Thorn Apple 

A naturally occurring plant of ubiquitous nature, thorn apple is found in the American regions, France, Germany, and Hungary. This pant is not edible, however it has many medicinal purposes beyond oral consumption. The plant is also cultivated in some places for the therapeutic benefits derived from it. The plant has purple stems, irregular leaves, and white or purple-colored flowers in the shape of a trumpet. Thorn apples are walnut-shaped fruits with thorns all over them. When ripe, the fruits explode and release small black seeds that germinate, and the plants grow rapidly over a large area. The thorn apple plant owes its growth to its environment. It can be a leafy bush in moist soil and a thin plant in arid soil. Apple thorn plant is known for its toxicity if too much of the plant is consumed.

The seeds and the leaves of the plant are harvested. They are dried and then used for medicinal purposes. The fruit is not to be eaten and is considered poisonous if consumed. In fact, the fruit has a nickname of "vomit fruit."

When the plant has bloomed the seeds and leaves are ripe for the harvest. They should carefully removed and then dried. Even when completely dried the leaves retain a bitter taste.
The root of the plant cannot also be harvest and used in preparations.

While there are many medicinal uses for the plant, the plant is mostly used as a narcotic or as a pain reliever. One legitimate uses of the plant is to treat asthma. Since a powdery potion made from the leaves of the plant has a strong affect on the respiratory system, the utilization of the plant's properties can have a calming affect on asthma sufferers. The grinded powered made from the dried leaves of the plant can actually calm bronchial spasms.

The seeds of the plant, can be boiled in water and then cured in alcohol. Once this is done, the remaining extract can be made into a syrup or placed into pills. This potion is effective at treating excessive coughing and bronchial spasms.

Powered leaves can also be rolled into a cigarette or cigar and smoked. Alternately a pipe can be used. However please note, that smoking this concoction often leads to accidents and can have deadly consequences. Smoking thorn apple is not considered safe.

The ground leaves of the plant can also be prepared in a cream or an ointment. When applied, this ointment can provide relief from arthritis pain or other inflammatory pain in the body.

Nutritional Information and Properties  

Thorn apple is rich in alkaloids like hyoscine and hyoscyamine, glutamic acids, enzymes, organic acids like oxalic, malic, citric, fumaric, succinic, and lactic acids, ethereal oil, and mineral salts. Some of the alkaloids in thorn apple show similar characteristics to those in another poisonous herb called night shade, which decreases secretions in the body and loosens up soft muscle tissues. The leaves and seeds of thorn apple show anti-asthmatic, anti-malarial, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Though the herb has benefits, an overdose or wrong dosage can have multiple side effects. The herb is toxic if ingested in large amounts. Dryness of throat, itching, and difficulty in breathing can all be indicative of an overdose of thorn apple. In such situations, it is best to approach a certified doctor as soon as possible. Furthermore, owing to its toxic nature, thorn apple should be administered only in right doses by a certified medical practitioner.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

The health benefits and therapeutic uses of thorn apple can be witnessed when the herb is consumed in minimal and adequate doses. Some of these are as follows.

  • The raw leaves of thorn apple are believed to help in healing of open wounds on the body that have become infected. It does so by facilitating the removal of the pus.
  • In the old days, the seeds of thorn apple were rubbed on to the skin of people suffering from aches and rheumatism.
  • The hyoscyamine content in thorn apple is believed to have a calming effect on the nervous system, and it is hence used to soothe and calm people with emotional and psychological disorders.
  • The plant is also cut up and burnt to release fumes that are considered to relieve spasmodic asthma attacks in certain individuals.
  • When locally applied on the skin, thorn apple is believed to relieve inflammations, muscular pains, and pain caused by hemorrhoids, fistulas, and so on.

Other Uses

  • The herb was once used to create hallucinations in people and especially, by thieves and robbers to disorient their victims for a period of time.
  • Thorn apple is often likened to poisonous nightshade and belladonna for its hallucinogenic and narcotic effects.
  • Thorn apple leaves can exude an odor that results in dilated pupils of the people who have come in contact with it.
Though it can be cited for a number of medicinal uses, the thorn apple plant is no longer used for therapeutic purposes. In fact, its strong and repulsive odor, which emanates from its leaves, even keeps cattle away from it. Any use of the herb should be strictly under the supervision of a certified physician.