Dhatura is an annual herb that occurs throughout the country. Its scientific name is Datura metel Linn (Synonym D. fastuosa L., D. alba Ramph;D. cornucopaea Hort.) and belongs to Family Solanaceae. In Ayurveda, its seeds, roots and dried whole plant are used for medicinal purpose.
Dhatura leaves have antitumor, anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties. Its flowers are anti-asthmatic. The leaves, seeds and root are anti- catarrhal, febrifuge, anti-diarrhoeal, anti-dermatosis.
Ayurveda classifies Datura in Upavisha Varga (secondary toxic drugs). UpVisha varg is a category of herbs with toxic effect on body. As per Ayurveda, in small doses, Vish (poisons) are fast acting and effective medicines. So Datura is used for medicine preparation only after proper Shodhan or purification.
- Sanskrit: Kanak, Ummatta, Dhustura
- Assamese: Dhatura
- Bengali: Dhutura, Dhutra
- English: White Thorn Apple
- Gujarati: Dhaturo
- Hindi: Dhatura
- Kannada: Umbe
- Malayalam: Ummam
- Marathi: Dhatra
- Oriya: Dudura
- Punjabi: Dhatura
- Siddha/Tamil: Oomatthai, Karuvoomatthai
- Telugu: Ummettha, Erriummetta
- Urdu: Dhatura
Found throughout India, in waste lands.
Ayurvedic properties of Datura
Kanak or Dhatura seeds contains alkaloids and fixed oil.
As per Ayurveda, Dhatura seeds are Madhura, Katu, Tikta, Kashaya (Rasa), Guru, Ruksha, Tikshna (Guna), Ushna (Virya), Katu (Vipaka) and Kaphahara, Varnya, Madakari, Vishahara, Krimihara, Vran-hara, Krimi-hara, Bhram-hara, Vamaka (Karma).
The whole Dhatura plant are Madhura, Katu, Tikta, Kashaya (Rasa), Guru, Ruksha, Tikshna (Guna), Ushna (Virya), Katu (Vipaka) and Kapha-hara, Varnya, Madakari, Agni-Vriddhikar (Karma).
Chemical contents of Dhatura
Root: alkaloids, tropane derivatives;Stem: hyoscine, hyoscyamine, Leaf: hyoscine, hyoscyamine, micotianamine;Fruit (pericarp): alkaloids, ?-sitosterol, triterpene, daturaolone, daturadiol;Seed: hyosane, hyoscyamine, daturaolone, fastusic acid;Seed-oil:?-Me-sterols
Important Ayurvedic formulations
Various parts of Dhatura plants contains hyoscyamine and hyoscine alkaloids.
Hyoscine is the principal alkaloid of the leaves at all times.
Proportions of hyoscine and hyoscyamine in plant varies with age of the plant, duration of sunlight, light intensity, general climatic conditions, chemical sprays, hormones and certain other environmental factors.
Hyoscine alkaloid has depressant effect on the central nervous system. This alkaloid is used as the base for the hydrobromide salt which is used as a pre-anaesthetic, antisialagogue (diminishes or stops the flow of saliva), adjunct to general anaesthesia.
The alkaloid Hyoscine in large doses is a POISON that can cause delirium (Delirium is acutely disturbed state of mind characterized by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence) and coma.
Traditional Use of Dhatura
Dhatura is a medicinal herb and used traditionally to treat various ailments throughout the country. The seeds of Dhatura plant is used in treatment of leprosy in West Bengal and Rajasthan. In Rajasthan the leaves are used for treating Guinea worm disease (A parasitic disease caused by infection with the guinea worm). In traditional medicine, the leaves, roots and seeds are used in fever with congestion, insanity, diarrhoea, and skin diseases.
Dhatura has narcotic, acrid, anodyne, antispasmodic, intoxicating, and emetic properties. It is used in preparation of many medicines useful in treatment of fever, insanity, lumbago, sciatica, painful swelling and neuralgia.
Dhatura is extremely poisonous plant. Toxic effect of Dhatura on body are dryness of mouth, intense thirst, increase in heart rate, and blurring of vision with prominent mydriasis, hallucinations, delirium, and loss of motor coordination which may further lead to coma and ultimately to death by respiratory failure.
In Ayurveda, the Dhatura is used only after proper Shodhan.Do not take any part of plant internally.