkativeness, convulsive sobbing, sexual excitement, changes in blood pressure, dry skin, vomiting, acute anticholinergic syndrome, excessive muscular tone, muscular weakness, muscular paralysis, clonus, disorientation, incoherent thought, fever, tangential thinking, illusions, seizures, convulsions, coma, alternating levels of consciousness, and audio-visual disassociation, mydriasis, anisocoria, anxiety, amnesia, psychosis, respiratory distress and weakness, constipation, delayed gastric emptying, suppression of gastrointestinal motility, decreased lower esophageal pressure, increase ocular tension in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma, increased urinary retention, and aggressive and autoaggressive behavior, have been reported after ingestion.
Angel's trumpet may worsen obstructive gastrointestinal tract diseases (including atony, paralytic ileus, and stenosis).
Angel's trumpet may cause increased heartbeat (tachycardia) and worsen congestive heart failure.
Avoid in individuals with toxic megacolon, as angel's trumpet might worsen the condition by suppressing intestinal motility.
Individuals with Down syndrome may be hypersensitive to the antimuscarinic effects of angel's trumpet.
Angel's trumpet may increase the risk of hypothermia in patients with fever.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Based on case reports and epidemiological study, the entire plant is considered poisonous and is unsafe when taken by mouth during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Angel's trumpet may have additive effects when taken with alcohol, anticholinergic agents (such as amantadine, atropine, belladonna alkaloids, phenothiazines, scopolamine, and tricyclic antidepressants), anesthesia, and anticoagulants.
Angel's trumpet may also interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, blood pressure-lowering agents, antipsychotic agents, salicylic acid (aspirin), and opiates.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Angel's trumpet may have additive effects when taken with alcohol, anticholinergic agents (such as amantadine, atropine, belladonna, phenothiazines, scopolamine, and tricyclic antidepressants), anesthesia, and anticoagulants.
Angel's trumpet may also interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, blood pressure-lowering agents, antipsychotic agents, willow bark, and opiates/poppy.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Carod-Artal, FJ and Vazquez-Cabrera, CB. [Mescaline and the San Pedro cactus ritual: archaeological and ethnographic evidence in northern Peru]. Rev Neurol 4-16-2006;42(8):489-498. View Abstract
De, Feo, V. Ethnomedical field study in northern Peruvian Andes with particular reference to divination practices. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;85(2-3):243-256. View Abstract
Francis, PD and Clarke, CF. Angel trumpet lily poisoning in five adolescents: clinical findings and management. J Paediatr Child Health 1999;35(1):93-95. View Abstract
Gopel, C, Laufer, C, and Marcus, A. Three cases of angel's trumpet tea-induced psychosis in adolescent substance abusers. Nord.J.Psychiatry 2002;56(1):49-52. View Abstract
Hall, RC, Popkin, MK, and McHenry, LE. Angel's Trumpet psychosis: a central nervous system anticholinergic syndrome. Am J Psychiatry 1977;134(3):312-314. View Abstract
Havelius, U and Asman, P. Accidental mydriasis from exposure to Angel's trumpet (Datura suaveolens). Acta Ophthalmol Scand 2002;80(3):332-335. View Abstract
Isbister, GK, Oakley, P, Dawson, AH, et al. Presumed Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia) poisoning: clinical effects and epidemiology. Emerg Med (Fremantle.) 2003;15(4):376-382. View Abstract
Marneros, A, Gutmann, P, and Uhlmann, F. Self-amputation of penis and tongue after use of Angel's Trumpet. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2006;256(7):458-459. View Abstract
McHenry, LE and Hall, RC. Angel's trumpet. Lethal and psychogenic aspects. J Fla Med Assoc 1978;65(3):192-196. View Abstract
Mobus, U, Demmler, G, and Schulz, K. [Accidental drowning due to tropane alkaloid abuse]. Arch Kriminol 2002;210(1-2):16-21. View Abstract
Nencini, C, Cavallo, F, Bruni, G, et al. Affinity of Iresine herbstii and Brugmansia arborea extracts on different cerebral receptors. J Ethnopharmacol 5-24-2006;105(3):352-357. View Abstract
Niess, C, Schnabel, A, and Kauert, G. [Angel trumpet: a poisonous garden plant as a new addictive drug?]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr 12-3-1999;124(48):1444-1447. View Abstract
Paetzold, W, Schneider, U, Emrich, HM, et al. [Angel trumpets: case report of drug-induced psychosis caused by Brugmansia insigniis]. Psychiatr Prax 1999;26(3):147-148. View Abstract
Van, der Donck, I, Mulliez, E, and Blanckaert, J. Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia arborea) and mydriasis in a child--a case report. Bull Soc Belge Ophtalmol 2004;(292):53-56. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017