Thorn Apple Benefits, Plant Description, Types, Chemical Elements, Various Names, Medicinal Value, Possible Side Effects, Uses, Doses, Risk Factors and FAQ
What is Thorn Apple?
Thorn Apple is a deadly plant species rich in toxic ingredients. Despite its toxicity level, it can be a wonderful powerhouse of medicinal components with the right refinery process.
Leaves, fruits, flowers, stems or roots; all these parts of thorn apple have been occupying their own distinct place in traditional folk-stories and alternative medicine.
Health Benefits of Thorn Apple
Due to the powerful complicated properties of this plant it is often used to relieve asthma symptoms, reduce pain during surgery and bone development processes. Although it is a powerful narcotic plant, thorn apple has a lot of health benefits, these include reducing pain, treating fever, boosting heart function, improving fertility, inducement of sleep, ease of having children and boosting skin-hair health.
What does Thorn Apple look like?
Thorn Apple is a standing shrub and annual herb that usually grows to a height of 2-5 feet. The plant stinks and is naturally found growing in abandoned fields, crop lands and old food spaces, waste areas, nearby construction sites, deserted spaces, and even found in soil-wasted areas. The plant has full-green hollow stems and smooth standing oval leaves that are arranged together on it. Its flowers have a pleasant smell and are found in 3 different colors – yellow, red, purple or greenish white. They are usually large, bisexual and hypogynous. Its fruit tastes like bitter acid and is adorned with knobs, ovaries and short thorns. The seeds are enclosed and round inside the fruit, while the roots are brown, cyclonic and branched.
Where does the Thorn Apple found?
It is commonly found in tropical regions of India and temperate regions of the Himalayas and is found to grow wildly in fertile calcareous soils in North America, Mexico, North Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Bangladesh.
The following article lets you know about some important facts related to thorn apple and its possible health benefits.
Types of Thorn Apple
The plant itself is a genus consisting of 14-15 different species of plants which belong to the ‘Solanaceae’ family. Some of these are the most commonly used medicines:
- Datura Metel – This species of thorn apple is widely used for Ayurvedic and religious purposes. It is also used as a treatment for asthma, cough, cold and achy conditions.
- Datura Alba – It usually carries white flowers and grows naturally from Kashmir to Sikkim in the Himalayas.
- Datura Stramonium – Being a source of a hypnosis drug called stramonium, this species of Thorn Apple portrays powerful hypnotic and healing effects.
Medicinal Elements of Thorn Apple
Chemical compounds of thorn apple are as follows –
- Organic compounds
- Bioactive components –
- Vitamin C
- Malic Acids
Various Names of Thorn Apple
- English – Jamestown weed, Purple thorn-apple, Hell’s bell, Devil’s snare, Stinkweed, Jimsonweed, Mad apple, Moonflower, Stink wort, False castor-oil, Devil’s-apple, Stramonium jimson weed, Devil’s trumpet, Devil’s cucumber, Prickly burr, and Devil’s weed.
- Sanskrit – Dhuttura Kanaka or Kanakahvya in Sanskrit,
- Hindi – Sada Thorn Apple
- Telugu – Ummetta
- Tamil – Ummattangani
- Bengali – Dhattura
Health Benefits of Thorn Apple
- Respiratory Health
Thorn Apple is really effective as an alternative treatment for Asthma. Strong anti-inflammatory, anticipated and having antispasmodic properties, the entire plant has high importance in treating all types of respiratory problems including common colds, flu, whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis etc. Being natural expectorant, it helps to get rid of the accumulation of mucus inside the chest and nasal cavity and thus helps in breathing. With the right dose, this herb can strengthen lung muscles and improve its functions.
- Heart Health
Being a natural antioxidant and cardio-protective herb, it plays an important role in treating many heart diseases. It relaxes the heart system by calming the mind, which is extremely beneficial for patients suffering from arrhythmia and asthma. It is useful in strengthening heart muscles, lowering cholesterol levels in the blood and preventing lipid accumulation, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, heart blockage, heart attack, blood clotting, etc.
- Fertility and Delivery
Thorn Apple offers one-shot traditional remedies to increase libido and improve fertility in both men and women. It shows strong aphrodisiac properties that stimulate the reproductive hormone to increase libido.
It plays an important role in male masculinity and morale building. In women, it effectively reduces pain and soothes the body by relaxing the muscles of the uterus after a painful delivery.
- Immune System
The abundance of antioxidants and ascorbic acid present in Thorn Apple makes it a well known folk remedy to improve the immune system, fight microbes and protect the body from various infections. Thorn Apple also depicts the presence of strong anti-viral, anti-bacteria, and antifungal properties, which not only help in removing bacteria or germs from the body but also helps in curing injuries.
