USES.—The applications of this species are identical with those of D.
Stramonium and it is official in the Pharmacopoeia of India. It is antispasmodic, narcotic and toxic, and is used quite commonly with criminal intent in India and Indo-China. The cooked and bruised leaves make an efficient poultice in articular rheumatism.
The symptoms of poisoning by “dhatura” are: dilatation of the pupil, general malaise, dryness of the fauces and skin, hallucinations, rapid pulse, coma and death or permanent mania.
The dry leaf is smoked to abort asthma, and though its action is uncertain, it is one of the many remedies that should be tried, which though ineffective in one case may in another afford positive relief in this distressing disease. Not more than 1.50 grams should be smoked in one day and their use should be discontinued if any symptom of intoxication supervenes. The Pharmacopoeia of India contains a tincture made from 75 grams of the ground seeds and 500 grams of alcohol. Dr. Waring states that 20 drops of this tincture are equivalent to 6 centigrams of opium and that in some cases it has given him better narcotic results than the opium. The extract is made from 500 grams of the powdered seeds, 500 cc. ether, 500 cc. alcohol and 500 cc. water. Dose, 5–20 centigrams a day in 4 doses.
The D. fastuosa, L., known in Manila by the common name of Talamponay na itim, Tag., possesses the same properties as the above. The Filipino physician, Sr.
Zamora, successfully employed a poultice of bruised leaves cooked in vinegar and applied to the forehead and backs of the hands to reduce the fever of tuberculous patients.
Neither the leaves nor seeds of these two varieties of Datura have been studied from a chemical standpoint, but there is little doubt that the active principle is the daturine (atropine and hyoscyamine) that exists so abundantly in D.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—Plant 5–6° high, with nodose branches, forked. Leaves ovate, angled, somewhat downy. Flowers large, white, axillary, solitary. Calyx tubular, 5-toothed. Corolla funnel-shaped, the limb 5-angled and 5-folded.
Stamens 5, same length as calyx. Anthers long, flattened. Stigma thick, oblong, divisible in 2 leaves. Seed vessel globose, thorny, 4-valved over the base of the calyx. Seeds numerous, flattened, kidney-shaped. (Resembles closely the common Jamestown Weed of America, though much taller with much larger flowers.) HABITAT.—Common on the shores of the sea. The D. fastuosa is differentiated by its violet flowers and double corolla.
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