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medicinal herbs : datura

Family : Solanaceae
Common name: datura, thorn apple, raving nightshade

Description: herbs, bush or small trees, sometimes decorative, but very poisonous. Large green leaves, large solitary trumpet-like flowers (from white to yellow to violet), fruit a thorny capsule containing many black seeds. Datura sp. have often an unpleasant smell. Datura are often annual in temperate climate and perennial in warm climate.

Parts used: all parts but more often the leaves

Constituents: all parts contain various concentration of tropanic alkaloids mainly hyoscyamine and scopolamine. atropine is a racemic of hyoscyamine

Actions: datura alkaloids are mostly parasympatholytic (competition with acetycholine)
main effects : tachycardia, small increase of blood pressure, spasmolytic(gastro-intestinal tract, urinary and biliary tract, bronchus), dryness of mucous membranes( mouth, skin, eye, digestive tract), dilatation of the pupil of the eye(mydriasis), sedative.
Scopolamine is less parasympatholytic than sedative ( more effect on nervous central system)
At a toxic level tropanic akaloids trigger hallucinations, delirium, mental confusion, coma and death

Main Indication
s:traditional hallucinogenic plant in shamanistic rites, ordeal(truth drug), rites of passage in different countries and culture.
Traditional medicine : anesthesic, antiasthma, sedative
Modern medicine : anesthesic along with morphine, antispasmodic, premedication before anesthesia.
Scopolamine : antidote to motion sickness (seasickness), sedative




medicinal herbs and plants

Family: Myrtaceae
Common name: Gum tree, fever tree, eucalypt

Description: Tall perennial tree from the Australasian area, found now in many sub tropical and temperate climate countries; typical exfoliating bark and aromatic leaves. Many other species: E.citriodora, E. fruticetorum, E. radiata, E. dives

Parts used: leaves (fresh or dry), gum or "kino"

Constituents: leaves : 0,5 to 3,5% of essential oil(60-80% eucalyptol=1-8 cineole), phenols, flavonol, wax. gum-kino (tanin)

Actions: leave infusion (antiseptic, anorexigenic, may be antidiabetic), essential oil(antiseptic, wound healing, expectorant)

Main indications: external use : antiseptic for cuts, burns, leucorrhea, repiraory infections (inhalation)
internal use : respiratory infections: sinus infection, bronchitis, common cold or flu with associated bronchitis, urinary infections

Contra indications: allergy to eucalytus, possible bronchospasm with essential oil

Drug: leaves(infusion), essential oil, purified eucalyptol(1-8 cineole)

Contraindications: all tropanic alkaloids included datura alkaloid are dangerous drugs.
intoxication lead to hallucinations, dementia, possible death.
Use of scopolamine to prevent motion sickness can provoke urine retention with an increase of the bladder pressure when exist a benign prostate hyperplasia

Drug: fresh leaves(external use), dry leaves (smoked), tincture, extracts, purified alkaloids (atropine, scopolamine)


herbal medicine: clove

Family: Myrtaceae
Common name: clove

Description: small evergreen tree reaching 5 to 12 meters, leaves with a strong smell when bruised, flowers in a corymb. It originates from Indonesia (Molluca archipelago), but is also cultivated now in Africa (Tanzania, Madagascar).
Flower buds or clove are hand-picked before opening and then dried.

Parts used: clove (flower bud), flower peduncle, leaves

Constituents: clove : 15 to 20% of essential oil(80-85% eugenol, 2-3% acetyleugenol, 10% caryophyllene), peduncle (5-6% essential oil), leaves(3-4% essential oil)

Actions: aromatic stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, anti-inflammatory (prostaglandin inhibitor, cox2(cyclooxygenase2) inhibitor, antiplatelet aggregation), parasidicidal (scabies)

Main Indications: culinary spice (poor digestion, flatulence), Indonesian kretek cigarette(tobacco 60%, clove 40%), antiseptic (mouth wash for mouth ulcer, gingivitis, tooth decay), urinary and digestive infections (cystitis, colitis), antiseptic and antalgic (pain killer) for sore throat and toothache

Contraindications: pregnant and lactating women, rare but possible side effects (pulmonary oedema or sudden lower airway closure(glottic spasm))

Drug: clove, clove essential oil, eugenol

Medicinal herbs
Copyright 2005 Jean-Michel Hurtel
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