Stramonium. U. S. (Br.) Stramonium. Stramon. [Jamestown Weed, Jimson Weed]

Related entry: Datura

"The dried leaves of Datura Stramonium Linné, or of Datura Tatula Linné (Fam. Solanaceae), without the presence or admixture of more than 10 per cent. of stems or other foreign matter, and yielding not less than 0.25 per cent. of the total alkaloids of Stramonium." U. S. "Stramonium Leaves are the dried leaves of Datura Stramonium, Linn." Br.

Stramonii Folia, Br., U. S. 1890—Stramonium Leaves; Herba Stramonii; Thornapple Leaves; Thorn, Devil's or Mad Apple, Apple of Peru, Stink-weed, Jamestown (Jimson) Lily, Devil's Trumpet, Derotry; Stramoine ou Pomme-epineuse, Fr. Cod.; Feuilles de Stramoine, Fr.; Folia, Stramonii, P. G.; Stechapfelblätter, G.; Stramonio, It.; Estramonio (Hojade), Sp.

The thornapple (Datura Stramonium) is an annual plant, of rank and vigorous growth, usually about three feet high, but in a rich soil attains a height of six feet or more. The root is large, whitish, and furnished with numerous rootlets. The stem is erect, round, smooth, somewhat shining, simple below, dichotomous above, with numerous spreading branches. The leaves are petiolate, five or six inches long, of an ovate-triangular form, irregularly sinuated and toothed at the edges, unequal at the base, dark green on the upper surface, and pale beneath. The flowers are large, axillary, solitary, and peduncled, having a tubular, pentangular, five-toothed calyx, and a funnel-shaped corolla with a long tube, and a wavy plaited border, terminating in five acuminate teeth. The upper portion of the calyx falls with the deciduous parts of the flower, leaving its base, which becomes reflexed and remains attached to the fruit. This is a large, fleshy, roundish-ovate, four-valved, four-locular capsule, thickly covered with sharp spines, and containing numerous seeds, attached to a longitudinal placenta in the center of each locule. It opens at the summit. There are two varieties of this species of Datura, one with a green stem and white flowers, the other with a dark reddish stem minutely dotted with green, and purplish flowers striped with deep purple on the inside. The latter is now considered as a distinct species, being the D. Tatula of Linnaeus. The properties of both are the same.

It is doubtful to what country this plant originally belonged. Many European botanists refer it to North America, while we in return trace it to the old continent. Nuttall considers it as having originated in South America or Asia, and it is probable that its native country is to be found in some part of the East. It is said to grow wild, abundantly in Southern Russia, from the borders of the Black Sea eastward to Siberia. Its seeds, being retentive of life, are taken in the earth put on shipboard for ballast from one country to another, not infrequently springing up upon the passage, and thus propagating the plant in all regions which have any commercial connection. In the United States it is found everywhere in the vicinity of cultivation frequenting dung heaps, the road sides and commons, and other places where a rank soil is created by the deposited refuse of towns and villages. Its flowers appear from May to July or August, according to the latitude. Where the plant grows abundantly, its vicinity may be detected by the rank odor which it diffuses to some distance around. Notwithstanding the abundance of the plant, it is being cultivated in order to obtain a drug which shall be of uniform quality. The Bureau of Plant Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture, has conducted experiments on a large scale. Several hundred pounds of leaf were grown, cured by artificial heat in a tobacco barn, and marketed at a price in advance of the highest quoted figure. Mitlacher has reported his observations on the cultivation of stramonium in Zeit. Oest. Apoth., 1, p. 391. Miller has conducted comparative experiments on D. Stramonium and D. Tatula. (A. J. P., lxxiv, p. 446.)

All parts of it are medicinal. The leaves, seeds, and root were formerly recognized by the U. S. P., the leaves and seed in the U. S. P., 1890, but in the U. S. P. VIII and IX the seeds were not included and the leaves alone are official under the title Stramonium. The leaves may be gathered at any time from the appearance of the flowers till the autumnal frost. In this country the plant is generally known by the name of Jamestown (vulgo, Jimson) weed, derived probably from its having been first observed in the neighborhood of that old settlement in Virginia. In India Datura alba, D. ferox, and D. fatuosa are employed as poisons. The last has been admitted to the Br. (See Daturae Folia.) Under the names of Man t'o lo fa, Wan t'o lo hua, and Nau yeung fa, the Chinese use as a medicine the flowers of the Datura alba; according to Frank Browne, they contain 0.485 per cent. of hyoscine, free from other alkaloids. El Bethene, a Datura of the Sahara Desert, is capable of causing delirium, coma, and death, and it is probable that all the species of the genus are poisonous. A. R. L. Dohme (Proc. A. Ph. A., 1894, 231) examined stramonium to determine the value in alkaloid of the various parts of the plant; he found that, in general, the fresh parts yielded more than the dried parts; the stems contained the most alkaloid, the seeds next, then the leaves, and the roots the least of all.

