Medical Herbs Catalogue

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Botanical Name: Calotropis procera (R. BR.) and gigantea
Family: N.O. Asclepiadaceae

Synonyms: Mudar Yercum.
Parts Used: Bark, root-bark.
Habitat: Native of Hindustan, but widely naturalized in the East and West Indies and Ceylon.

Description: The dried root freed from its outer cork layer and called Mudar. It occurs in commerce in short quilled pieces about 1/5 to 1/10 of an inch thick and not over 1 1/2 inch wide. Deeply furrowed and reticulated, colour greyish buff, easily separated from periderm. Fracture short and mealy, taste bitter, nauseous, acrid; it has a peculiar smell and is mucilaginous; official in India and the Colonial addendum for the preparation of a tincture.

Constituents: A yellow bitter resin; a black acid resin; Madaralbum, a crystalline colourless substance; Madarfluavil, an ambercoloured viscid substance; and caoutchouc, and a peculiar principle which gelatinizes on being heated, called Mudarine. Lewin found a neutral principle, Calatropin, a very active poison of the digitalis type. In India the author's husband experimented with it for paper-making, the inner bark yielding a fibre stronger than Russian hemp. The acrid juice hardens into a substance like gutta-percha. It has long been used in India for abortive and suicidal purposes. Mudar root-bark is very largely used there as a treatment for elephantiasis and leprosy, and is efficacious in cases of chronic eczema, also for diarrhoea and dysentery.

Preparations: Tincture of Calatropis, 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Powder, 3 to 12 grains.

Antidotes: As an antidote to poisoning atropine may be administered. In severe cases the stomach pump may be used and chloral or chloroform administered. Amyl nitrite may also be useful.