Herbs & Plants

Datura metel

Botanical Name : Datura metel
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Datura
Species: D. metel
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names: Devil’s trumpet and metel,Thorn Apple, Angel’s Trumpet, Hindu Datura, Horn of Plenty, Downy Thorn Apple
It is known under several cultivar names as; ‘Black’, ‘Blackcurrant Swirl’, ‘Cornucopaea’, ‘Double Blackcurrant Swirl’, ‘Double Purple’, ‘Purple Hindu’. It has also received many scientific names which should not be used for a cultivar:

*Datura hummatu var. fastuosa (L.) Bernh.
*Datura fastuosa L.
*Datura metel f. fastuosa (L.) Danert
*Datura metel var. fastuosa (L.) Saff.
*Stramonium fastuosum (L.) Moench

Habitat: Datura metel is native to E. Asia – S. China, India. Naturalized in the Mediterranean. It grows in waste places, river sands etc in sunny positions


The plant is an annual herb growing up to 3 ft. high. It is slightly furry, with dark violet shoots and oval to broad oval leaves that are often dark violet as well. The pleasantly-scented 6-8 in. flowers are immensely varied, and can be single or double. Colors range from white to cream, yellow, red, and violet. The seed capsule is covered with numerous conical humps and a few spines.. It is similar to D. inoxia, but D. metel has almost glabrous leaves and fruits that are knobby, not spiny. D. inoxia is pilose all over and has a spiny fruit.

Click to see different pictures of Dautra metal
Black daturas (Datura metel ‘Fastuosa’)
A cultivar of D. metel with a polished-looking ebony-black stem exists as a garden plant. Its flowers normally have a double or triple corolla, each corolla having a deep purple exterior and white or off-white interior. The plant is already reported to have become naturalised in Israel (see illustration). The black cultivar might become a common roadside dweller, like its white-flowered ancestor……CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Detail Botanical Description:
*ROOT – Branched tap root system
*STEM – The stem is hollow, green and herbaceous with strong odour
*LEAF – Simple, alternate, petiolate, entire or deeply lobed, glabrous showing unicostate reticulate venation and exstipulate.
*INFLORESCENCE – Solitary and axillary cyme
*FLOWER – Laege, greenish white, bracteate, ebractiolate, pedicellate, complete, dichlamydeous, pentamerous, regular, actinomorphic, bisexual, and hypogynous
*CALYX – Sepals 5, green, gamosepalous showing valvate aestivation. Calyx is mostly persistent andodd sepal is posterior in position.
*COROLLA – Petals 5, greenish white, gamopetalous, plicate showing twisted aestivation, funnel shaped with wide mouth and 10 lobed.
*ANDROECIUM – Stamens 5, free from one another, epipetalous, alternate the petals and are inserted inside the middle of the corolla tube. Anthers are basifixed, dithecous with long filament, introrse and longitudinally dehiscent.
*GYNOECIUM – Ovary superior, syncarpous and bicarpellary. Ovary is basically bilocullar but tetralocular due to false septa. Carpels are obliquely place and ovules on swollen axile placenta. Style simple, long and filliform. Stigma is two lobed.
*FRUIT – Spinescent capsule opening by four apical valves with persistent calyx.
*SEED – Endospermous


Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Specimen. Prefers a rich light sandy soil and an open sunny position. Grows best in a fertile calcareous soil[200]. This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes. There are a number of named varieties selected for their ornamental value. The flowers have an exotic fragrance, though the bruised leaves have an unpleasant smell. This species is closely related to D. innoxia. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers.

Propagation :
Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse. Put 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and thin if necessary to the best plant. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 6 weeks at 15°c. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Especially in areas with hot summers, it is worthwhile trying a sowing outdoors in situ in mid to late spring.

Edible Uses:   Drink……The leaves and roots are bruised, mixed with water and left to stand for several hours. The liquid is then drawn off and drunk. This is a highly narcotic drink, producing a stupefying effect that it is not easy to remove. Caution is advised, see the notes  in known hazards.

Medicinal use:
Datura is known for its anticholinergic and deliriant properties: D. metel is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called yáng j?n hu? . The ingestion of D.metel in any form is dangerous and should be treated with extreme caution. The dry flower, particularly the violet coloured, if rolled and used like cigar, will help to relieve the asthma or wheezing like symptoms

You may click to see :

Medical uses, culinary recepies, psychoactive effects, etc. :

Medicinal Plants or Medicinal Herbs – Datura metel (Siddha Medicine) (Materia Medica) :

Different Medical Uses of Datura Metel :

Known Hazards:

All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of tropane alkyloids (highly poisonous) and may be fatal if ingested by humans or other animals, including livestock and pets. In some places it is prohibited to buy, sell or cultivate Datura plants.

