Angel’s trumpet is a woody tree or shrub, with pendulous flowers. The leaves and flowers are used to make medicines. Despite serious safety concerns, people use angel’s trumpet as a recreational drug to induce hallucinations and euphoria.
- Brugmansia have traditionally been used in many South American indigenous cultures in medical preparations and as an entheogen in religious or spiritual ceremonies.
- Traditional external uses have included the treating of aches and pains, dermatitis, orchitis, arthritis, rheumatism, headaches, infections, and as an anti-inflammatory.
- Internal uses have included treatments for stomach and muscle ailments, as a decongestant, to induce vomiting, to expel worms and parasites, and as a sedative.
- Effects of ingestion can include paralysis of smooth muscles, confusion, tachycardia, dry mouth, diarrhea, migraine headaches, visual and auditory hallucinations, mydriasis, rapid onset cycloplegia, and death.
- The hallucinogenic effects of Brugmansia were described in the journal Pathology as “terrifying rather than pleasurable”.
Important alkaloids such as scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and atropine, are found in Brugmansia and other related members of Solanaceae, that have a proven medical value for their spasmolytic, anti-asthmatic, anticholinergic, narcotic and anesthetic properties.
The Swiss naturalist and explorer Johann von Tschudi described the effects of Brugmansia ingestion on one individual in Peru:
Soon after drinking the Tonga, the man fell into a dull brooding, he stared vacantly at the ground, his mouth was closed firmly, almost convulsively and his nostrils were flared. His arms hung down stiffly by his body. Then his eyes misted over and filled with huge tears and his lips twitched convulsively for a brief moment. His eyes were now dry but had become bright red and rolled about wildly in their sockets and all his facial muscles were horribly distorted. A thick white foam leaked out between his half open lips.
All parts of Brugmansia are potentially poisonous, with the seeds and leaves being especially dangerous.