Friday, November 27, 2009

Poisonous Plants in SriLanka

There are many plants that use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in SriLanka.

Among those there many Herb plants which causes poisoning. Most of us ingest poisoning with out knowing that these are really harmfull. So, lets get to know what are they.

ENDARU (Ricinus communis)

Sinhala: Erandu, Thel Endaru, Beheth Endaru
Tamil: Amanakku
English: Castor oil plant

Asoft wooded small tree that grows indigenously in sri lanka. Castor beans are grey seeds with bright brown spots. Oils of this seed is used mainly for medicinal and illumination purposes.
Injestion of two to six seeds may be fatal; only if the seeds are thoroughly mashed and chewed.

HABARALA (Alocasia macrorrhza)

Sinhala: Habarala
Tamil: Saembu

Habarala is a perennial plant. It is a large herb with tuberous rootstock. Leaves are large and simple. This plant is belongs to Araceae family. It contains calcium oxalate crystals and un identified volatile compounds which are highly irritative or corrosive.
Habarala is traditionally use forfollowing.
- Acrid juice of the leaf gives instant relief to stings of the giant nettle
- Chopped leaves & roots used as an application on painful joints
- Cut stem + lime/water applied to dogs bites
- Dried stems for haemorrhoids & chronic fevers
- Crystals destroyed on boiling or roasting so starch in stem can be used as a foodsource

HONDALA (Adenia hondala)

Sinhala: Hondala
Tamil: Kondala

Hondala is a large perennial herb growing in the wet zone of Sri Lanka, which resembles common passion fruit plant. Toxicity would be fatal, is due to a cyanogic glycoside and a toxalbumin.

KANERU (Thevetia peruviyana/Nerium oleander)

Sinhala: Kaneru
Tamil: Alari
English: Oleander

These are two common plants grows in Sri Lanka. Yellow oleander is the is the commonest plant poison in Sri Lanka as young adults consume the fruits to commit suicide.

Yellow Oleander- Thevetia peruviyana has trumpet shaped yellow flowers. It’s green fruits are broadly triangular or ovate with araised ridge round the moddle.
Nerium oleander has pink, deep red or white flowers. All parts of the plant (leaves, flowers, trunk, stem) are poisonous.

KEPUNKIRIYA (Euphorbia hirta)

Sinhala: Kepunkeriya, Dadakeriya
Tamil: Amumpatchaiyariss
English: Catshair, Asthma weed

This is a herb with an erect stout stem 15-30cm long, covered with bristly hair. Fruit is a capsule about 1.2mm diameter, hairy, 3 lobed each splitting ventrally and dorsally. Seed is 0.8 mm long, avoid wrinkled reddish brown in colour.

NIYANGALA (Gloriosa superba)

Sinhala: Niyangala
Tamil: Ilankalli
English: Glory Lily

Niyangala is a plant found in low country of Sri Lanka. Tuber of this plant is used to treat bruises and sprains. A common suicidal poison in rural areas of Sri Lanka, before pesticides were early available. All parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the tubers, are extremely poisonous. Toxicity is mainly due to alkaloid colchicines.

OLINDA (Abrus precatorius)

Sinhala: Olinda
Tamil: Aththe
English: Jequirity

Olinda grows wild in dry regions of Sri Lanka at low elevations. Olinda seeds are scarlet in colour with a black patch around the hilus. They are extremely toxic. Half to one seed maybe sufficient to cause serious toxicity in children.
Traditionally use to cure itch, sores and wounds due to bites of dogs, cats and rats.Leaves are used for conjunctivitis, painful swellings; ground with lime for acne, boils, abscesses and tetanus. And seeds are for diabetes, Bright’s disease.

ELA-ATTANA (Datura metel)

Sinhala: Ela-attana
Tamil: Ayigam
English:Devil's trumpet, Downy thorn-apple, Black datura, Angel's trumpet

Shrub-like annual herb with large flowers, typically white or yellow with deep purple accents. Leaves are alternate and simple. All the parts of the plant are poisonous.

SADIKKA (Myristica fragrans)

Sinhala : Sadikka, Wasawasi (aril)
Tamil: Adipam, Attigam, Kasam, Sadi, Sadikkay
English: Nutmeg, Mace tree

A plant traditionally used as a spice in foods and as a traditional medicine for diarrhea.Toxic parts of the plant are seeds (nutmeg) and, to a lesser extent, the aril (mace)

DUMKOLA (Nicotiana tabacum)

Sinhala: Dum kola
Tamil: Phaielai

Traditionally use as an insecticide,to treat intestinal worms or constipation, dried tobacco leaves for chewing, snuffing or smoking. Toxic parts of the plant are leaves, stems, roots and flowers.Main toxic constituent is nicotine.

DIVIKADURU (Tabernaemantana dichotoma)

Sinhala: Divikaduru
Tamil: Nathiyawaddai
English: Eve’s Apple

Divikaduru is a small glabrous tree grows I warmer parts of Sri Lanka And moist low country.
Its seeds are surrounded by a coat of crimson pulp and they have purgative properties, narcotic and poisonous producing delirium

DIYA KADURU (Cerbera manghas)

Sinhala: Gonkaduru
Tamil: kada ma, Natchukkai

Diya kaduru is a large shrub growing near sea and marshy areas. The fruit is very much like a mango and consists of a fibrous pericap. The kernel of two fruits is sufficient to cause death.

GODA KADURU (Strychnos nux vomica)

Sinhala: Goda kaduru, Visha Kaduru
Tamil: Eddukkoddai
English: Bitter nut, Poison nut

This is a moderate sized or large tree with an erect trunk grows in dry forests of Ceylon, flowers in August. Roots are traditionally use to cure fever and bites of venomous snakes and for preparation of homeopathic medicine. Seeds are the most poisonous.