FAMILY: Solanaceae (Nightshade)
COMMON NAMES: Borrachero, Datura, Floripondio, Golden Angelís Trumpet, Golden Tree Datura, Goldene Baumdatura, Guantu, Huacacachu, Huanto, Maicoa, Toe, Tonga, Yellow Tree Datura
Brugmansia Aurea is a perennial woody shrub-like tree, native to the highlands of South America. It can grow up to 30 feet (9 meters ) tall, with long thin oval shaped leaves which can grow up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and 6 inches (15 cm) wide. The flowers are up to 9 inches (23 cm) long, narrow and trumpet shaped, and range in color from white to golden yellow. They are especially noted for their strong aromatic fragrance and large dark brown to black seeds.
Golden Angelís Trumpet is native to the highland areas around the Andes mountain range in South America. It is very well known throughout southern Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. It has also been transplanted throughout Mexico and Central America, and it is frequently confused with Datura.
The plantís stems, flowers, leaves and seed are known to contain large quantities of tropane alkaloids. Recent research has shown that the main active compound in this plant is Scopolamine, it also contains aposcopolamine, atropine, hyoscyamine, meteloidine, and norscopolamine. All of these compounds may be illegal in most parts of the world when extracted from their naturally occurring sources.
TRADITIONAL USE: For millennia, shamans have used the Golden Angelís Trumpet as a sacrament in their rituals and ceremonies. It was believed that by consuming a tea made from the flowers the shaman could communicate with the spirit world, to fight evil forces and forge a spiritual union with their ancestors. Tribes such as the Canelo, Chibcha, Choco, Guambiano, Ingano, Jivaro, Kamsa, Mapuche and Muisca have used this plant to call on the dead, predict the future, discipline unruly children, and it was even given to children in the belief that durning their intoxicated stupor they were more likely to find gold.
TRADITIONAL PREPARATION: There are several traditional ways in which the seeds, flowers, and leaves were prepared to produce various intoxicating drinks, teas and powders. The native Canelo Indians would scrape the pith from the stem and flowers and squeeze out the juices, which were then consumed straight away. Other preparations include steeping the leaves and flowers in hot water to make a delirium inducing teas; in some areas the seeds would be dried and powered and then added to Chica, a fermented maize beer; there are also reports of Indians mixing the dried leaves with tobacco and smoking the resulting blend.
MEDICINAL USES: It seems that almost every tribe in region had a different medicinal use for this magical plant, most prominently it was used to treat rheumatism and arthritis. It has also been used to treat sore throats, stomach pains caused by parasitic worms, to cleanse wounds of infected pus, and to help sooth irritated bowels and reduce flatulence. Due to many undesirable side effects and after effects there are no currently accepted medicinal uses for this plant; although there are pharmaceutical uses for pure Scopolamine.
TRADITIONAL EFFECTS: One of the earliest documented reports of the effects of Golden Angelís Trumpet was written in 1846 by Johann Tschudi: the user ďfell into a heavy stupor, his eyes vacantly fixed on the ground, his mouth convulsively closed, and his nostrils dilated. In the course of a quarter hour, his eyes began to roll, foam issued from his mouth, and his whole body was agitated by frightful convulsions. After these violent symptoms had passed, a profound sleep of several hoursí duration followed.Ē It is during this delirium that users reported hallucinations, visions, and communication with the animal spirits. Convulsions, seizures and painful hangovers are an unavoidable consequence of this powerful plant, and are one reason why it has never gained popularity. This is certainly a very powerful Shamanic traveling plant and needs to be studied with great care. Unfortunately, ingesting it is a crime in most parts of the world, so any study can only be historical, rather than actually working directly with this plant or any preparations that may have been made from it.
Erowid. 2009. Brugmansia. Erowid.com
Ratsch, Christian. 2005. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications. Park Street Press; Rochester, VT.
Schultes, Richard E; Hofmann, Albert; Ratsch, Christian. 2001. Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers. Healing Arts Press; Rochester, VT.