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Guest saccade

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Guest saccade


I've been looking at Hydrangea lately (an ornamental garden plant).

TL;DR - Don't be a muppet. Don't smoke it, I reckon the "high" people get is from mild cyanide poisoning (like Zyklon-B from the gas chambers, but in small doses).


I've read a few "experience reports" lately of people smoking up Hydrangea/Hortensia plants as they read/heard that it would get them high and is a cannabis substitute...

Here's a pic, you probably recognise it: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=57296&picture=hydrangea-in-many-colors

From cursory research alone (using available documentation) - it cannot be ascertained that the plant does or does not contain any psychoactive substances. Its medicinal uses are discussed after debunking the psychoactive claims.

This whole subject is a rather grey, slightly insane circle of vague reference.
It is widely reported that Hydrangea (perhaps only certain "types") might be used as cannabis substitute.

& many googles.

This is evident in the Encyclopaedia for Psychedelic Plants (which appears to be the source, verbatim, of many articles on the subject of hydrangea as psychoactive) and several other articles, where the plant "has occasionally been described as a euphoriant, although its use is “strongly unadvised” (Schuldes 1995, 41*).  (from "plants reputed")

The reputed "euphoriant" effect references Bert Marco Schuldes' "psychoaktive pflanzen":

"This plant is occasionally described as euphoriant. The use of Hydrangea comes with release of larger amounts of hydrocyanic acid which may have fatal consequences, [...] any use discouraged.
As an ornamental plant, hydrangea is cyanide-free and is harmless."
http://xplosives.net/filehost/Ebooks/Drogen/Bert Marco Schuldes - Psychoaktive Pflanzen.PDF
(auf Deutsch, English version available through google translate of web-page/pdf)

Without exception - all references to the psychedelic effect of hydrangea lead back to this same article, which states nothing more than, "This plant is occasionally described as euphoriant".

This article might be considered "the source".
The source is nothing but hearsay.

Therefore, without clinical evidence (good luck with that...), it is necessary to investigate and speculate as to what might cause such "euphoria".

What Schuldes states regarding "the use of...[hydrangea releasing] larger amounts of hydrocyanic acid" and "hydrangea is cyanide-free and is harmless" appears to be accurate:

The Atlas of Human Poisoning and Envenoming, Second Edition (ISBN 1466505400) reports that Hydrangeas contain cyanogenic amygdalin.

Toxnet also includes hydrangea as a plant that contains cyanogenic compounds (ie, amygdalin):

There are reports of cyanide poisoning due to ingestion of amygdalin:
*(Nb, cases of cyanide toxicity in humans contain - so far - no reports of hydrangea poisoning -It would be good to keep it this way)*

Regarding the supposed "cannabis-like" effects of the plant itself, we can look at:

Novel substances of interest for psychiatry (feb 2015), that references drugs-forum, bluelight and - interestingly - erowid itself:

"Its misuse may be associated with a range of cannabis-like effects, e.g., euphoria, sedation, confusion, dizziness and headache. It may be smoked, or ingested in capsules, extracts, teas or sugar syrup."

These "effects" are not much different from (bear remarkable similarity to, in fact) the symptoms of cyanide poisoning:

"Neurologic symptoms (reflecting progressive hypoxia) - Headache, vertigo, dizziness, giddiness, inebriation, confusion, generalized seizures, coma "


Without clinical trial or investigation (which might be a suicidal endeavour), I believe it would be safe to speculatively assert that the psychoactive properties of hydrangea (regardless of "oriental/specific/special" strain) are most likely the symptoms (reflecting progressive hypoxia) of cyanide poisoning, as a result of the ingestion of amygdalin that is contained in the plant.

Without evidence to disprove this - and the evidence that strongly suggests that this might be the case - I believe it would be wise to err on the side of caution and overtly include the above information to any reader that might be researching whether it is a good idea to smoke the bush that grows in their garden, as they have read/heard it is a "good cannabis substitute".

This concludes the psychoactive element/myth.



The "Diuretic and Soothant" effects (the "soothant" effects have already been discussed), appear with great frequency in many botanical journals and articles - there are also reports of other actions of the plant:

"Diuretic, cathartic, tonic. Used by Cherokee to aid calculous diseases [...] as demonstrated to the medical profession by Dr. S. W. Butler, of Burlington, N.J

For earthy deposits, alkaline urine, chronic gleet, and mucous irritations of the bladder in aged persons. A concentrated syrup with sugar or honey, or a simple decoction of the root, may also be used. In overdoses, it will cause vertigo, oppressions of the chest, etc. The leaves are said by Dr. Eoff to be tonic, silagogue, cathartic and diuretic."

"In overdoses" appears to once again be very similar to the symptoms of cyanide poisoning.
The alleged report from Dr. Eoff appears to use wording the same as Dr. Butler.

At this point, it would be worth noting that "Dr. S.W. Butler of Burlington, NJ" is reported to have been a practitioner of medicine in 1856...
(States at war, volume 4: A reference guide for Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey in the civil war, Richard F  Miller, 2015, ISBN: 1611686210).

This is a very long time ago. I'm sure there have been a few advances (possibly a few discoveries) in medicine since then.

The "Dr. Eoff" reported in the botanical.com (and every other article on this matter) appears to be Dr. J. A. Eoff III, who can be said to be involved in similar research and was active in the late 1960's.

I can find no evidence to support either of the claims that these doctors did or said either of these things.


This is not to doubt that the claims are unmerited, however:

The American Herbal Products Asscociation's Botanical Safety Handbook (ISBN 1466516941) states that the roots of hydrangea are reported to contain 1-3% hydrangin.


Hydrangin is known synonymously as 7-hydroxycoumarin:

7-hydroxycoumarin (WIPO-IPC - 11.1.4) has apparent medicinal uses in the same areas (plus others) as allegedly demonstrated by S.W.Butler and reported by J.A Eoff III.

It can therefore be safely concluded that hydrangea might indeed have medicinal use in line with how the Cherokee, the "wild west" doctor, Dr. Eoff and every herbal lore website since has believed - however, the "overdose" and risk of cyanide poisoning might preclude this plant from being a useful substance, unless there is absolutely no other alternative.


While I would shy away from using the plant if I had a stone to pass, had "hot piss" or gleet (gonorrhoeal discharge), especially since this is now over 150 years since the good doctor's demonstration - I most certainly would not use it as a "psychoactive" substance and there is nothing to suggest that hydrangea is in any way a viable or safe cannabis substitute.

Any budding herbalist could do with a heads up as to what might actually be happening while they are getting high off Hortensia, or attempting to treat their gallstones or STDs, by smoking or boiling up a plant that would by all accounts be better off remaining on display in their garden for aesthetic enjoyment and horticultural appreciation:

It appears that it merely induces a dangerous toxic reaction that appears to be a "high".
I reckon it ought to be struck from the books - it's not psychedelic at all - it just dangerous...

What some ppl do to get stoned, eh..? Blimey.

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Well goodness, that was certainly informative, even if the only thing I will remember is "gleet".

It's one of my favorite flowers but I won't be running to the garden to hack one down. Out of season now anyway.

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A plant with a Zyklon B high that a new one. Sounds like a joke.  I'm gussing you would only need a little if its true. Plus you get symptoms of cyininde poisoning sound like some good shit.  There sure are some mad botanicals out there. 

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