Datura metel L

Last updated: 13 March 2015

Scientific Name

Datura metel L.


Brugmansia waymanii Paxton, Datura aegyptiaca Vis., Datura alba Rumph. ex Nees, Datura alba F.Muell., Datura bojeri Delile, Datura chlorantha Hook., Datura cornucopia Pitcher & Manda, Datura dubia Rich., Datura dubia Bianca ex Tod., Datura fastuosa L., Datura fruticosa Hornem., Datura humilis Desf., Datura hummatu Bernh., Datura laevis Schkuhr, Datura muricata Link, Datura nanakii Pandeya&A.B.Bhatt, Datura nigra Hassk., Datura nilhummatu Dunal, Datura timoriensis Zipp. ex Span., Datura waymanii (Paxton) Steud [1].

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Kecubong, kechubong, kechubong puteh, kechubong hitam, terung pungak [2]
English Downy thorn apple, metel thorn apple, devil’s trumpet, prickly burr, thorn apple, downy datura, hindudatura, hindu thorn-apple, hoary thorn-apple, horn-of-plenty , purple thorn-apple [2] [3]
China Yang jinhua [3]
India Dhustura (Sanskrit); kala-dhatura, krishmadhastura [4] [5] [6] [7]
Brunei Kecupong [2]
Indonesia Kecubung (General); kucubung (Sundanese); kacubung (Javanese); torumabo (Nias); kecubong, kecubu (Melayu); kacubueng (Minangkabau); kucubung (Sundanese); kacobhung, cobhung (Madurese); kecubung, kucubu (Manado); bulutuhe (Gorontalo); kacubong (Makasar); tampong-tampong (Buginese); kecubung, kecubung cenik (Balinese); bembe (Bima); ndondoak (Roti); babotek (Timor); toruapale (Seram); kucubu (Halmahera); kucubu, padura (Ternate) [2] [4] [5] [6] [7]
Philippines Talong-punay (Tagalog); kamkamaulau (Iloko); katchibong (Bisaya) [2]
Cambodia Slak [2]
Laos Makkheuaba [2]
Thailand Ma khueaba (Northern); lamphong (Central); liak (Khmer, Surin) [2]
Vietnam C[af] d[ooj]c d[uw] [owj]c, d[uw] [ow]ngkimhoa, m[aj]n d[af] la [2]
Nepal Kalodhatura, hakugududhale [4] [5] [6] [7]
France Stramoinemetel, concombrediable [2]
Portugal Burbiaca [3]
Spain Burladora [3]
Sweden Indiskspikklubba [3]


Geographical Distributions

Datura metel grow on waste land and river sand, especially in sunny positions in all tropical and subtropical regions. This plant originated from China but was cultivated and naturalised in the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, East Asia and India [2] [8].

Botanical Description

D. metel is a member of the Solanaceae family [5]. This plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, either dry or moist. D. metel can grow in very alkaline soil but is unable to grow in the shade [8]. It is an annual branching shrub that can grow up to 2 m high. The whole plant is distinctly purple and is pubescent [5]. It is an annual or short-lived perennial shrub-like herb up to 200 cm tall [2] [9].

The stem is short-haired to smooth and sometimes purple in colour [2] [9].

The leaves are egg-shaped to angular broad-ovate with rounded base, 4-25 cm x 2-20 cm, entire to repand-dentate-lobed and 15-30 cm long. The petiole is up to 16 cm long [2][5]. The leaf blade margin is entire and both surfaces pubescent [5]. The leaves are dark green [9].

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects [9]. The flowers are large with petals of (12-)14-18(-20) cm long, simple or double, and white or purplish in colour [2] [9]. The flowers are borne singly in the leaf axil. It is funnel-shaped, consists of 5 petals which measure 15-25 cm long, are fused at the entirety except at the top where it is spreading [5]. The foliage has a rank smell, but the large, trumpet-shaped flowers have a sweet fragrance that emits especially in the mornings and evenings [9].  

