The genus Datura L. (Solanaceae) in Mexico and Spain - Ethnobotanical perspective at the interface of medical and illicit uses

Benitez, Guillermo; March-Salas, Marti; Villa-Kamel, Alberto; Chaves-Jimenez, Ulises; Hernandez, Javier; Montes-Osuna, Nuria; Moreno-Chocano, Joaquin; Carinanos, Paloma

VL / 219 - BP / 133 - EP / 151
Ethnopharmacological relevance: The different species of the genus Datura have been used traditionally by some pre-Columbian civilizations, as well as in medieval rituals linked to magic and witchcraft in both Mexico and Europe. It is also noteworthy the use of different alkaloids obtained from the plants for medicinal purposes in the treatment of various groups of diseases, especially of the respiratory and muscularskeletal systems. Aim of the study: A review of the ethnobotanical uses of the genus Datura in Mexico and Spain has been conducted. We focus on the medicinal and ritualistic uses included in modern ethnobotanical studies, emphasizing the historical knowledge from post-colonial American Codices and medieval European texts. Datura's current social emergency as a drug of recreation and leisure, as well as its link to crimes of sexual abuse is also considered. The work is completed with some notes about the distribution and ecology of the different species and a phytochemical and pharmacological review of Datura alkaloids, necessary to understand their arrival in Europe and the ethnobotanical uses made since then Materials and methods: A literature review and compilation of information on traditional medicinal uses of the genus has been carried out from the main electronic databases. Traditional volumes (codices) have also been consulted in libraries of different institutions. Consultations have been made with the National Toxicological Services of Spain and Mexico for toxicological data. Results: A total of 118 traditional uses were collected in both territories, 111 medicinal ones to be applied in 76 conditions or symptoms included in 13 pathological groups. Although there are particular medicinal uses in the two countries, we found up to 15 similar uses, of which 80% were previously mentioned in post-Colonial American codices. Applications in the treatment of asthma and rheumatism are also highlighted. Apart from medicinal uses, it is worth noting their cultural and social uses, in the case of Mexico relating to diseases such as being scared, astonishment or falling in love, and in the case of Spain, as a recreational drug and lately, for criminal purposes. Conclusions: This review highlights the variety of uses traditionally given to the different species in both territories. The fact that most of the coincident or similar uses in both countries also appear in the classical codices can be found an example of the flow, not only of the plants from America to Europe, but also of their associated information. It is also relevant that particular uses have derived in both countries, reflecting the difference in the cultural factors and traditions linked to rituals and cultural practices. Finally, the significant growth of Datura consumption in recent years as a drug of leisure and recreation, as well as in crimes of sexual submission, should be considered as research of maximum relevance in the field of forensic botany and toxicology.

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