You may wonder why I would grow poison plants. Well it is a bit complicated but also very simple. I love plants! Rare and poison plants have always fascinated me. When I first studied the craft nightshade plants always caught my attention. When I found out that plants, such as peppers, eggplant and tomatoes were in the same family it made me want to research and read. Nightshade plants and most any Solanaceae plants seem to grow incredibly well for me. Many call this, as well as working magically and medicinally with a plant "Plant spirit allies" I personally believe that everything has spirit. So as you can imagine working with plant spirits is incredibly joyful for me.
Several years ago I had a period of time when I was influenced heavily by nightshade plants. They literally just came to me. It was then I decided I wanted to do research, academic, historical, magical, etc. I grew as many nightshade and other poison plants as I could. I grew them from seedlings or seeds and studied each as they grew. Along with academic research in anthropology and ethnobotany I began to cultivate a relationship with them. Later when I moved to Arizona and once again perused academic studies I found myself in an ethnobotany internship (2 semesters) studying Mayan ritual remains, as well as ethnobotany classes, classes about traditional healing etc. Through this, I was able to study these poison plants more in depth with the support of other ethnobotanists and academics. Well enough about me. I am sure you want to hear all about the poison garden!
First off let me say this. STOP, stop right here and read this, then read it again. These plants are potentially dangerous. If you do not know what you are doing do not handle them, do not grow them, and never EVER take them internally. Yes I do make Flying Ointments that I sell locally, however I measure them out, and have studied them extensively so that I understand what I am dealing with. If you grow, buy, use these plants do so at your own risk, and ALWAYS with respect. Plants such as Datura do not care if you live or die, she has no problem taking your life.
DaturaDatura comes in many variety of species. Of these I have personally worked with, D. stramonium commonly called Jimsom weed. D. inoxia, which is commonly called Moonflower (see blog about confusing Moonflowers here) D. metele, which have beautiful white and purple blooms, and D. Wrightii which is often called Sacred Datura. Datura contains several alkaloids classified as tropanes. Many Solanaceae plants contain Solanine which is a glycoside. This causes symptoms such as headache, vomiting, and coma if ingested. Datura, Belladonna, Henbane and mandrake contain Atropine, Scopolamine, and Hyoscyamine which has been used in modern medicine for several different reasons. However this does not mean that you can also just use the plant for medicine. It is incredibly more complicated than that. These alkaloids are contained in the seeds and blooms of the Datura plant. Datura is a sacred plant and should be treated as such. Though used in Witches flying ointments they should be prepared with knowledge. Witches such as Sarah Lawless have brought the popularity of Traditional Flying ointments to the world of witchcraft. It has encouraged people like myself to come out of the closet and share their work with poison plants. Datura boasts beautiful purple or white flowers among rich green colored leaves and purple shaded stems. It has been sacred to witches, Mayans, and is still revered in modern day mexico and around the world. Personally I use Datura in my ointments and with magic. She is incredibly powerful, magically speaking and has a strong will, she does what she wants when she wants. However with respect she can be very powerful ally.
Black NightshadeBlack nightshade often is confused with both Henbane and Belladonna. However it is entirely its own plant. It grows well in conditions that are similar to what Henbane and Belladonna like. It has smaller oval shaped leaves and tiny star shaped white flowers that produce black juicy berries. They look much like a very dark blueberry but should never ever be confused as such. For eating these will leave you very sorry. Though folklore and some modern testing is reputing the evidence that this plant is entirely toxic, it should be avoided, especially in its green state as this is when it is most toxic. It contains the Tropine alkaloids just like Datura and the other nightshades do, so use caution!
MandrakeMandrake of Mandragora Officinarum, is another of the notorious Nightshade and Witch plants. However Mandrake is somewhat milder. Mandrake was also an ingredient often used in flying ointments, and is used quite often by witches and magicians. Some say that the golden apples of the Mandrake were the same golden apples that belonged to Aphrodite. Mandrake has been associated with love and has a history as being used as as aphrodisiac. Though it's golden apples and small purple flowers are well nown it is the mandraks root that is most popular. From pop culture to wives tales, Mandrake roots have been use by magicians and witch for many different magical reasons. Many believe that the mandrake possesses great power, and as such should be greatly respected. Though it isn't as notorious or dangerous as it's other family members, it does contain Atropine, Scopolamine, and Hyoscamine, Unfortunately I could not locate photos of my mandrakes and currently I don't have any to post.
Visit the Alnwick Poison Garden Virtually here
Learn more about Poison plants and their magical properties here
Pharmako Gnosis by Dale Pendell
Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart
Plants of the Gods by Richard Evans Schultes
All photos in the blog were taken by me and connot be used with out my permission
***All contents of this blog should be use for research purposes only and as stated in the blog, should not be used medicinally or ingested***