Datura is known as a medicinal plant and plant hallucinogen all over the world. Datura has a very special place in Ayurveda since all parts of the plant namely leaves, flowers, seeds, roots, have been used for a wide range of medication such as treatment of leprosy, rabies, insanity, etc. The extract of Datura, however, is a potent poison and its indiscriminate use may lead to delirium and acute poisoning that may lead to death. The active constituents in Datura include scopolamine, atropine, hyoscyamine, withanolides (lactones) and other tropanes. Recently, withanolide compounds have shown significant antitumor, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, hepatoprotective, sedative, cytostatic and immunosuppressive activity. The present review includes phytochemical investigations and biological activities of various Datura species wherein several novel compounds have been isolated, characterized and screened for their biological activities.
Key words: Datura, chemical constituents, alkaloids, biological activities, therapeutic usage.
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