Datura metel may be toxic if ingested in a tiny quantity, symptomatically expressed as flushed skin, headaches, hallucinations, and possibly convulsions or even a coma. The principal toxic elements are tropane alkaloids. Accidentally (or intentionally) ingesting even a single leaf could lead to severe side effects.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



Natural Drugs Set for Major Role

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Natural drugs, especially of plant origin, are expected to play a major role in the healthcare programme in the 21st Century, a leading scientist has said.


“The revival of interest in plant-based drugs and other herbal products is mainly because of the widespread belief that ‘green medicine’ is healthier than the synthetic products,” said veteran scientist P Pushpangadan in a paper titled ‘Health Food and Nutraceuticals – Traditional Wisdom’.

“This is mainly due to the increasing evidences of the health hazards associated with the harmful side effects of many synthetic drugs and the indiscriminate use of modern medicines such as antibiotics, steroids,” said the paper, which will be presented at the ongoing Annam – National Food and Agro-biodiversity festival on Monday.

Pushpangadan is the director general of Amity Institute for Herbal and Biotech Products Development, and has previously served as director of the National Botanical Research Institute till 2006.

The preference for green food and medicine has resulted in the rapid growth of plant-based drugs, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods and even cosmaceuticals.

The scientist said in the 1980s, this led to the rapid spurt of demand for health products such as herbal tea, ginseng and products of traditional medicine.

Health improvement and disease preventive strategies in treatment, prevalent in oriental systems, especially Indian (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Amchi) and the Chinese systems of medicine are finding increasing acceptance all over the world.

“Because of this sweeping ‘green wave’ a large number of herbal drugs and plant-derived herbal products are sold in the health food shops all over the developed countries. According to some healthcare experts, there will be more dieticians rather than physicians in coming years,” Pushpangadan said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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News on Health & Science

An Hour Exercise for 5 Days a Week to Loose Weight

Women who want to lose weight and keep it off need to exercise for almost an hour, five days a week, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh.


Researchers found that a 55-minute regime was the minimum needed to maintain a 10 percent drop in weight.

During the four-year study, 200 overweight and obese women were told to eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories a day, and do one of four different exercise programs, which varied in intensity and variety.

After six months, all of the women lost up to 10 percent of their body weight, but only a small percentage was able to maintain it. Those who did keep the weight off were those doing more exercise — about 275 minutes a week, on average.

Research points to a combination of exercise and calorie control as having the best chance of success in weight loss. This latest research once again confirms that plenty of exercise is a key ingredient.

BBC News July 29, 2008
Archives of Internal Medicine July 28, 2008;168(14):1550-1559

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Ardha Paschimottanasana (Yoga Exercise)

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Ardha (means half)Pashchimottanasana is not an independent Asana Exercise). But since Paschimottanasana (full) is difficult to practice, Pashchimottanasana (ardha) is designed to enable the body to take the full position later.
Pre position or First Position: Sitting Position.


How to do the exercise:

Fold the left leg in the knee and place the heel of the left foot near the thigh of the right leg.(as shown in the picture)
Only inhale.

Exhaling, hold the big toe of the right foot with the left hand and encircle the right hand round the waist.(as per picture)

Exhale completely, and bend downwards and touch the forehead to the knee. Don’t allow the knee to raise. Continue smooth breathing.(as in the picture)

Asana Position : The process of downward bending is the same as in Pashchimottasana (full). In this Asana one leg is folded and the calf and the thigh are kept to the floor.
Releasing Exhale, and inhaling, start raising the head.

Restore both the hands to their place.

Straighten the left leg and take the sitting position.

Practice this Asana by folding the right leg making the relevant changes.

Duration Initially, even if it is maintained for thirty seconds, one experiences the benefits. Of course, after practice, it should be increased to four to five minutes.

Benefits :
Basically this Asana(Exercise) prepares the body for Pashchimottanasana (full).which will have several benefits is explained in full Paschimottanasana.
Precaution : While bending downward, there is the possibility of the knees and thighs being raised, and this should be avoided.

Reference Book:- Yoga Pravesh