Wednesday, June 7, 2017




To curse someone, Kashmiris would say:-
“Tse lagun datur “
“ Let Datura take its toll on you “
“ Sakh ajiz onanus . Paen Chhum Dalaan yeli ti zaanh bronhkaen Peyum.Amiss loga datur “
“ He has incapacitated me. I get confused when he comes in front of me. Let Datura take its toll on him. “
In Kashmir, we have seen this plant growing near dampness or under shady places. Quite often it grows close to filth and drains. It was detested in Kashmir on account of its foul smell.
This green plant that spread its branches and leaves gives a white coloured flower and this flower too has a foul smell. The thorny green fruit of this tree gives black seeds which are also toxic.
In olden days, the Datura fruit and seeds were put to maximum usage as medicine by Hakeems of Kashmir.
Datura seeds, flowers and leaves are all highly toxic. The Datura plant contains atropine, stramonium, scopolamine and hyoscyamine. These have a marked effect on the central nervous system and a little excess dose could prove fatal. 
Hakeems and Vaids used its seeds and oil for many diseases in highly measured quantity as the difference between medical dose and the toxic dose was always extremely small. Hakeems in Kashmir recommended the oil extracted from Datura seeds to treat hair fall and dandruff ( Kuff in Kashmiri ) and the juice from Datura leaves and branches for treatment of asthma. They also prescribed paste of roasted Datura leaves to treat pain. Datura was also used as an antidote in Kashmir since centuries especially to treat snake and scorpion bites.
During the holy Amaranth Ji Yatra, I am told that a sect of Sadhus would consume a small quantity of crushed Datura seeds powder mixed with some eatable. By this, they would slip into recreational delirium. And for sure a little quantity taken extra could prove fatal. 
Atropine derived from this plant is used in eye drops for dilation of pupils. The plant is hated on account of so many negative side effects of Datura juice or oil. For this reason, it is also known as Devil’s weed.
Datura is also associated with Lord Shiva ( Rudra ). Thorn fruit of Datura plant finds mention in Susruta Samhita, as a favourite of Lord Shiva. Datura flowers and fruits are accordingly offered to Lord Shiva by Hindus.
(Avtar Mota )

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