The fruit is rounded in the form of a spiny capsule measuring 2-5 cm in diametre, and covered with long prickles [5] [9]. The fruits dry and turn brown and deflexed at maturity. The fruit is dehiscent; releasing small kidney shaped dark brown seeds [2][5].


D. metel is often cultivated in gardens and yards (often with double and purplish petals), but also grows wild or naturalised (usually with simple and whitish petals). It is also locally abundant in waste places, roadsides, brushwood, open grassland, teak forest and on river banks, up to 1000 m altitude [2].

Chemical Constituent

The whole plant of D. metel contains scopolamine (hyoscine) and atropine which increased gradually with the progress of developmental growth, and are most pronounced when the plant is at the end of its reproductive stage. The scopolamine accumulation is highest in the root after 16 weeks. The root contains higher amount of atropine compared to the other parts. The aerial parts usually accumulated relatively higher amounts of scopolamine and relatively lower amount of atropine as compared with the root of the plant [10].  The plant contains the alkaloids hyoscyamine, hyoscine and atropine. The total alkaloid content of the leaves is 0.426%, which is mainly atropine. The seeds contain 0.426% alkaloids, which is mainly hyoscyamine. The roots contain 0.35% hyoscyamine [8].

A colourless crystalline constituent, daturilin has been obtained from the acid-insoluble fraction of the alcoholic extract of D. metel leaves. This compound has been identified as l-oxo-21,24S-epoxy-(20S,22S-witha-2,5,25-trienolide [11].  Three withanolide compounds were discovered from the leaves of D. metel. These compounds were recognised as withametelin C, D, and E [12].  Previous studies showed that the cultured callus of D. metel contained cholesterol and 5α-pregnane3β,20β-diol. It also demonstrated the presence of C28 sterol 3β,24ξ-dihydroxy-ergosta-5,25-dienolide and the withanolide 12-deoxywithastramonolide in in vitro propagated shoots of D. metel [13].  The three new withanolide (22-hydroxyergostan-26-oic acid  -lactone) compounds named baimantuoluoline A, B, and C and the two known withanolideswithafastuosin E and withametelin C were isolated from the fraction exhibiting activity for psoriasis from the flower of D. metel. The three new structures were determined as (5 ,6 ,7 ,12 ,15 ,22R)-6,7-epoxy-5,12,15-trihydroxy-1-oxowitha-2,24-dienolide (baimantuoluoline A), (5 ,6 ,15 ,22R)- 5,6,15,21-tetrahydroxy-1-oxowith-24-enolide (baimantuoluoline B), and (5 ,6 ,12 ,22R)-5,6,12,21-tetrahydroxy-27-methoxy-1-oxowitha-2,24-dienolide(baimantuoluoline C)  [14][15].

A pyrrole derivative, which was isolated from the chloroform extract of D. metel leaves was characterised as 2'-(3,4-dimethyl-2,5-dihydro-1Hpyrrol-2-yl)-1'-methylethyl pentanoate [16].  The three new withanolide glycosides named daturametelins H, I, J, were isolated from the methanolic extract of the aerial parts of D. metel. This methanolic extract also contains other compound such as daturataturin A and 7,27-dihydroxy-1-oxowitha-2,5,24-trienolide [17].

About ten new withanolides namely withametelins I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, 12β-hydroxy-1,10-seco-withametelin B and 1,10-seco-withametelin B, together with seven known withanolides were isolated from methanol extract of the flowers of D. metel. The structures of these 10 new withanolides compounds were elucidated by means of spectroscopic methods, and the absolute stereochemistry of withametelins I was confirmed by single-crystal X-ray analysis [18]

Plant Part Used

Aerial parts, leaves, seeds, flowers

Traditional Use

The whole plant, but especially the leaves and seed, have been used as hallucinogenic, muscle spasm suppressant, cough suppressant, painkiller, a hypnotic and to treat certain conditions of respiratory and eye problems [19] [20] [21]. It has a wide range of applications in India, including in the treatment of brain disorder, hysteria, insanity, heart diseases, fever with phlegm,diarrhoea and skin diseases [20] [37].

