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Hawaiian Baby Woodrose Plant – What Is It and What Is It Used For?

The Hawaiian baby woodrose (Argyreia nervosa) is a perennial climbing vine, also referred to as the wooly morning glory or elephant creeper. It’s part of the Morning Glory or Convolvulaceae family, and native to southern India but can now be found in many areas, especially tropical areas. It’s known for its psychoactive effects and potential medicinal properties.

The Hawaiian baby woodrose is also known as the woolly morning glory or elephant creeper. It’s a woody perennial vine with large, cordate (heart-shaped) leaves—the leaves may measure up to 30cm across, and are roughly as long as they are wide. Leaves are also glabrous (hairless) above and white-tomentose (silvery, hairy) on their undersides.

A mature baby woodrose vine may reach 9m or more in height—such specimens are often many years old, however, as it’s a slow-growing species that often takes over two years to reach just 30cm in height. This contrasts with the related Convolvulaceae species, Mexican morning glory (a well-known source of LSA, and the species that is often simply termed ‘morning glory’ as it’s considered so ubiquitous and representative of the family).

The flowers of the baby woodrose are trumpet-shaped and bisexual, measuring around 5cm across and expressing a range of pigments, from whitish-pink to deep bluish-violet. The flowers die off to reveal the characteristic seed pods for which the plant is commonly named. These pods are round, woody capsules, surrounded by five-petal calyxes, which have the overall appearance of small roses carved from wood. There are four to six hard, brown seeds per pod and seeds often have a furry, mould-like coating, depending on variety.

Cultural & traditional use of Hawaiian baby woodrose

In Hawaii, the baby woodrose has reportedly been used for thousands of years as a cheap alternative to cannabis and alcohol, as well as having some religious and spiritual significance. It’s believed that—almost uniquely among plant hallucinogens—the Hawaiian baby woodrose was not widely known as an entheogen until the 1960s, subsequent to research on related morning glories.

Outside of Hawaii, baby woodrose has been cultivated for hundreds, if not thousands of years—if not for entheogenic purposes, certainly for medicinal and ornamental ones. Indian Ayurvedic medicine makes use of baby woodrose as a treatment for elephantiasis, and to treat rheumatism.

In India, traditional names for baby woodrose include bastantri (Sanskrit) and samandar-ka-pat (Hindi). Some have even postulated the baby woodrose as a potential candidate for the legendary soma, a plant referred to repeatedly in the Rigveda (one of the four ancient Sanskrit texts, the Vedas, which are sacred in Hinduism).

Distribution & habitat

Despite its name, the baby woodrose isn’t native to Hawaii – it was something that must have been introduced to the area, along with many areas in Africa and the Caribbean. It’s actually indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. It’s also found in Australia, the Malay Peninsula and China, as well as many other locations in the region, and is believed to have escaped from cultivation in most instances.

The baby woodrose prefers tropical or subtropical climates, and will thrive in protected, sunny spots with moist, fertile soil and good drainage. It’s able to germinate easily under thick forest canopy or dense grass cover due to its nature as a climbing plant.

There are two subspecies of baby woodrose: A. nervosa var. nervosa and A. nervosa var. speciosa. The latter has no psychoactive properties, but the roots and leaves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, syphilis, diabetes, and many other complaints, particularly those related to the digestive system.

How Hawaiian baby woodrose is cultivated

Baby woodrose is typically propagated through use of scarified seeds or cuttings. Seeds are first scarified (lightly scored with a sharp, clean blade) and then soaked for 24 hours to induce germination. The seeds or cuttings are sown at least 1.5m apart to allow the extensive root systems sufficient space to develop. Use of support structures is necessary so that the vine can climb; a trellis, wall or tree is the most common solution.

Baby woodrose is planted in the late spring or early summer, and should be frequently but lightly watered with plain, unfertilised water. High-nitrogen fertilisers should not be used, as these can encourage excess leaf production and reduce flower formation. Instead, a bloom-boosting fertiliser should be used just once per month to encourage the flowers that will ultimately yield the desired seed pods.

Once the vines have reached a sufficient level of maturity, they’ll begin to put out flowers. This usually occurs in the spring and summer following initial planting, after the vines have had almost a full year of growth. Some varieties may need at least two or three years before yielding a substantial harvest; even then, if environmental conditions are less than optimum flower formation will not be vigorous.

