Downy datura or thorn apple is an erect branched under shrub whose intoxicating andnarcotic properties have been made use of by man from ancient time. The plant and fruit arespasmolytic, anticancerous and anthelmintic. Leaves and seeds are inhaled in whoopingcough, asthma and other respiratory diseases. Root, leaf and seed are febrifuge,antidiarrhoeal, anticatarrhal and are used in insanity, cerebral complications and skindiseases. Leaf is antitumour, antirheumatic and vermicide. Flower is antiasthamatic,anaesthetic and is employed in swellings and eruptions on face. Fruit juice is used in earacheand seed decoction in ophthalmia. For the rheumatic swellings of joints, lumbago, sciaticaand neuralgia, warm leaf smeared with an oil is used as a bandage or sometimes the leaf ismade into a poultice and applied. The root boiled with milk is used in insanity. It is also aningredient in the ayurvedic preparation Kanakasva used in bronchial troubles, and the Unaniformulations “Roghan dhatura” used as a massage oil for the paralysed part. The alkaloidsof pharmaceutical interest present in the plant are hyoscyamine, hyoscine and meteloidine.Datura is the chief commercial source of hyoscine available from natural source. Hyoscine,in the form of hyoscine hydrobromide, is used as a pre-anaesthetic in surgery, child birth,ophthalmology and prevention of motion sickness. It is also employed in the relief ofwithdrawal symptoms in morphine and alcoholic addiction, paralysis agitans, postencephaleticparkinsonianism and to allay sexual excitement. Hyoscyamine and its salthyoscyamine sulphate and hyoscyamine hydrobromide are used in delerium, tremour, meniaand parkinsonianism (Kaul and Singh, (1995).DistributionDatura is distributed throughout the world, particularly the warmer regions. Daturastramonium is indigenous to India. Out of 15 species reported from different parts of theworld, only 10 are known to occur in India. They are found commonly in wastelands,gardens and roadsides. They are distributed in rich localities under semi-arid and aridregions of Punjab, Haryana, Rajastan, and Gujarat; the Central Plateau of Andhra Pradesh andMaharastra and the southern peninsular region of Tamil Nadu. Datura innoxia is indigenousto Mexico and is distributed in Latin American countries. A wealth of genetic stock ongenotypes and varieties are maintained in several research institutes in Germany, Bulgaria,USSR and Poland.
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