THORN APPLE live plant (Datura metel)
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The whole plant, but especially the leaves and seed, is anaesthetic, anodyne, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, antitussive, bronchodilator, hallucinogenic, hypnotic and mydriatic.
It has a wide range of applications in India, including in the treatment of epilepsy, hysteria, insanity, heart diseases, fever with catarrh, diarrhoea, skin diseases etc. A poultice of the crushed leaves is used to relieve pain.
In China, the plant is used in the treatment of asthma. In Vietnam, the dried flowers and leaves are cut into small chips and used in antiasthmatic cigarettes. Great caution is advised in the use of this plant since excess doses cause hallucinations, severe intoxication and death.
The toxic dose is very close to the medicinal dose so this plant should only be used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.
See also the notes above on toxicity.
The plant contains the alkaloids hyoscyamine, hyoscine and atropine.
Atropine dilates the pupils and is used in eye surgery. Total alkaloid content of the leaves is 0.426%, which is mainly atropine.
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