COMMON NAMES: Baby Hawaiian Woodrose, Bastantri, Elephant Creeper, Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, Holzrose, Jatapmasi, Marikkunni, Marututari, Mile-a-minute, Miniture Wood-rose, Monkey Rose, Samandar-ka-pat, Samudrasos, Silberkraut, Silver Morning Glory, Soh-ring-kang, Woodrose, Woolly Morning Glory
Grow your own Hawaiian Baby Woodrose vines.
The beautiful, woody, flowering trellis vine Argyreia nervosa, most commonly known as Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, flourishes in direct sunlight in hot, humid climates. Known to reach over thirty feet (or ten meters), in length, the leaves are large and downy with velvety white hairs, and the purple flowers gradate from a deep fuchsia shade inside to a lighter shade of lavender toward the outer petals. The seed pods dry into woody “rosebuds,” each one containing four to six seeds. The seeds are known to be rich in psychoactive ergot alkaloids and contain a naturally occurring tryptamine known as LSA (Lysergic Acid Amide) (Ratsch 1998, 64).
Unfortunately, one cannot simply plant an A. nervosa and expect to get seeds within a few months or even a year. In most parts of the world, it can take a second flowering, or two years to get your first batch of seeds from this exotic plant. In India, growing seasons are often accelerated, so one can often get seeds within 18 months, but for many that’s still an extraordinarily long time to wait. But, once this beautiful climber is growing in your garden, you will find yourself delighted by the mere presence of this graceful plant, and all the effort will be worth it once you get your first harvest of seeds.
Part of the controversy surrounding A. nervosa stems from its contemporary name, Hawaiian Baby Woodrose. It has been theorized that the plant was introduced to Hawaii very early on and thrived in the tropical climate, thus leading to Hawaii becoming known as its later day “home” and popular namesake. It is less popularly known as the Silver Morning Glory (stemming from its origin in the Convolvulaccae Morning Glory family), bastantri (Sanskrit), samandar-ka-pat (Hindi), and the Monkey Rose, among other folk names. The plant is also part of the indigenous flora of Australia and has been known to grow wild in Africa. Now planted in all tropical regions throughout the world, it is popular as an ornamental plant, as well as an entheogenic intoxicant and legal inebriant, although the ingestion of this plant in many parts of the world, including the United States, is now illegal (Shawcross 1983).
When purchasing A. nervosa seeds, be wary of online shops who offer only one type of Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seed; there are multiple strains, some of which contain no LSA, others of which contain extremely high concentrations. It is best to educate yourself about the different strains, particularly regarding their alkaloid content and appearance.
Seeds from Ghana are typically smooth and very light in color. Seeds of the Ayurvedic strain from India are typically more “pointed” and larger than most other Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds. A. nervosa seeds from India typically have lower LSA content, look roughly the same as the coveted strain from Hawaii, but don’t have much “fuzz” on them, and are typically slightly smaller in size. Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds from Hawaii are smaller and round, with a good amount of ‘fuzz’ on them. This strain is considered the most potent, as it generally contains the highest alkaloid content. These seeds are most sought after and are also the hardest to find.
TRADITIONAL USES: Hawaiian Baby Woodrose is a popular candidate for the mythological Soma plant of the Vedas. “Soma” is the liquid potion derived from the Soma plant, the earthly counterpart of Ambrosia, the ancient, mythical drink of immortality reserved for the gods. The name Soma was bestowed upon a deity (the moon; the god of plants), the plant itself and the sacrificial drink that was prepared from the plant. The botanical identity of soma has been lost, and theories abound as to which entheogenic plant it might have been (Ratsch 1998, 65).
In the Hindu tradition, the moon (originally called soma), was believed to be the ambrosia-filled drinking vessel of the gods. When the moon was full, the vessel was full; by the time the new moon appeared, the drinking vessel had been emptied. It filled up again as the moon waxed. To prepare this mystical concoction, the stems of the soma plant were pressed to release the sap. The resulting juice, which was believed to “dissolve all sins,” was then mixed with water and offered to Indra, the Hindu God of Thunder. This soma ritual is thought to have served as the prototype for the kava ceremony of the South Pacific. It has also been widely speculated that the identity of the Soma plant is actually Amanita muscaria, as written about extensively at The Amanita Shop.
It has been noted in various oral histories that the Huna religion, the healing and spiritual shamanism of ancient Hawaii, employed the seeds of the Hawaiian Baby Woodrose for their shamanic rituals, using the seeds’ enthogenic and magical properties to connect with the spirit world. The Huna Shaman prepared the Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds by grinding them into a powder and mixing the powder directly with water, resulting in a supernatural libation that was then drunk by the Huna Shaman. This magical tonic was used as a means for the shaman to pass from this worldly plane into the realm of the spirits (Ratsch 1998, 65).
