TOXIC PLANTS IN TRADITIONAL INDIAN SYSTEMS OF MEDICINE

Thomas M.Walter*, Gopi G.Radha**. Introduction: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 80% of the population of developing countries relies on traditional medicines, mostly plant drugs, for their primary health care needs. Also, modern pharmacopoeia still contains at least 25% drugs derived from plants and many others which are synthetic analogues built on prototype compounds isolated from plants. Siddha system is one of the oldest systems of medicine in India. The Siddha system is capable of treating all types of disease (especially chronic diseases) other than emergency cases. The Pharmacology (Materia Medica) of Siddha system is divided into three major parts namely Herbal kingdom, Metals & Minerals and Animal kingdom. The initial treatment consists of Herbal treatment followed by metal and mineral preparations. It is important to have an awareness regarding the poisonous plants which when used in the proper, prescribed dose, acts as potent therapeutic agents. Toxins are molecules that are harmful to living organisms. It is a fact that virtually any substance can be harmful at high enough concentrations - as Paracelsus (1493-1541) said in the sixteenth century, "the dose makes the poison." Poisons include both naturally produced compounds and chemicals manufactured by humans. Natural poisons are produced by species of bacteria, fungi, protists, plants, and animals. This article has the basic details such as the Botanical & Family names, Common names, toxic parts of the plant, chemical constituents, signs and symptoms of toxicity, its use in Traditional Indian Systems of Medicine (in prescribed doses), and information about Lethal dose and Fatal period of the important plants (such as Papaver somniferum, Datura alba, Nerium oleander, Strychnos nux vomica, Cleistanthus collinus, Cannabis sativa, Gloriosa superba, Anamirta cocculus, Citrulus colocynthis, Abrus precatorius, Semecarpus anacardium, Excoecaria agallocha, Digitalis purpurea, Aconitum ferrox, Croton tiglium and Plumbago zeylanica) noted as poisons in the Traditional Indian Systems of Medicine.

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Asst. Lecturer, Dept. of Pharmacology, Govt. Siddha Medical College, Palayamkottai, T.N., INDIA. House-Surgeon, Govt. Siddha Medical College, Palayamkottai, T.N., INDIA.

Muscular rheumatism. Migraine. Cleistanthus collinus (Ephorbiaceace) Bark Saponins Extremely poisonous Bark is a fish poison. Cardiac poison.54gm FP: 5 hrs Anamirta cocculus. produce Over excitement . FP: 24hrs7 days.Bot. fish berry. . Neuralgia. In smallest doses it is given in epilepsy. Note LD: 90gm120gm. FP: 24-72 hrs. Dysmenorrhea & Menorrhagia. Whooping cough. Paralysis& Other nervous diseases Externally used in Neuralgia. Fresh fruit Picrotoxin - - Cannabis sativa (Cannabinaceae) Indian hemp Dried flowers and fruits Cannabin. Asthma. seeds. Menispermaceae Indian berry.name & Family Abrus Precatorius Common Toxic Constit Name parts uents Jequirity. Narcotic stage & Death. Nervine tonic in case of paralysis. Sciatica. Externally used in Alopecia. cannabinol Deliriant poison. LD: 2.& leaves Abrin Action Uses Vomiting. LD: Bhang:10g m Ganja:8gm Charas:2g m. cannabinon. Indian Jamaica or Wild Liquorices Roots. Aconitum ferox (Ranunculaceae) Indian aconite or Monkshood Dried tuberous root Napelline or Pseudo aconite Gastro Intestinal Tract irritant &Cardiac poison.

Dried Pulp of the fruit. Deliriant poison produce collapse & death. LD: 1 seed Oil: 1520ml. or quartenylic acid. oil. Obstinate constipation. Insanity. GIT irritant &Cardiac poison. LD: 0. Root. Croton tiglium (Euphorbiaceae) Purgative croton. Datura alba (Solanaceae) Thorn apple Whole plant Daturine. Dropsy. Fever. intestinal obstruction. Crotonic. Constipation. Tiglinic acid.61gm. FP: 6 36hrs. Amenorrhea. Digitalis purpurea Terophularaceae Fox glove _ _ Cardiac poison. croton oil seed. Jaundice. Cerebral affection like apoplexy. Spasmodic asthma. Seed. bitter cucumber. FP: 24 hrs.Citrullus colocynthis (Cucurbitaceae) Colocynth. Fruit. Convulsions. Colocynthin Ascitis.24 hrs. . Indian wild Gourd or bitter apple. LD: 15-30 mg FP: 30 min .

Narcotic Asthma. poison. Neriodorin. Morphine.9-1. Codeine. poppy seeds. White poppy. Intestinal inflammatory pain. externally in ulcers. &rootRoseberry bark spurge. Gonorrhea. petals seeds. Cardiac poison Small doses in Snake bites& LD:16gm powerful venomous FP: 24-36 bites. Insomnia. LD:800mg FP: 12-24 hrs. . Euphorbiaceae Tiger’s milk tree _ _ Epilepsy. Depression Cough. snake poison. Narcotine.8gm Morphine:3 0mg Codeine:1 0-60mg Tincture opium:250 mg Pethedine: 1gm FP: 6-12 hrs. Papaver somniferum (Papavaraceae) Opium poppy capsules. used in Hamorrhoids. GIT irritant &Respirato ry poison.Excoecaria agallocha. externally in snake bite& Scorpion Sting. Nerium oleander (Apocynaceae) Sweet scented Root oleander. externally hrs. Diarrhoea. LD:Opium: 0. Gloriosa superba (Liliaceae) Superblily Tubers(ro Superbine& ots) glucosine. Thebaine. Dysentry. Cancers. Ripe &dried capsules.

