DHATTURA (Datura metel)
Dhattura is mentioned in all the ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. It has numerous synonyms like kanaka, madana, dhurtta, sivasekhara, syama, unmattaka, sivapriya etc. There is a mention of its five varieties, based on the colour variation of the flowers, namely, white, blue, black, red and yellow. But only two varieties (blue flowered and white flowered) are commonly met with. The blue flowered variety is found to be more effective than the white one. But the white flowered variety, commonly found, is more used for medicinal purpose.
A coarse weedy annual, reaching over 1 metre in height, grows throughout India. The stem is erect, green, thick, succulent, cylindrical, dividing at a short distance from the ground. The leaves are pale green, unequal at the base. The flowers are solitary , large, 10-15 cm long. The corolla tubular-funnel-shaped. The fruit is about 5-6 cm long, sub-globose capsule, covered with fleshy prickles. The seeds are numerous, closely packed, smooth and yellwith brown in colour .
The botanical name of dhatura is Datura metel or Datura fastuosa and it belongs to family Solanceae. The seeds oil contains oleic (64.51), linoleic (18.87) and saturated (16.60%) acids. A new tropane alkaloid – datumetine – isolated from the leaves. Atropine and scompolamine are also isolated. Isolation of a new withanoliode – daturilin – from fresh leaves. From the whole plant, daturamelins A & B have been also isolated. Isolation of withametelin and isowithametelin is isolated from the leaves.
Dhattura is astringent, sweet and bitter in taste , pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency . It has a special potency as a narcotic . Hence, should be used sparingly with medical advise only. It alleviates kapha and vata dosas. It possesses light and dry attributes and is quickly absorbed (vyavayi and vikasi
The leaves, flowers, seeds and roots have great medicinal vale. The seeds being poisonous are purified before use, by cooking them in cow’s milk, then washed with water and again soaked in cow’s urine for four days. Dhattura is useful both internally as well as externally. The paste of its roots mashed in cow’s urine or the juice of the leaves is applied externally to alleviate oedema and pain in sciatica, mumps, lumbago, neuralgia etc. The mustard oil medicated with the pulp of dhattura seeds is used with great benefit for dressing the cracked feet. In alopecia, the juice of leaves is rubbed on the affected area of the skin. The oil of the seeds of black variety is effective in the treatment of scabies. The inflammations of the breast in postpartum period are treated b fomentation of its leaves. The pessary of the pulp of dhattura effectively reduces the pains in haemorrhoids. The seeds are good to treat dandruff and lice.
Internally, dhattura is used in vast range of diseases. It dries up the mucous secretions in the respiratory tract and is a broncho-dilator as well. Hence, it is benefical in bronchial asthma and cough. The plant is acrid, narcotic, anodyne, anti-spasmodic, intoxicant and emetic, and is useful in fever, ulcers, skin diseases. The roots are used to treat bites from rabid dogs and are also used to cure insanity. In rabid dog bites, the mixture of the roots of white punarnava (boerhaavia diffusa) and dhattura (in 12:1) proportion) is given along with milk (5-6 gms). Dhattura is beneficial in fevers to relieve the sensation of cold and chills. It is salutary in diarrhea and dysentery. As it curbs the peristaltic movements of the intestines and alleviates pitta dosa, it is used in abdominal pain, associated with hyperacidity. Laksmivilasa, the famous preparation of dhattura seeds is commonly used as a medicament for colds, headache and fever due to vata – kapha.
- Laksmivilasa rasa