A poultice of the crushed leaves is used to relieve pain [38]. In China, the plant is used in the treatment of asthma [3]. Notably the leaves are also frequently used as a remedy for protractile cough [6].

About 3 g to 5 g of the flower extract can be used as an anaesthetic through oral consumption which produces general anaesthesia within 5 minutes and lasted for about 5 to 6 hours [21]. In Vietnam, the dried flowers and leaves are cut into small chips and used as cigarettes to treat asthma [38]. The flowers of the D. metel are also used in the treatment of pain and chronic bronchitis [36] [39].

Preclinical Data


Antifungal activity

The hexane, chloroform, acetone and methanolic fractions of the powdered aerial parts of D. metel were investigated for their antifungal activity using pathogenic species of Aspergillus. In this study, the chloroform fraction was found to have antifungal activity compared to the other fractions. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the chloroform fraction of D. metel was 625.0 µg/mL against all the three species of Aspergillus, i.e. A. fumigatus, A. flavus and A. niger, using the microbroth dilution and percent spore germination inhibition assays. The MIC by disc diffusion assay was found to be 12.5 µg/disc. These results showed that the chloroform fraction of D. metel, was 9.2 times less active than amphotericin B (a standard drug for aspergillosis treatment). Such an observation was expected because of the used of crude extract in this study. Although the chloroform fraction of D. metel was less potent against aspergillosis compared to amphotericin B, its in vitrotoxicity as studied by MTT assay using monocyte-macrophage mouse RAW cells was 117.8 times less toxic compared to the toxicity of amphotericin B. Based on these results, constituents in the chloroform fraction of D. metel showed potential for development into better drugs against pathogenic fungi [22].

In another study, the methanolic extracts of D. metel also possessed antifungal properties against pathogenic Aspergillus fumigatusA. flavus and A. niger. The extract was solubilised in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and diluted with water to make final concentration as per requirement. The in vitro MICs of D. metel against A. fumigatusA. flavus and A. niger by disc diffusion, microbroth dilution and percent spore germination inhibition assays were 0.062 mg/disc, 1.250 mg/mL and 1.250 mg/mL, respectively. Based on the results, methanolic extract of D. metel has significant antifungal activity towards pathogenic Aspergilli [23].

The phytochemical investigation on the chloroform extract of D. metel leaves led to the isolation of a new pyrrole derivative, which was characterized as 2'-(3,4-dimethyl-2,5-dihydro-1Hpyrrol-2-yl)-1'-methylethyl pentanoate. This compound was found to be active against all the species tested; C. albicans, C. tropicalis, A. fumigatus, A. flavus and A. niger. The MIC of the compound against the various fungal species by microbroth dilution assay ranged from 21.87 to 43.75 µg/mL. Since the compound showed 90% of growth inhibitions (MIC90) it can be explored further to develop new antimycotic drugs [16].

The post-antifungal effect (PAFE) of the antifungal compound 2-(3,4-dimethyl-2,5-dihydro-1Hpyrrol-2-yl)-1-methylethyl pentanoate (DHP) on A. fumigatus was investigated. A. fumigatus is a ubiquitous pathogen that causes a variety of diseases, especially in immunocompromised patients, such as in cancer patients, the recipients of bone marrow transplant, solid-organ transplant recipients and HIV-infected patients. The conidia of A. fumigatus were exposed to DHP at concentrations of 1x and 4x MIC90 for variable times at 37 °C, and compared to Amphotericin B (AmB). The analysis of PAFEs showed that DHP treatment increases the lag phase of fungi.The SDS-PAGE profiles showed that DHP treatment inhibited the expression of three A. fumigatus secretory proteins of 18, 42 and 55 kDa. The proteins inhibited by DHP treatment may represent important targets within the pathogen as well as crucial factors involved in the pathogenesis of A. fumigatus. One protein of 42 kDa was found to be a metalloprotease, which is an important virulence factor that is able to degrade collagen in human lungs. The other proteins could not be sequenced due to interference from their high level of glycosylation. Analysis of time-dependent antigenic profiles showed the early expression of high-molecular-mass antigens. High-molecular-mass antigens were first expressed within a time frame of 10 h in the cultures. The lower-molecular-mass antigens were expressed subsequently after 24 hours. However, the 18 kDa antigen which was expressed along the high-molecular-mass antigens were observed to be inhibited after treatment with DHP. Although the mechanism whereby DHP inhibit these proteins is unknown, the observations may provide valuable information in understanding the role of therapeutics in the virulence of the pathogen, as well as the antigen-mediated responses caused by A. fumigatus [24].

