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Jimsonweed poisoning

Definition

Jimsonweed is a tall herb plant. Jimsonweed poisoning occurs when someone sucks the juice or eats the seeds from this plant. You can also be poisoned by drinking tea made from the leaves.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Alternative Names

Angel's trumpet; Devil's weed; Thorn apple; Tolguacha; Jamestown weed; Stinkweed; Datura; Moonflower

Poisonous Ingredient

Poisonous ingredients include:

  • Atropine
  • Hyoscine (scopolamine)
  • Hyoscyamine
  • Tropane alkaloids

Note: This list may not include all poisonous ingredients.

Where Found

The poison is found in all parts of the plant, especially the leaves and seeds.

Symptoms

Symptoms of jimsonweed poisonings can affect various body systems.

BLADDER AND KIDNEYS

  • Little to no urine production (urine retention)
  • Abdominal pain (from urine retention)

EYES, EARS, NOSE, THROAT, AND MOUTH

STOMACH AND INTESTINES

  • Nausea and vomiting

HEART AND BLOOD

NERVOUS SYSTEM

SKIN

  • Red skin
  • Hot, dry skin

WHOLE BODY

  • Fever
  • Thirst

Home Care

Seek immediate medical help. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care provider.

Before Calling Emergency

Get the following information:

  • Person's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the plant, if known
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

Your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does not need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The person may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Breathing support
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing)
  • Fluids by IV (through the vein)
  • Laxatives
  • Medicines to treat symptoms, including an antidote to the effects of the poison
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Symptoms last for 1 to 3 days and may require a hospital stay. Death is unlikely.

DO NOT touch or eat any plant with which you are not familiar. Wash your hands after working in the garden or walking in the woods.

References

Graeme KA. Toxic plant ingestions. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 64.

Review Date:11/4/2015
Reviewed By:Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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