Also Read: Immune System of Human Body
Its anti-flatulent properties help in reducing the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, which treats bloating, gassy intestines, bloating, constipation, abdominal distension and cramp. It helps in reducing the production of high amounts of acid in the stomach and maintains proper digestion, assimilation, and nutrient absorption.
Also Read: 16 Natural Ways to Increase Your Metabolism
Thorn Apple has high importance in reducing stress by reducing the level of cortisol (which is a stress hormone). It is widely used to improve sleep quality and duration due to the healing effects of Thorn Apple.
- Aches and Inflammation
For the presence of severe pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects, Thorn Apple is widely used to provide relief in painful conditions such as arthritis, muscle cramp etc.
Full of strong anti-parasite and temperature-lowering effects, Thorn Apple fruits are effectively used in treating various types of fever. Traditionally, malaria is used against parasites. In addition to malaria, common colds, flu or influenza soften against fever.
- Good Skin
Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, thorn apple is used to treat oxidative free radical damage caused by sunlight, and hence treats various signs of aging such as wrinkles, fine lines, spots, dark circles etc. It is also very effective in reducing acne, pimples and hence protects a smooth and glowing skin.
- Improved Hair Quality
Thorn apple has high benefits in increasing blood circulation to the scalp and hair follicles, thereby enriching roots by bringing more nutrients through blood supply and helping in the growth of new hair.
In terms of daily use, thorn apple or any of its preparations help in increasing the production of prolactin and corticoids, which helps in breast milk production, thereby improving the quality of breastfeeding and breast milk.
- Urinal problems
Presence of antioxidants in thorn apple has extreme benefits in treating urolithiasis or kidney stones and other kidney disorders. It is even beneficial in treating urinary incontinence, painful micturition and other urinary infections.
- Oral Infection
The abundance of disinfectant properties in Thorn Apple powder or oil helps in removing breathing and bacteria from the mouth cavity and thus prevents swelling, bleeding and other oral problems.
Uses of Thorn Apple
Several therapeutic properties of thorn apple have made the whole plant, whether fresh or dry leaves, seeds, roots or fruits, effective in many traditional and alternative medicines.
Consuming thorn apple seeds in raw form can be extremely harmful and toxic. So before using them in any preparation, a series of purifying processes is required to increase the medicinal value of it by detoxifying the seeds from its harmful effects. So that its toxicity levels in the human body are reduced.
Dosage of Thorn Apple
The exact medical dose of thorn apple can vary from person to person depending on the age, body strength and effect on appetite, intensity and condition of the patient. For this, it is suggested to consult an Ayurvedic doctor to get the perfect doses for you.
Side Effects of Thorn Apple
Because of its toxic properties, it is suggested to consult an expert first before consuming or using it. In particular, thorn apple leaves and seeds have high concentrations of toxic alkalis such as daturien and albumin, in addition to mucilage and ash. These alkalis contain about 25% potassium nitrate. If the parts of the plant are eaten raw without purification, it can be extremely fatal.
Using excessive doses or impure thorn apple can cause the following health conditions:
- Hallucination and Addiction
- Dry face
- Muscle stiffness
- Allergic reactions
- Increased heart rate
- Increased intraocular pressure
In some long-term cases, it can be extremely deadly and eventually cause sedation, coma and even death.
Risk Factors of Thorn Apple
Thorn apple is considered extremely deadly and toxic for people with the following conditions:
- Increased heartbeat
- Patients with a pacemaker
- Improved intraocular pressure
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
The above article describes thorn apple, its various uses and health benefits along with the side effects. The information provided is only for knowledge/educational purposes and not intended to replace any medical treatment or expert’s advice. Remember, thorn apple can be deadly sometimes, thus consider professional help whenever you feel any harmful symptoms of it after consuming or using it externally. For proper diagnosis, please consult a specialist or your doctor.
Also Read: Thorn Apple Benefits (Assamese)
1) What if I eat an unpurified thorn apple?
A. All species of Thorn Apple are toxic and potentially psychoactive, especially their seeds and flowers, which can lead to respiratory depression, arrhythmia, fever, babble, illusion, anticholinergic syndrome, psychosis, and even internal intake.
2) Which part of Thorn Apple is toxic?
A. The entire plant, especially leaves and seeds, is toxic to the amount of tropane alkaloid.
3) Can Thorn Apple affect the brain?
A. Excessive consumption of Thorn Apple can be fatal; this can lead to fever in the 105-110 (40-43°c) range which is a range that can destroy brain cells, thus damaging the brain.
4) How long does the effect of Thorn Apple last?
A. Symptoms usually begin about 30 to 60 minutes after consuming the herb. These symptoms usually last for 24 to 48 hours, but in some cases are reported to last up to 2 weeks.
5) Is thorn apple addictive?
A. Thorn Apple can be considered as mildly addictive and there is a high chance of adverse side effects like psychosis. Thorn apple is reported to be much less addictive than other substances as most people who consume it do not want to repeat the experience.