Hypoglycaemic activity

The dried seeds of D. metel that undergo milled process to a fine powder (D. metel seeds powder) were investigated for hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic activities in normal and diabetic Wistar albino rats. Normal rats were given the D. metel seed powder (suspended in 1 % sodium CMC) in the form of mucilage at doses of 25, 50 and 75 mg/kg body weight. Diabetic rat with blood glucose levels above 300 mg/dL were given the D. metel seed powder at doses of 25, 50 and 75 mg/kg body weight, orally. The standard antidiabetic drug used was gliclazide (0.56 mg/kg,p.o.). The blood samples were collected at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 24 h after drug administration. A dose-dependent hypoglycemia was observed in animals treated with D. metel seed powder. A significant reduction in blood glucose of 22.35, 31.89 and 34.26 % was seen at 8h with doses of 25, 50 and 5 mg/kg body weight, respectively.  The dose dependent antihyperglycemic activity was also observed with D. metel in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. The percentage reduction of blood glucose was higher in the diabetic state compared to the normal state by all the three doses of D. metel where a significant reduction in blood glucose of 49.22, 64.07, and 68.14 % was observed at 8 h with the doses of 25, 50 and 75 mg/kg body weight, respectively. Gliclazide produced significant (59.9 %) reduction in blood glucose compared to the diabetic control at the 8 h. These results showed that seed powder of D. metel possessed blood glucose lowering effect in normoglycemic and in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic rats. Thus, the folk usage of the seeds of D. metel for controlling diabetes may be validated by this study and the seeds offer promise for the development of potent phytomedicine for diabetes [25].

Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity

D. metel leave which are traditionally used for the treatment of gout and related symptoms by the indigenous people of India. The leaves were assayed for the in vitro xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity. The methanolic extracts of D. metel leaves showed more than 50 % xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity at 100 µg/mL concentration with an IC50 value of 6.75 µg/mL as comparable to the standard antigout drug, allopurinol. The methanolic extract was also screened for in vivo hypouricaemic activity against potassium oxonate-induced hyperuricaemia in mice, but it did not show significant activity compared to the methanolic extract of Coccinia grandis and Vitex negundo [26]

Bioactive lipids and radical scavenging potential activity

The fatty acids and fat-soluble bioactive of the D. metel seeds were analyse using gas-liquid chromatography (GLC) and normal-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The amount of n-hexane extract was found to be between 5.50% and 12.6%. The amount of total lipid in D. metel seeds was 55 g/kg in weight.  The major fatty acid was linoleic acid followed by oleic, palmitic and stearic acids. The crude n-hexane extract was characterized by a relatively high amount of phytosterols, wherein the sterol markers were stigmasterol, β-sitosterol, lanosterol, ∆5-avenasterol and sitostanol. In this extract, γ-tocopherol was the major component present accounting for more than 80% of total tocopherols detected. The total phytosterols (TL) content was recorded at a higher level in D. innoxia (1.67% of TL) followed by D. metel (1.34% of TL). When different extracts were compared for their radical scavenging activity (RSA) toward the stable 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, D. metel was able to quench only 40 % of DPPH radical, which was low compared to other Datura species. D.metel seeds contain a considerable amount of oil and maybe a good source of essential fatty acids and lipid-soluble bioactives. The presence of tocopherols and sterols may have medicinal importance for human being [27].

