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Sacred Medicine - Sacred Datura

Painting by Joanna Keane Lopez . 

The beautiful illustration above is one of the many beautiful paintings featured in my friends booklet featuring plant medicine of New Mexico called Plantcraft: Medicinal Botanicals of New Mexico. Depicting the beautiful night blooming Datura flower and the Hawk Moths which feeds off the nectar of Sacred Datura and the trumpet like flower provides shelter for the Hawk Moth eggs. 

Her trumpet like flowers bloom in the night wither the next day. The flowers evoke a feeling of mystery and portal to the spirit world. I recently referred to Sacred Datura as a Siren who’s beauty is so captivating and luring but demanding respect or one will see the night and not return. 

Her medicine has been used by the Native Americans in sacred ceremonies and has been an important part of their culture. All parts of this plant are EXTREMELY TOXIC and yet medicine men and wombyn, spiritualist, shamans and green witches have worked with the medicine of Sacred Datura. Natives worked with her medicine, making paste, poultice to help give relief of pain, setting dislocated bones, alleviating localized pain. Then there are the folks who have misused Sacred Datura because compounds in the plant are psychedelic and with misuse death is inevitable. The effects of ingesting Sacred Datura can happen within minutes to hours. Symptoms include; delirium, thirst, distorted vision, uncoordinated movement, high temperature, a rapid and weakened heart beat, convulsions, coma, and death. 

Medicinal plants have a certain level of toxicity (not all). Datura is extremely toxic and should not be used by the inexperienced. I’ve read books that straight out say not to work with this plant. Folks have smoked her leaves to “trip” drifting into insanity and a permanent sleep into the dark side.  Datura is a strong analgesic plant that is used EXTERNALLY to treat pain from old sport injuries, muscle and leg spasms, joint - muscle pain, sciatica, relieving throbbing headaches, menstrual cramping. EXTERNAL applications of salves, infused oils, poultice and liniment have been used for treatments. 

Dan de Lion - Return To Nature posted about an oil he made of Sacred Datura on his Instagram account, which I can use now for pain relief from the back pain and sciatica that I’ve been having off and on for a month now. 

This is how STRONG her medicine is, from just handling her leaves recently on a Desert Medicine Plant ID hike I lead. Just from the brief touching of her leaves,  I felt her strong numbing effect for over 15 minutes on my fingertips. Even after rubbing vigorously with sand and water in the nearby river I still felt a numbing effect. I knew then she would be an ally for the pain I’ve been in and that I should make medicine to treat the sciatica and back pain I’ve been experiencing for a month now. 

I wasn’t sure about posting this because I don’t want to give folks the idea of working with her medicine, but I want to share that even the most beautifully toxic of plants are medicinal and demand respect and knowledge.

Above is a close up of the liniment I made on the day that I woke in such pain. I refuse to take OTC or prescribed medicine. In many cases people under prescribed or OTC pain relievers or muscle relaxants, the effect is feeling “great” again and thus they resume with their normal activities further causing more injury. Never seeking the root of the problem, adjusting their diet and allowing the body to tell us what we need to heal. I don’t want to mask or put a bandaid on my pain.

Rather, I’m adjusting my diet like cutting gluten out which causes inflammation and meat which is a hard one for me and though climbing stretches me out and I feel better, I feel that I may be causing more stress on my tissue and muscles in the area where I’ve been hurting. So, keeping active with body movement - mellow hiking - yoga - diet- working with plant medicine, this far Skullcap and Kratom has been the best internally for me, ice compress, and topically a salve I made called Warming Vibes has been helpful. For the Sacred Datura liniment, I have to wait for about six weeks before I decant and bottle. In the interim I will continue my path of self care and healing myself. 

Green Desert Blessings 

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