Corkwood Tree

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Corkwood Tree

Botanical Name: Duboisia myoporoides
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
Synonym: Duboisia.
Part Used: Leaves.
Habitat: New South Wales and Queensland, Australia; New Caledonia.

Description: A tall glabrous shrub or small tree, flowers, axillary clusters, white with two-lipped calyx; corolla, funnel-shaped; limb, five parted; five stamens within the corolla (two long and two short); one rudimentary ovary, two many-ovalled compartments and fruit berry-like; leaves, inodorous and bitter taste. Another species, Duboisia Hoopwoodii, contains an acrid liquid alkaloid, Piturine, which is said to be identical with nicotine; it is largely used by the natives of Central Australia rather in the same way that the Indians use Coca leaves. It is obtained from the leaves and twigs, which are collected while the flowers are in bloom in August; the natives smoke and chew it for its stimulating effect, which enables them to work at high pressure without food.

Constituents: Alkaloidal sulphates, mainly hyoscyamine and hyoscine.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Sedative, hypnotic and mydriatic (of variable strength), which augments the activity of the respiratory system. Its alkaloid, Sulphate of Duboisia, is sometimes used as a substitute for atropine. The homoeopaths use the tincture and the alkaloid for paralysis and eye affections; a red spot interfering with vision is an indication for its use. It is antidoted by coffee and lemon-juice.