CALOTROPIS (CALOTROPIS GIGANTEA AND CALOTROPIS PROCERA)

CALOTROPIS

Calotropis gigantea (Akand) with purple flower and Calotropis procera (Madar) with white flower, grow wild all over in India. Their toxicological effects are more or less same.

Active principles – Calotropin, calotoxin, gigantin and uscharin.

Fatal dose – Uncertain.

Fatal period – Within some hours.

CALOTROPIS Signs and symptoms – Juice from the plant’s leaves or stem causes irritation of the skin with occasional blister formation which excoriates later. When juice or part of the plant is taken by mouth then, there are bitter taste and burning pain in the mouth, throat, and abdomen, salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea. There are tetanic convulsion and dilated pupils. Collapse may cause death. Others develop stomatitis.

Treatment – Stomach wash, demulcent drinks and symptomatic.

Postmortem findings – Nothing specific ; signs of irritation of mouth and stomach. Organs are congested.

Medicolegal aspects – Suicidal and homicidal poisonings are rare. Accidental poisoning may occur from its quackary medicinal use or its use as a depilatory agent. It is used as a cattle poison. The juice is used in abortion stick as a local abortifacient agent. The juice is also used as an arrow poison. The juice is applied on the skin to produce chemical lesion to bring a false charge of assault on an enemy.