Stramonii Folia et Semina. The dried leaves and ripe seeds of Datura Stramonium. Thorn Apple. Nat. Ord. Solanaceae. Linn. Syst. Pentandria Monogynia. Hab. England and various parts of Europe. Closely-allied species are found in the East Indies, Burmah, North America, &c.
Med. Prop. and, Action. Anodyne and anti-spasmodic. Active principle, an alkaloid, Daturia or Daturina (C34H23NO6). The properties of Daturia resemble those of Atropia. Daturia and Atropia are probably identical (Garrod). In large or long-continued doses Stramonium causes dilatation of the pupil (an effect which is also perceived if the extract be applied to the eyebrow, temples, &c.), great disturbance of the cerebral functions, delirium, coma, and death. It will often act as a narcotic and anodyne where Opium or Belladonna fail. The best form for internal use is the Extract; it is advisable to commence with a small dose (gr. 1/4), and gradually to increase the quantity until it produces some obvious effect. It may also be smoked in a pipe, and the fumes inhaled; for this purpose gr. x. - gr. xxx. of the leaves is sufficient, but it should be used with great caution, and immediately discontinued if it cause vertigo, dryness of the throat, dilatation of the pupils, &c. Externally, the leaves, either in the form of fomentation or cataplasm, are a valuable anodyne. Caustic fixed alkalies, as Soda and Potash, have been shown by Dr. Garrod to destroy its narcotic powers: hence they should not be prescribed together.
* Clin. Lect., vol. ii. p. 248.
Brit. For. Med. Rev., Oct. 183S, and April 1846.
Offic. Prep. Of the Seeds: -
j.; Proof Spirit q. s. Prepared by percolation and evaporation). Dose, gr. 1/4 - gr. iss.
iiss.; Proof Spirit Oj. Prepared by maceration and percolation). Dose, x. - xxx.
Dose of the powdered leaves, gr. j. - gr. iij.
In Spasmodic Asthma, smoking the dried leaves and stems of the Datura has been highly recommended; indeed, Dr. Copland* regards it as the best remedy that can be employed. In many instances, it certainly affords great and immediate relief; whilst in others, it produces no sensible alleviation. The experience of the patient is the sole test of its utility. Dr. Hope considers that it acts by increasing the bronchial and salivary secretions, but more especially by its sedative and anti-spasmodic effects, tranquillizing the nervous system, resolving the bronchial spasm, and allaying the sensation of want of breath. From gr. x. to gr. xxx. of the dried leaves is sufficient at a time; it may be repeated three or four times daily, if necessary, but it should not be persevered in if it produce vertigo, nausea, &c. Serious, and even fatal results have followed its incautious use. It may also be given internally, in the form of extract.