Antiproliferative activity

Five compounds isolated from the methanolic extract of D. metel aerial parts were tested for their antiproliferative activity towards the human colorectal carcinoma (HCT-116) cell line at 72 h of exposure. The compounds were described as withanolide glycosides (daturametelins H, I, J) and known withanolide(daturataturin A and 7,27-dihydroxy-1-oxowitha-2,5,24-trienolide). Only the nonglycosidic compound (7,27-dihydroxy-1-oxowitha-2,5,24-trienolide) exhibited the highest antiproliferative  activity in HCT-116 cells, with an IC50 value of 3.2±0.2 µM [17].


Cytotoxicity activity

10 withanolides (withametelins I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, 12β-hydroxy-1,10-seco-withametelin B and 1,10-seco-withametelin B) were isolated from the methanolic extract of D. metel flowers. The cytotoxicity activity of these compounds were performed using MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assay. Compunds I, K, L, and N have exhibited cytotoxic activities against A549 (lung), BGC-823 (gastric), and K562 (leukemia) cancer cell lines, with IC50 values ranging from 0.05 to 3.5 µM. Compound J showed moderate cytotoxic activity against BGC-823 and K562 but less cytotoxicity against A549 [18].

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


No documentation

Side effects

Acute confusion occurs one hour after drinking a D. metel herbal decoction for nasal congestion. Dilated pupils were noted on admission. The clinical diagnosis was anticholinergic poisoning due to ingestion 10 times of the recommended dose [28].

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation

Interaction with drug

No documentation

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation


No documentation

Case Report

No documentation


No documentation


Toxic part

The whole plant especially the fruit and seeds [5] [29] [32].


D. metel contains tropane alkaloids (belladonna alkaloids) like atropine and hyoscine which are its poisonous elements. The most commonly found alkaloids include atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine. These have anticholinergic effects [6] [29] [31] [32] [35].

Risk Management

D. metel is commonly grown as garden ornamentals for their fragrant white trumpet-shaped flowers. However, in certain parts of the world it can be found growing in the wild. This plant should never be considered to be used in home landscaping. The leaves possess a strong odour which is a deterrent to it being eaten. The seeds when dispersed can cause poisoning to children and animals [31].

Clinical findings

Central nervous system symptoms include delirium with loss of sensibility and convulsions. There as essentially three stages of symptoms observed in Datura poisoning i.e. primary delirium, sopor or even coma and secondary delirium. In the primary delirium stage the victim may manifest extreme timidity or may be vociferous. The soporous stage sees the victim exhibiting loss of sensibility performing activities that would invoke laughter amongst those seeing him. Delirium can last up to ten hours in certain cases. The victim upon recovery does not usually remember the incident.

Ophthalmic symptoms and signs include dilated pupils for several days. This results in blurred vision. There are also dry mouth with dysphagia and dysphonia, tachycardia and urinary retention. The skin may be flushed and dry accompanied by hyperthermia.

In severe poisoning the victims feel cold, agitated and combative, develop urinary retention. They may develop convulsions, paralysis, coma, respiratory failure with subsequent circulatory collapse and death [29] [30] [32] [34] [35].


Anticholinergic alkaloid poisoning

Management would include intravenous rehydration with electrolyte correction and anti-emetics if vomiting is present. In severe cases of intoxication one can use the available antidote, physostigmine [5].

  1. Advance life support with continuous cardiac monitoring and intravenous access should be established as necessary.
  2. Activated charcoal should be considered but should not be repeated as there is the possibility of paralytic ileus developing subsequent to intoxication which can cause impaction or aspiration.
  3. Patients with mild psychomotor hyperactivity should be observed and provided with nonspecific sedation like benzodiazepines when necessary.
  4. Physostigmine is a specific antidote for anticholinergic intoxication. It is given in a dose of 1-2 mg as slow IV infusion over 2-5 minutes for adults. In children the does is 0.02 mg/kg, up to 0.5 mg. Doses can be repeated after 10-20 minutes if the anticholinergic effects persist or recur. Response is usually quick and remarkable, but recurrent toxicity is relatively common. The risk of cholinergic excess in overzealous treatment would be noticed should the patient developed bradycardia, bronchorrheaand bronchospasm and seizures. This can be reversed by atropine [29] [33].

Line drawing

 datura metel


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