The Hawaiian baby woodrose is a vine plant originating from India that’s enjoyed recreationally, but may also hold many potential medicinal benefits.

HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Argyreia nervosa, Argyreia speciosa, Baby Hawaiian Woodrose, Baby Woodrose, Bidhara, Convolvulus nervosus, Convolvulus speciosus, Elephant Climber, Elephant Creeper, Lettsomia nervosa, Liane d’Argent, Rose des Bois, Silver-Morning-Glory, Vidhara, Vriddadaru, Vridhadaru, Wood-Rose, Woolly Morning Glory.

  • Overview
  • Uses
  • Side Effects
  • Interactions
  • Dosing

Overview Information

Hawaiian baby woodrose is an ornamental plant that is related to the morning glory plant. It grows in Florida, California, and Hawaii. The seeds are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, Hawaiian baby woodrose is used for pain relief. But its more famous use is as a hallucinogen. Internet sellers promote Hawaiian baby woodrose as a “natural LSD”.

How does it work?

There isn’t enough information to know how Hawaiian baby woodrose might work. However, some chemicals in the seeds seem to activate parts of the brain.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Pain relief.
  • Causing sweating.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Hawaiian baby woodrose for these uses.

Side Effects & Safety

Special Precautions & Warnings:

It is UNSAFE for anyone to use Hawaiian baby woodrose, but people with the following conditions are especially likely to experience unwanted side effects.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE to use Hawaiian baby woodrose if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Don’t use it.

Mental illness: Hawaiian baby woodrose has effects similar to the hallucinogen LSD. There is a concern that people with psychotic tendencies might have more severe reactions to using it.

Surgery: Hawaiian baby woodrose might affect levels of a brain chemical called serotonin. Because serotonin has powerful effects on the central nervous system and blood vessels, there are concerns that Hawaiian baby woodrose might interfere with surgery. Stop using Hawaiian baby woodrose at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

Medications for depression (Antidepressant drugs) interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Hawaiian baby woodrose increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications for depression also increase the brain chemical serotonin. Taking Hawaiian baby woodrose along with these medications for depression might increase serotonin too much and cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take Hawaiian baby woodrose if you are taking medications for depression.
Some of these medications for depression include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others.

Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Hawaiian baby woodrose increases a chemical in the brain. This chemical is called serotonin. Some medications used for depression also increase serotonin. Taking Hawaiian baby woodrose with these medications used for depression might cause there to be too much serotonin. This could cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.
Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

Clozapine (Clozaril) interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Clozapine (Clozaril) affects the brain. Hawaiian baby woodrose also affects the brain. Taking clozapine (Clozaril) along with Hawaiian baby woodrose might decrease the effects of Hawaiian baby woodrose.

Cyproheptadine interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Cyproheptadine can affect the brain. Hawaiian baby woodrose might also affect the brain. But cyproheptadine affects the brain differently than Hawaiian baby woodrose. Taking cyproheptadine along with Hawaiian baby woodrose might decrease the effects of Hawaiian baby woodrose.

Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others) interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Hawaiian baby woodrose can affect a brain chemical called serotonin. Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) can also affect serotonin. Taking Hawaiian baby woodrose along with dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take Hawaiian baby woodrose if you are taking dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others).

Meperidine (Demerol) interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Hawaiian baby woodrose increases a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Meperidine (Demerol) can also increase serotonin in the brain. Taking Hawaiian baby woodrose along with meperidine (Demerol) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.

Pentazocine (Talwin) interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Hawaiian baby woodrose increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Pentazocine (Talwin) also increases serotonin. Taking Hawaiian baby woodrose along with pentazocine (Talwin) might increase serotonin too much. This could cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take Hawaiian baby woodrose if you are taking pentazocine (Talwin).

Risperidone (Risperdal) interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Taking risperidone (Risperdal) along with Hawaiian baby woodrose might decrease the effects of Hawaiian baby woodrose.

Tramadol (Ultram) interacts with HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE

Tramadol (Ultram) can affect a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Hawaiian baby woodrose can also affect serotonin. Taking Hawaiian baby woodrose along with tramadol (Ultram) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and side effects including confusion, shivering, stiff muscles, and other side effects.

Dosing

The appropriate dose of Hawaiian baby woodrose depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for Hawaiian baby woodrose. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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