Hyoscyamus datora Forssk.
Hyoscyamus falezlez Coss.
Scopolia datora (Forssk.) Dunal
Scopolia mutica (L.) Dunal
Common Name: Egyptian Henbane
Egyptian henbane is a perennial herb or shrub growing up to 1.5 metres tall[
The plant is gathered from the wild and used locally in traditional medicine[
]. It is a rich source of alkaloids that are of interest to the pharmaceutical industry and, consequently, the plant is often gathered from the wild, and is also occasionally cultivated in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and India, for the extraction of the alkaloids[
]. The plant is often exported, particularly to Germany, for medicinal use[
The plant is reputed to be poisonous[
]. Fatalities on record involve eating dates poisoned with the plant and eating locusts that had eaten the plant[
The Tuareg people use the plant as a fish poison[
Sub-Saharan Africa - Mauritania to Sudan. Also in Saudi Arabia and the eastern Mediterranean.
Occurs in desert areas in rocky localities, wadis and plains[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the drier tropics and subtropics.
Spacing for optimal leaf production and alkaloid yield is about 45 cm between rows and 15 cm in the rows[
When grown for the alkaloids, the plant should be harvested about 3 weeks after the beginning of flowering when the first fruits are ripe[
]. After that time the alkaloid yield will drop, although the plant yield will still increase[
In Sudan the summer crop is harvested after about 145 days, the winter crop after 190 days[
Yields about 2 t/ha of dry plant material and 20 - 30 kg/ha of alkaloids have been obtained in Africa[
The seeds are roasted and used for the manufacture of an intoxicating drink[
Fresh leaves are applied as a poultice to relieve pain[
]. Dried leaves are smoked in cigarettes to treat asthma but also for their intoxicating effect[
The leaves have a high alkaloid content, with up to 5.2% of dry matter in individual plants. In smaller amounts, alkaloids are also present in the roots and stems[
The major alkaloid is hyoscyamine, but scopolamine, tigloidine and tropine are also present[
Scopolamine content is of interest to the pharmaceutical industry. In general the level of scopolamine is low in leaves, as low as 0.02%, but in the 'Cairo' strain, the scopolamine content of the leaves can exceed 4%[
Atropine (a racemic mixture of d- and l-hyoscyamine) and scopolamine are used in ophthalmology as an analgesic, and scopolamine is used to cure or prevent motion sickness[
These tropane alkaloids are classified as anticholinergics as they bind to acetylcholine receptors. In-vitro production of hyoscyamine and scopolamine is feasible but is not economical[
The seed oil contains considerable quantities of sterols (about 11.6 g/kg) and tocopherols (about 2.9 g/kg) and is thought to be of medicinal interest[
Seed. Direct sowing is recommended. Germination has been reported as erratic and troublesome, but treatment of the seeds with concentrated sulphuric acid for 75 seconds, fluctuating temperatures between day and night and the use of kinetin (60 mg/l) all promote germination[
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