Datura, often touted as “Thorn Apple”, though considered as one of the deadliest plant species, for its super toxic components, when consumed raw is also surprisingly a powerhouse of medical components if purified properly.
Be it the leaves, fruits, flowers, stem or roots, Datura has been traditionally used in both folklore medications and alternative therapies. However, due to the strong hallucinogenic properties of the plant, Datura is often used to relieve asthmatic symptoms and reduce the pain during the surgery and bone setting procedures. Though a strong narcotic plant, datura offers umpteen health benefits and is extensively used for alleviating pain, treating fever, enhancing heart functions, improving fertility, inducing sleep, easing childbirth and promoting hair and skin health.
What Is Datura?
Datura is a bushy, erect annual herb that usually grows to a height of 2-5 ft. The plant has a foul stench and is widely found growing naturally in clayey-loamy soils found in fallow fields, croplands, old feedlots, waste areas, nearby construction sites, deserted vacant places, and even in waste areas. The plant has purplish-green hollow stems and smooth erect oval-shaped leaves that are arranged alternately on it. Flowers have a pleasant smell and are found in 3 distinct colours which are yellow, red, violet or greenish-white in colour. They are usually large and are bisexual and hypogynous. Fruits have a bitter acid-like taste and are knobby, ovate and are coffered with short spikes. The seeds are enclosed within the fruits and are spiny, whereas roots are brown, cylindrical and branched.
It is normally found in the tropical parts of India and the temperate regions of the Himalayas and is also found growing wildly in fertile calcareous soils of North America, Mexico, North Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Bangladesh.