Unveiling the Mysteries of Medicinal Plant Datura: A Comprehensive Exploration

Basonym of Drug

In the captivating world of traditional medicine, one encounters the enigmatic Datura plant. Scientifically known as Datura metel, it has a rich history of use across cultures and a profound impact on herbal healing.

Main Sanskrit Synonyms

Datura’s journey through ancient texts reveals a tapestry of Sanskrit synonyms, each revealing a unique aspect of its nature:

  1. Dhustura: This synonym hints at the plant’s potent and overpowering qualities.
  2. Dhatura: Similar to “Dhustura,” it underscores the plant’s intense characteristics.
  3. Unmatta: Reflecting its ability to induce altered states of consciousness.
  4. Svayambhu: Alluding to its mysterious, self-generating nature.
  5. Kakajangha: Suggesting the shape of the plant’s fruits, resembling a crow’s beak.
  6. Kakamaci: Emphasizing its resemblance to a crow’s pupil.
  7. Shivapriya: used in worshipping lord Shiva.

These synonyms paint a multifaceted portrait of Datura, encompassing its appearance, effects, and cultural significance.

Regional Name (Vernacular Names)

Datura’s essence transcends boundaries, embracing various regional names that resonate with its identity:

  • Hindi: Dhatura
  • Bengali: Dhutura
  • Marathi: Dhatura
  • Tamil: Umathai
  • Telugu: Ummandi
  • Kannada: Datturi
  • Gujarati: Dhatura
  • Malayalam: Oomam
  • Urdu: Dhatura

These names reflect Datura’s widespread recognition and diverse utilization.

Scientific Classification of Dravya 

Datura is classified as follows:

  • Kingdom: Plantae 
  • Division (Phylum): Angiosperms 
  • Class: Dicotyledons 
  • Order: Polemoniales 
  • Family: Solanaceae 
  • Genus: Datura 
  • Species: metel

Classical Classification of Dravya (Gana)

Bhavprakash nighantu : Guduchyadi varga

Dhanvantari nighantu :
Karviradi varga

External Morphology

Datura, a captivating botanical wonder, presents itself as a perennial herb or shrub. Its large, trumpet-shaped flowers boast an alluring charm, often emanating a mesmerizing fragrance. The distinctive fruits, resembling spiky globes, bear resemblance to a mystical creation.

Useful Parts

Datura’s utility is woven into its various parts, each contributing to its multifaceted applications:

  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Seeds

These parts hold the key to unlocking Datura’s potential in traditional medicine.

Important Phytoconstituents

Datura’s allure lies within its complex symphony of phytoconstituents:

  1. Alkaloids: Atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, conferring Datura’s unique properties and effects.
  2. Flavonoids: Contributing to Datura’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential.
  3. Phenols: With their diverse health-promoting attributes.
  4. Terpenes: Enhancing Datura’s aromatic charm and potential therapeutic benefits.

Rasa Panchaka (Five Taste Qualities):

Rasa (Predominant Taste): Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent), Kashaya (Astringent)

Guna (Quality): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)

Veerya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)

Vipaka (Post-Digestive Taste): Katu (Pungent)

Prabhava (Special Potency): The Prabhava (special potency) of Datura is often described as “Unmatta,” alluding to its potential to induce altered states of consciousness and hallucinogenic effects.

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Datura’s influence extends across various aspects of the body’s balance and physiological functions:

  • Dosha: Datura primarily aggravates Vata and Kapha doshas due to its intense and heating nature, but can also disturb Pitta dosha in excess.

  • Dhatu: It mainly affects the “Mamsa” (muscle) and “Majja” (marrow) dhatus, potentially impacting their balance.

  • Mala: Datura’s use can lead to an imbalance in the “Pureesha” (feces) and “Mutra” (urine), potentially affecting their regularity and quality.

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

Datura, a plant notorious for its toxic properties, is generally not used for therapeutic purposes in traditional medicine due to the high risk of adverse effects and potential toxicity. Its potential for inducing hallucinations, delirium, and other severe symptoms makes it unsuitable for most therapeutic applications. However, historically, Datura has been used with extreme caution and under the supervision of experienced practitioners for very specific and limited purposes. Here are some elaborated insights into the historical and cautious use of Datura:

  1. Pain Management: In some traditional systems, Datura has been used in minuscule quantities in carefully prepared formulations for the relief of severe pain. Its potential analgesic properties were explored with great caution due to its powerful nature.

  2. Respiratory Distress: Rarely, Datura has been considered for its potential ability to help alleviate certain respiratory issues. However, the risk of severe adverse effects and potential toxicity greatly outweighs any potential benefits, making it an extremely risky option.

  3. Rheumatic Conditions: In certain traditional practices, Datura has been used cautiously in very low doses for its potential effects on certain rheumatic conditions. However, such use is considered highly experimental and is not recommended due to the unpredictable nature of Datura’s effects.

  4. Local Applications: In some historical contexts, Datura preparations have been applied externally for localized pain relief or to address certain skin conditions. However, these applications were approached with extreme caution and were not common due to the risks involved.

  5. Spiritual and Shamanic Practices: In certain cultures, Datura has been used in shamanic or spiritual rituals for its potential to induce altered states of consciousness. These practices, often guided by experienced shamans, were considered highly dangerous and were limited to specific traditional contexts.

  6. Krimiroga – datura leaves juice is beneficial as external application on the scalp for lice and ticks.

  7. Alarka visha – datura and sweta punarnava churna are beneficial in dog-bite (rabies).

  8. Vidradhi – paste of datura leaves and mandukaparni leaves is beneficial for boils.

It’s crucial to note that even in these historical contexts, the use of Datura was associated with significant risks, and its toxic potential was well understood. Modern medical and safety standards strongly advise against the use of Datura for any therapeutic purposes due to its potential for severe and life-threatening adverse effects.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Amayikaprayoga (Immediate Use):

  • Datura is not typically used for immediate relief due to its toxicity.

Matra (Therapeutic Dosage and Administration):

  • Seed powder – 50-100 mg
  • Seeds – 5-10

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

  1. Kanakasava
  2. Dhurdhurpatradi taila
  3. Mahavishagarbha taila
  4. Tribhuvankirti rasa
  5. Unmatta rasa

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

Datura is notorious for its potential adverse effects, which can be severe and life-threatening. Overconsumption or improper use can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Hallucinations
  • Deliri
  • Agitation
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Urinary retention
  • Central nervous system depression
  • Respiratory failure
  • Coma

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

In case of Datura poisoning or adverse effects, immediate medical attention is crucial. Treatment may involve supportive measures, gastric decontamination, and administration of antidotes if available.

Shodhana (Purification Method):

In cow milk boil the datura seeds packed in muslin clothes for 3 hours.

It is essential to emphasize that Datura is a highly toxic plant and should not be used without the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. Its potential for severe adverse effects and toxicity makes it unsuitable for self-administration or casual use.

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Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any other medical condition.

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