The fresh leaves when bruised emit a fetid narcotic odor, which they lose upon drying. Their taste is bitter and nauseous. These properties, together with their medicinal virtues, are imparted to water and alcohol. Water distilled from them, though possessed of their odor in a slight degree, is destitute of their active properties. They contain, according to Promnitz, 0.58 per cent. of gum, 0.6 of extractive, 0.64 of green starch, 0.15 of albumen, 0.12 of resin, 0.23 of saline matters, 5.15 of lignin, and 91.25 of water. The leaves, if carefully dried, retain their bitter taste. They are officially described as "usually much wrinkled and either loose or more or less matted together; laminas when entire from 2 to 30 cm. in length, having petioles from 0.5 to 8 cm. in length; inequilaterally ovate, summits acute or acuminate, bases unequal, one side extending from 3 to 12 mm. below the other, margins sinuate, toothed or angled, the teeth being few, acute or acuminate and with rounded sinuses; frequently with numerous circular perforations which may have become filled with cork; upper surfaces dark green, sparsely hairy, especially upon the veins, lower surfaces light green; odor distinct, heavy and narcotic; taste unpleasant, nauseous. Stems cylindrical, usually flattened, attaining a length of 30 cm. and a diameter of 7 mm.; longitudinally wrinkled, occasionally with 1 or more deep furrows, light greenish-brown to purplish-brown. The powder is brownish-green; upon clearing the fragments with hydrated chloral T.S. and examining under the microscope, it shows numerous elliptical stomata, about 0.025 mm. in length, and surrounded usually with 3 neighboring cells; cells of the mesophyll containing numerous small chloroplastids; calcium oxalate either in rosette aggregates, from 0.01 to 0.02 mm. in diameter, or in rod-like crystals, or in the form of sphenoidal micro-crystals; non-glandular hairs few, characteristic, 2- to 4-celled, attaining a length of 0.5 mm., the basal cell about 0.04 mm. in width, some of the cells more or less collapsed, the outer walls with numerous, slight, centrifugal projections; glandular hairs few, with 1-to 2-celled stalks and usually 2- to 4-celled, glandular heads; tracheae annular or spiral, fragments of the tracheal wall frequently detached. Stem fragments show large annular or spiral tracheae which occasionally are thickened, with simple or bordered pores and associated with wood parenchyma; fragments with long, narrow unequally thickened collenchymatous cells; parenchyma with sphenoidal micro-crystals; wood-fibers occasional; bast-fibers absent. Stramonium yields not more than 20 per cent. of ash." U. S.

J. S. Ward has found commercial stramonium leaves freely adulterated with those of Carthamus helenioides and Xanthium Strumarium. (P. J., lxvi, 326.) For a paper on the structure of the leaves of D. Stramonium, Atropa Belladonna, and Hyoscyamus niger by Schlotterbeck and van Zwaluwenburg, see Proc. A. Ph. A., 1897, 202. Holm has published an illustrated article on the morphology of stramonium. (M. R., xxii, p. 162.) Rosenthaler has subjected the leaves of stramonium to pyro-analysis and obtained a distinctive and characteristic sublimate. (B. P. G., xxi, p. 530.)

The following are some of the more common synonyms used to designate stramonium seeds: Stramonii Semina, Stramonium Seed, Semen Stramonii, P. G.; Semences (Graines) de Stramoine, Fr.; Stechapfelsamen, G., which were formerly official. The seeds are small, kidney-shaped, pitted and wrinkled, flattened on the sides, of a dark-brown almost black color, inodorous unless bruised, and of the bitter, nauseous taste of the leaves, with some degree of acrimony. The testa is dull brownish-black, hard, and encloses a cylindrical curved embryo, which is embedded in a whitish oily albumen. They are much more energetic in their action on the system than are the leaves. Hirtz and Hopp inferred from their experiments that one part of an extract prepared from them was equal in strength to five parts of an extract prepared in precisely the same manner from the leaves. (Ann. Ther., 1862, p. 22.)

