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Jimsonweed poisoning
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Jimsonweed poisoning

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

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 the local emergency number (such as 911), or the 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.

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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 (urinary retention)
  • Abdominal pain (from urinary 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 control 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 national hotline 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, including oxygen through a tube through the mouth into the lungs, and a breathing machine (ventilator) 
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • ECG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing)
  • Fluids by IV (through the vein)
  • Laxatives
  • Medicines to treat symptoms, including an antidote to reverse the effects of the poison

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

Aminoff MJ, So YT. Effects of toxins and physical agents on the nervous system. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 86.

Graeme KA. Toxic plant ingestions. In: Auerbach PS, Cushing TA, Harris NS, eds. Auerbach's Wilderness Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 65.

Lim CS, Aks SE. Plants, mushrooms, and herbal medications. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 158.

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Review Date: 11/13/2021  

Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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