Datura(Dhaturo): Know its cultivation practices, uses and medicinal value



Datura, a wildly growing plant from Solanaceae family, commonly known as Jimson weed or Devil’s snare is attributed with both poisonous and medicinal values. It contains varieties of toxic alkaloids such as atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. In Ayurveda, it has been used for curing various ailments including wounds, inflammation, rheumatism, sciatica, swellings, fever, and asthma.

  1. Classification:

Family: – Solanaceae

Genus: – Datura

Species: -D.stramonium L.

Common Names:Thorn Apple/ Jimson weed/ Mad apple/ Moonflower

Local name: Dhaturo

  1. Origin and Distribution:
  • Datura stramoniumis native to the eastern part of Central America, Mexico or the southern part of the United States
  • It has been introduced in many tropical, subtropical and even temperate regions of India,Bangladesh,Pakistan,Myanmar, Sri Lanka,USA,and Europe& Africa.
  • A naturalized weed in many African and Asian countries, but is probably seriously
  1. Plant Description:
  • Annual shrub that grows to about 1.5m tall mainly in the summer months (July – October).
  • Has green to purplish stems of this plant are stout and hollow.
  • Leaves simple, ovate, a coarsely serrate margin, measure 5-20 cm, acuminate at their tips.
  • Large, white, funnel shaped; axillary borne, symmetrical flowers grow to about 5-10cm long; petals 5 in number.
  • 5 stamens of equal length attached to the corolla near the base, and a long style with a 2-lobed stigma
  • Its fruits are large, thorny pods filled with seeds. Fruits open into 4 compartments when ripe.
  • Seeds numerous, yellowish brown to black, flattened, ovoid, elaiosome large, endosperm present.
  1. Cultivation:
  2. Climate and Soil
  • Grows well in areas having average minimum temperature 10-12 ⁰C in winter and 25-27 ⁰C in summer. It requires a well distributed rainfall of 50-100 cm/year. Grows up to the altitude of 2500 above sea level.
  • It can tolerate a range of soil types including sandy and loamy however well-drained loamy soil with regular moisture and high humus content is preferable.  pH ranges from neutral to very alkaline.
  • Datura prefers rich, calcareous Adding nitrogen fertilizerto the soil will increase the concentration of alkaloids present in the plant
  1. Propagation
  • Generally cultivated from seed sown either directly in the field or in a nursery bed.
  • Seeds are sown in open in May, in drill 3 feet apart, barely covered. Sown thinly, as the plants attain a good size and grow freely from seed. Thin out the young plants to a distance of 12 to 15 inches between each plant in the drill. The soil should be kept free from weeds in the early stages.
  • If the seed is sown in a nursery, seedlings are transplanted when 8–12 cm tall
  • Normal spacing is 70–100 cm
  1. Harvesting and Yield:
  • Deflowering increases the total alkaloid content in the leaves.
  • The leaves should be gathered when the plant is in full bloom and carefully dried. They are generally harvested in late summer, generally In August, the crop being cut by the sickle on a fine day in the morning, after the sun has dried off the dew, and the leaves stripped from the stem and dried carefully as quickly as possible,
  • The thorny capsules are gathered from the plants when they are quite ripe, but still green. They should then be dried in the sun for a few days, when they will split open and the seeds can be readily shaken out. The seeds can then be dried, either in the sun or by artificial heat. 
  • Yield: – 10.5 – 14.5 tons of fresh plant material and 750 – 1,200 kg of seeds is found in a hectare of land
  1. Chemical Evaluation:
  • The principle tropanealkaloids presents are: hyoscyamine, atropine and scopolamine and traces of scopine, belladodine; also contains coumarins (scopoletine, umbellipheron), 5% tannins and small amount of essential oils.
  • Total alkaloid content of the leaves is 0.426%, which is mainly atropine. The seeds contain 0.426% alkaloids, which is mainly hyoscyamine. The roots contain 0.35% hyoscyamine.
  1. Key Action:
  2. Medicinal Uses:
  • In modern medicine, it is used in tincture iodine, to treat bronchial asthma: relieves spams of bronchial muscles and Parkinson’s diseases.
  • It is antimuscarinic, hypnotic, analgesic, gastrointestinal and urinary antispasmodiccauses bradycardia at very low doses and higher doses induce tachycardia.
  • Leaves: The burning leaf smoke of datura is good to treat asthma and bronchitis, to treat heart problems like palpitations and hypertension, vapor of datura leaves infusion is used to relieve arthritis such as rheumatism and gout, paste of roasted leaves is applied over the area to relieve pain, datura leaves juice is used to treat earache. Boils can also be overcome by applying datura leaves as poultice.
  • Externally, the jimson seeds are used in treating of fistulas and abscesses. The oil extract from the datura seed is used to treat baldness and stimulate growth of hair.
  • The seedsimmersed in water or milk can also increase circulation to the genitals, which increases fertility and the health of the sperm.
  • There is a decent amount of ascorbic acidfound in datura, and additionally, the high concentration of antioxidants contributes to the strength of the immune system. 
  • It stimulates the production of white blood cells and neutralized various free radicals throughout various systems of the body.
  • The ethanol extract from datura leaves are used as acaricidal, repellent and oviposition deterrent properties against mites, also used as repellent against larva and mosquito.

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