Geiger and Hesse succeeded in isolating an alkaloid, to which the name daturine was given, and which Trommsdorff has repeatedly procured by their process. Von Planta (A. J. P., 23, p. 38) found that daturine was identical with atropine, and this result has since been confirmed; but Ladenburg (Ber. d. Chem. Ges., 13, p. 909) found that Datura Stramonium contains two alkaloids, which he designated as heavy daturine and light daturine.

The more difficultly soluble heavy daturine fuses at 113.5° to 114° C. (236.3 °-237.2° F.), and must be considered as a mixture of atropine and hyoscyamine. It yields a gold salt fusing between 135° and 150° C. (275° and 302° F.), out of which, by crystallization repeated six times and by rejection each time of the mother liquor, is obtained hyoscyamine gold-chloride fusing at 158° to 160° C. (316.4°-320° F.). From the mother liquors by evaporation is obtained nearly pure atropine gold chloride fusing at,135° to 140° C. (275°-284° F.). If the heavy daturine be repeatedly crystallized out of dilute alcohol, pure atropine can be isolated from it, fusing at 113.5° to 114.5° C. (236.3°-238.1° F.), and yielding a lusterless gold salt fusing at 135° to 139° C. (275°-282.2° F.). The light daturine is the alkaloid which Ladenburg and Meyer in a previous study had shown to be identical with hyoscyamine. Hence Datura Stramonium contains the two alkaloids atropine, C17H23O3N, and hyoscyamine, isomeric with the other, which Atropa Belladonna also contains. (A. J. P., 1884, 440.) The mother liquors from which hyoscyamine is obtained yield a difficultly crystallizable base, first called hyoscine, but now known as scopolamine. Its gold salt is more difficultly soluble than the gold salts of atropine and hyoscyamine, and affords a means of separation. The base, when purified, can be crystallized out of ether in colorless crystals, melting at 59° C. (138.20 F.). Its formula is C17H21O4N, and it is decomposed by boiling with baryta water into scopolin, C8H13NO2, and atropic acid, C9H8O2. (Schmidt, Pharm. Chemie, 3te Auf., ii, 1339.)

Gerard (see J. P. C., 1892, 8) studied daturic acid obtained from stramonium seed. D. Holde has, by means of benzene, extracted from stramonium seed 16.7 per cent. of a fixed oil. (P. J., lxx, p. 90.) This has been examined by J. M. Baird and F. E. Sleeper, see Proc. A. Ph. A., 1903, 324.

Uses.—Stramonium is so similar to belladonna in the symptoms produced by it in small or large doses, in its toxicity and its general physiological and therapeutic action, that the two drugs are practically identical. Furthermore, they are about the same strength in activity, so the preparations may be used in similar doses. Stramonium has been employed in all the conditions for which belladonna is more commonly used, but has acquired special repute in the treatment of asthma, this probably being due to the fact that the practice of smoking Datura ferox in that disease was introduced into Great Britain from the East Indies by General Gent, and that afterwards the English species was substituted for that employed in Hindostan. Formerly the roots were chiefly used, but at present the dried leaves are exclusively employed. The beneficial effect is doubtless due to the presence of atropine which paralyzes the endings of the pulmonary branch of the vagus, thus relieving the bronchial spasm, for Gunther (W. K. W., 1911, p. 748) has shown that the smoke from a stramonium cigarette containing 1.25 Gm. of stramonium leaves contains as much as 0.5 Mgm. of atropine. The leaves may be made up into cigarettes or smoked in a pipe, either with or without a mixture of tobacco; more commonly, however, the coarsely ground leaves are mixed with equal parts of potassium nitrate, in order to increase combustion, and burned in a saucer.

Death is said to have been produced by the free use of the India Datura ferox, but it seems hardly possible that the species which is found in North America would produce such a result.

The seeds are more powerful than the leaves. The seeds were once officially recognized, but the presence of a large amount of fixed oil made it difficult to extract them or to make stable preparations from them and the leaves have taken their place. They may be given in the dose of one-half to one grain (0.032-0.065 Gm.) twice a day; an extract made by evaporating the decoction, in one-quarter or one-half the quantity. The inspissated juice of the fresh leaves was formerly very commonly prescribed; but the alcoholic extract is now almost exclusively used, the dose being half a grain (0.032 Gm.). (See Extractum Stramonii.)

Dose, of the leaves, one to three grains (0.065-0.2 Gm.).

Off. Prep.—Extractum Stramonii (Pilular and Powdered), U. S.; Tinctura Stramonii, U. S., Br.; Unguentum Stramonii (from Pilular Extract), U. S.; Fluidextractum Stramonii, N. F.

The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.