Origin, Distribution and Composition
Datura is a bushy plant growing up to one meter in height. It has large
egg shaped leaves, very large white flowers and egg-shaped fruits, covered
with prickles. The dried leaves, top portion of the flower and seeds of
the plant constitute the drug.
Datura is referred to in ancient Indian literature as shivashekheru
because the flowers are believed to be associated with Lord Shiva. It was
known to the ancient Hindu physicians. They regarded the drug as an
intoxicant, with emetic, digestive and healing powers. Smoking of datura
seeds as a treatment for asthma was known during the vedic period.
Datura is indigenous to India. The plant grows in temperate Himalayas up
to 2500 meters and in the hilly belts of Central and Southern India.
The leaves of the plant contain alkaloids. The cultivated plants produce
higher percentage of alkaloids. Seeds yield deploid I and tetraploid II
besides alkaloids. Some amount of alkaloids are there in dried seeds and
Healing power and curative powers of datura