produce Convulsion & death. Palsy. Strychos nux vomica (Loganiaceae) Nux vomica or Strychine tree. quaker button Stem Strychnine. Prolapse of rectum. Fruit. Abbreviations Used: L. oil. Spinal poison.D. Root Externally it produces rashes & Gastro intestinal poison. Palsy. Plumbagin. Externally used in Headache. poison nut. Internally used in Syphilis. Chronic enlargement of spleen. . Gum. Internally root causes Abortion. LD: 30120mg FP: 1-2 days. LD: 5 – 10 gm FP: 12 – 24 hours. Fatal Period. Acute Dysentery. White leadwort. Externally it produces Rashes on skin. Rheumatism.Plumbago zeylanica Plumbaginaceae Ceylon leadwort. Epilepsy. Externally in Abscess. Dried ripe seeds. bark. Cholera. Internally used in Neuralgic affection. Mental emotion. LD:5gm Semecarpus anacardium (Anacardiaceae) Markins nut tree. Piles. Epilepsy. Anacardiac acid & Cardol anacardol GIT irritant. Lethal Dose F. Leprosy and Scabies. Hysteria. Chronic Rheumatism.P.

Any agent which prevents inflammation. A remedy which relieves pain. Any agent which contracts organic tissue thus lessening secretion. Any remedy for the destruction or elimination of intestinal worms. Any measure used to relieve spasm occurring in muscle. A remedy that arrests or prevents putrification or which prevents or retards the growth of microorganisms as long as they remain in contact with them but not destroy them. Substances characterized by a fragrant. the normal functions of an organ or of the system without producing any sensible effect or obvious impression on any of the organs of the body. Drugs which maintain an efficient circulation when the heart becomes weak to perform its function by Analgesic. Drug that counteracts or neutralizes the acidity in the stomach. Medicine that "alter" the morbid or unhealthy process of nutrition and excretion. sexual appetite. Anodyne: Antacid: Anthelmintic: Antibacterial: Antidote: Antiinflammatory: Antipyretic: Antiseptic: Antispasmodic: Aphrodisiac: Aromatic: Astringent: Cardiac depressant: Cardiac stimulant: . Drugs which lessen the activity of heart.Pharmacological terms and their meanings: Abortifacient: Alterative: Drug that induces expulsion of a non-viable fetus. spicy taste and / or odour and containing volatile oils and stimulates to the gastro intestinal mucous membrane. passion and virile power. cordial. An agent which stimulates or increases sexual excitement. Any agent which allays or reduces fever. A remedy which counteracts or neutralizes the action of a poison. Any agent which destroys bacteria. restoring in some unknown way.

empties the gall bladder. mucilaginous fluid which allays irritation and sooths inflammation. especially of mucous membranes. An agent inducing or increasing the flow of milk. A medicine that removes functional obstructions of the body. (b) by removing the cause of the suppression. Any agent which arrests bleeding. . Expectorant: Galactagogue: Haematinic: Haemostatic: Laxative: A drug which promotes or increases the elimination of secretion from the respiratory tract by coughing or by sputum. allow the discharge to return. An agent which increases the flow of urine.improving its activity. which by their stimulating action on the uterine fiber (a) directly assist in increasing or restoring disordered menstruation when deficient or absent. A slippery. It is milder in action. An agent which induces diaphoresis(perspiration). An agent which assists the stomach and intestine in their normal functions of promoting digestion of foods. Emetic: Any agent used to produce vomiting. Remedy which stimulates the action of liver. A mild aperient. promoting or increasing the secretion or excretion of bile. Cholagogue: Demulcent: Deobstruent: Diaphoretic: Digestive: Diuretic: Emmenogogue: These are medicines. Any substance which is required for the production of red blood cell and the constituents. Carminative: Calming or soothing medicines that act by relieving pain in the stomach and bowel and expel flatulence and gas from the stomach or intestines by increasing or regulating peristalsis. and produces free purgation at the same time.

Mumbai. Nadkarani. Publisher: Popular Prakash. A substance which when applied to the skin. Publisher Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (C. Dr. Drug that exerts a soothing effect by lowering functional activity.R). stone in the urinary bladder. and which quench thirst.M. Published by The Directorate of Indian Medicine & Homeopathy. Nourishing medicines.Lithontriptic: A medicine supposed to possess the power of dissolving urinary calculi. 2. 3. i. CBS Publisher. or lowering bodily temperature. An astringent applied to stop bleeding. by stimulating the nutrition.S. jointly and severally. Medicine which permanently increase the tone of the part upon which they act.. K. Mumbai. C. and medicines which suppress an unnatural heat of the body. . Nutritive: Refrigerant: Rubefacient: Sedative: Sialogogue: Stimulant: Stomachic: Styptic: Tonic: Bibliography: 1. cause redness. An agent which increases or excites functions. Indian Materia Medica Vol: 1 by. Chennai. An agent which increases the flow of saliva.I.12. as well as improve the entire general tone of the system. An agent which increases the appetite and digestion. The Wealth of India Vol 1.K Parikh. New Delhi. Medicines having cooling properties on the surface of the body.e. Textbook of Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology by Dr. Drug which quiets the nervous system without actually producing sleep. 4. Siddha Materia Medica (Medicinal Plants Division) by Murugesa Mudaliar.

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