Documented modern applications of the seeds vary – they are known to be used as an inebriant by lower income Hawaiians in lieu of paying exorbitant prices for Hawaiian marijuana. They are also widely regarded as hallucinogens in today’s Australian drug scene. The seeds and preparations made from them are utilized and celebrated in sex magick rituals in certain underground subcultures such as those associated with Aleister Crowley, the British occultist (Ratsch 1998. 65).
It has recently been discovered that shamans of the Kirati in Nepal use the seeds to ‘fly’, with one fruit capsule being the usual dose. Furthermore, the flowers of A. nervosa are used as offerings for the Nagas (Hofmann et al 2002).
TRADITIONAL PREPARATIONS: The following information is offered for educational and informational purposes only, since the ingestion of HBWR Seeds is illegal in many parts of the world, although the seeds themselves are completely legal to possess in most parts of the world. It is important that the seeds are removed from the pods before use, but most seeds already come this way. You’ll notice a fungus-like coating on them, which should be scraped or burnt off before further preparation. It is recommended to scrape off as much as possible and then gently burn off the rest, as the hull can be thick and it is easy to end up charring the whole seed into a solid chunk of carbon if you hold it to the flame too long.
Seeds sold commercially are generally already removed from the pods, but unless they are purchased from trusted online venders, typically merchants of ethnobotanicals or entheogens, they are often coated with dangerous poisons to deter any ingestion of the seeds, just like commercially available Morning Glory seeds. The seeds themselves resemble small chocolate chips, but are hard as rocks and have the coating mentioned above.
Different dosages have been given in different sources, but 4-8 seeds are generally considered sufficient to produce a significant psychedelic experience. This comes out to about 2 grams of plant material. 14 seeds is generally given as the maximum dosage, and most people should never even consider consuming this much at one time. The highest reported dosage has been 15 seeds (Ott 1993 cited in Ratsch 1998, 65).
The seeds may be ground into a powder that is swallowed, followed by plenty of water. You may also grind and soak the seeds in water overnight, then strain them out and drink the water. If ground seeds are used, always make sure they are freshly ground.
If you want to stem off the possibility of the nausea, this side effect can be lessened by ingesting one or two Dramamine capsules thirty minutes to one hour before consuming the seeds. More Dramamine can be taken after the nausea sets in, if it sets in. However, you must remember that Dramamine can be a dangerous drug when taken in high doses and its effects when mixed with ergot alkaloids and LSA are unknown. Exceeding the recommended dosage given on the Dramamine package is not recommended under any circumstances. If Dramamine is not used, and you do experience nausea, inducing vomiting when the nausea starts will provide relief, but the LSD-like effects of the seeds will continue.
The seeds are also used in a preparation known as Utopian Bliss Balls, which consist of five Argyreia seeds, damiana herbage, ginseng root, fo-ti-teng and bee pollen. These were very popular in the sixties among the hippies and artists in California (Ratsch 1998, 65).
MEDICINAL USES: A. nervosa root is used in India as an aphrodisiac tonic. The leaves are applied topically as a stimulant and a rubifacient. They are soaked for seven days in Asparagus racemosus juice and taken in doses of 2.9-5.8 grams along with ghee for one month to improve intellect, strengthen the body, and prevent the effects of aging. This preparation is also said to assist in cases of bronchitis, nervousness, syphilis, diabetes, tuberculosis, arthritis, and debility (Ratsch 1998, 65).
TRADITIONAL EFFECTS: Generally, psychonauts report colorful visions of a spiritual nature, psychedelic patterns, all-over body sensations, a sense of extreme relaxation, euphoria and deep spiritual awareness when consuming A. nervosa seeds. The LSD-like effects typically last six to eight hours and vary in intensity. Tranquil feelings have been reported to last up to an additional twelve hours. Sleep is reportedly often deep and refreshing after the trip as well. However, experience reports tend to vary widely. Some users have recounted that they experienced a hangover characterized by blurred vision, vertigo and physical inertia (Rasch 1998, 66).
Hofmann, A., Ratsch, C., Schultes, R., Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 1992.
Ratsch, Christian., The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and its Applications. Rochester: Park Street Press, 1998.
Shawcross, W.E. “Recreational Use of Ergoline Alkaloids from Argyreia Nervosa.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 15, no. 4 (1983): 251–259.