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Hallucinogenic Solanaceae plants like Datura, Brugmansia, Mandragora, Hyoscyamus, Scopolia and Atropa have been present in human life since the antiquity. Their active ingredi- ents – atropine and scopolamine – except of being useful as medicines, induce hallucinations. Psychoactive properties of mentioned plants were noticed by the ancients. The plants were said to cause insanity, dementia and death but also to evoke prophesying. In the Middle Ages, they were used as constituents of the renowned witches flying ointments. There were a couple of myths surrounding Solanaceae plants, nevertheless their medical potential was known. They are used also nowadays as antispasmodic and antiemetic drugs. Hallucinogenic Sola- naceae plants were used also by shamans from America and Africa. Not only have their ther- apeutic properties been appreciated, but also their hallucinogenic potency has played a gigan- tic role in traditional initiations. Tropane alkaloids extracted from some of the Solanaceae are toxic and may cause decease when overdosed. It is estimated that even a dose of 100 mg of atropine or scopolamine is lethal for adults and about ten times lower for children. Some of the mentioned plants are of interest to young people who have their first experience with hallucinogenic drugs of abuse. However, unpleasant adverse effects and high toxicity often make the first experience the last.
  • Uniwersytet Jagielloński
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