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D H A T T U R A
SCIENTIFIC NAMES: Datura stramonium, fam. SOLANACEAE
HISTORY: The name Datura, is from the Hindoo Dhatura, derived from the Sanskrit, D'hustúra, applied to the Indian species fastuosa, well known to the mediaeval Arabian physicians under the name of Tatorea. It also derives from the ancient Arabic denominations datora and tatorah.
The ancient Sanskrit writings refer to these plants as dhurstura and unmata. The medical Chinese texts state that if consumed in equal quantities, Datura Stramonium and Cannabis sativa (picked up in July and August) is produced such a powerful anesthesia that one could perform operations and painless cauterizations.
The algonquiens in Northern America use this plant when they are about to have the first erotic initiation, as this plant increases their masculinity and psychical maturity.
DESCRIPTION: The Thornapple grows in temperate climate areas. It is an annual plant, sometimes reaching 0.6-1.3 meters in height.
The root is long and the stem is stout, erect and leafy, pale green in color, branching repeatedly and producing a single flower. The leaves are large and angular, with a wavy and toothed margin.
The plant flowers nearly all the summer. The flowers are large and handsome, about 3 inches in length, growing on stems springing from the leaves or at the forking of the branches. The calyx is long, tubular, five-angled, surmounted by five sharp teeth. The corolla is funnel-shaped, of a pure white, with six prominent ribs. The flowers open in the evening for the attraction of night-flying moths, and emit a powerful fragrance.
The fruits are egg shaped seed capsules of a green color, about the size of a large walnut. When ripe, this seed-vessel opens up revealing numerous rough, dark-brown seeds.
The species with white flowers (Datura Inoxia and Datura Stramonium) come from America, while the violet flowers species (Datura metel) come from Asia. Datura fastuosa, which has violet flowers as well is from Africa. Beginning with the modern era, some species were brought to Europe as well. All parts of the plant, of all species contain very active tropanic alkaloids.
MAIN CONSTITUENTS: Datura Stramonium is the only species of Datura used pharmaceutically, due to its stable content of alkaloids. Mainly it contains mainly hyoscyamine, and a little atropine and scopolamine. These alkaloids are unevenly disposed in the plant.
ITS ACTIONS ARE: the plant diminishes the activity of the parasympathetic, it causes hallucinations and it hypnotic. According to the dosage, Datura Stramonium may cause a pleasant, euphorical state, a state of excitation with hallucinations, permanent insanity and finally even death.
PRECAUTIONS: Due to the presence of the tropanic alkaloids datura may affect the heart. Because the parasympathetic system may become tolerant to tropans, the same effect would require increased doses of datura, which affects the heart.
Other plants related to Datura Stramonium in respect to the effect they create, but which are highly toxic are:
1. Atropa Belladona
2. Mandragora Officinarum
3. Hyoscyamus niger
4. Aconitum napellus