Benefits And Nutrition Of Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) For Health

Benefits And Nutrition Of Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) For Health

Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium)

Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) is known as other names: Stramonium, Datura, Devil's Apple, Jamestown-weed, Jimsonweed, Stinkweed, Devil's Trumpet, Apple of Peru, Stinkweed, Thornapple. 

Thorn apple is an herbaceous perennial plant, which is grown in temperate and tropical region of the globe. All the species of thorn apple are poisonous in nature. An annually growing herb, thorn apple grows up to a height of four feet and has a stinking smell. The oval leaves of this herb are irregularly jagged and grow up to 8 inches in length. Thorn apple bears attractive, white-hued and trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom between July and October. The flowers are large and handsome, about 3 inches in length, growing singly on short stems springing from the axils of the leaves or at the forking of the branches. The calyx is long, tubular and somewhat swollen below, and very sharply five-angled, surmounted by five sharp teeth. The corolla, folded and only half-opened, is funnel-shaped, of a pure white, with six prominent ribs, which are extended into the same number of sharppointed segments. The flowers open in the evening for the attraction of night-flying moths, and emit a powerful fragrance. The flowers produce a spiky spherical capsule that encloses kidney-shaped, compressed seeds whose color vary from deep brown to black.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) For Health
Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) Picture

Although thorn apple possesses a number of therapeutic properties, for instance analgesic, antispasmodic and narcotic, it is advised that you keep away from this plant. All the parts of this plant, which is considered to be a weed belonging to the disreputable nightshade plant family, are tremendously venomous and may possibly result in death.

In America Thorn apple is called the 'Devil's Apple,' from its dangerous qualities and the remarkable effects that follow its administration. When the first settlers arrived in Virginia, some ate the leaves of this plant and experienced such strange and unpleasant effects that the colonists (so we are told) gave it this name by which it is still known in the United States. Thorn apple is also known very commonly there by the name of 'Jamestown (or Jimson) Weed,' derived probably from its having been first observed in the neighbourhood of that old settlement in Virginia.

Thorn apple seeds parts used are seeds, flowers and leaves. All the parts of Thorn apple contain dangerous level of poison like tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine, which are considered as deliriants or anticholinergics.

Thorn apple should be taken only after consultation from the good practitioner as the difference between medical dose and toxic dose is very very small.

Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) Nutritional Information and Properties  

Thorn apple is rich in alkaloids like hyoscine and hyoscyamine, glutamic acids, enzymes, organic acids like oxalic, malic, citric, fumaric, succinic, and lactic acids, ethereal oil, and mineral salts. Some of the alkaloids in thorn apple show similar characteristics to those in another poisonous herb called night shade, which decreases secretions in the body and loosens up soft muscle tissues. The leaves and seeds of thorn apple show anti-asthmatic, anti-malarial, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Though the herb has benefits, an overdose or wrong dosage can have multiple side effects. The herb is toxic if ingested in large amounts. Dryness of throat, itching, and difficulty in breathing can all be indicative of an overdose of thorn apple. In such situations, it is best to approach a certified doctor as soon as possible. Furthermore, owing to its toxic nature, thorn apple should be administered only in right doses by a certified medical practitioner. 

Benefits And Nutrition Of Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) For Health
Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) Picture

Benefits Of Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) For Health

The oil extract from the datura seed is used to treat baldness and stimulate growth of hair.Thorn apple is, in fact, so similar to belladonna in the symptoms produced by it in small or large doses, in its toxicity and its general physiological and therapeutic action, that the two drugs are practically identical, and since they are about the same strength in activity, the preparations may be used in similar doses.

When used in small doses, thorn apple is a widespread medication for treating a number of health conditions, including asthma, muscle spasm, whooping cough and even the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. It has been proved that thorn apple helps to unwind the muscles of the bronchial, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. In addition, this herb also facilitates in lessening mucous and digestive secretions. Similar to the deadly nightshade, even thorn apple may be applied topically to alleviate neuralgia and rheumatic pains and gout.

Currently, thorn apple is employed to cure asthma as well as gastrointestinal disorders. In addition, this plant is also used to alleviate aches, arthritis, abscesses, headaches, boils, sprains, hemorrhoids, swellings, tumors and rattlesnake bites. When used in major doses it works as a tranquilizer as well as a stimulant in conditions that cause delirium. Thorn apple is also an anodyne or pain reliever, antibiotic, narcotic and antispasmodic.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) For Health
Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) Flower Picture

It may be noted that thorn apple has nearly been used for treating all the medical conditions for which belladonna is used more commonly, but thorn apple acts more potently on the respiratory organs and, over the years, has acquired an exceptional reputation a being among the main medications for treating spasmodic asthma. In fact, thorn apple is mostly used as the major ingredient in remedial powders and cigarettes meant for treating asthma compared to the internal use of the plant. In fact, the practice of smoking datura for treating asthma was brought in from the East Indies to Great Britain by one general and later the English species of the genus replaced the species that were transported from India or Hindustan, as the country was known then.

Thorn apple has been used by the British soldiers to treat respiratory problems. Both scopolamine and atropine are used as sedatives and sometimes helps in curing of motion sickness, nausea and dizziness.

Earlier, the roots of thorn apple were extensively used for medicinal purposes. For instance, people in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) used the leaves, stem as well as the fruit by cutting them all together to prepare burning powders for treating asthma. However, the dried leaves of thorn apple are used more or less solely for treating asthma in Sri Lanka these days. The beneficial effects caused by using the powdered thorn apple is attributed to atropine, a chemical substance enclosed by the plant and which helps in paralyzing the pulmonary branch endings, thereby, alleviating bronchial spasm. The leaves of thorn apple may be used to make special cigarettes or smoked in a pipe, either individually or blended with tobacco, sage, cubebs, belladonna as well as other drugs.

When applied topically in the form of salve, balm, fomentation or plasters, thorn apple helps to alleviate muscular pain in the instance of neuralgia, rheumatism as well as those caused by abscesses, fistula, hemorrhoids and other analogous inflammations. Boils can also be overcome by applying thorn apple leaves as poultice.

The oil extract from the thorn apple seed is used to treat baldness and stimulate growth of hair.

The burning leaf smoke of thorn apple is good to treat asthma and bronchitis. The ethanol extract from thorn apple leaves are used as acaricidal, repellent and oviposition deterrent properties against mites. The ethanol extract of thorn apple is used as repellent against larva and mosquito.

Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) Side effects and cautions

Thorn apple is poisonous plant, so it should be taken only after consultation with the experienced physicians.

Thorn apple chemicals such as scopolamine and atropine are used as poison and used in murders and suicides.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) For Health
Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium) Picture

Thorn apple increases the heart beat and may lead to cardiac arrest.

Ingesting Thorn apple may cause violent behavior because the presence of chemical substance called anticholinergic.

Taking Thorn apple results to dilated pupils.

One can also experience amnesia due to this.

Blurred vision, nausea, giddiness, confusion, rapid pulse, hyperthermia are some of the side effects of Thorn apple.

Thorn apple can affect the nervous system adversely.

The juice of Thorn apple leaves is also very harmful for eyes.