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Datura metel Linn. is a well known and frequently used herbal drug in Ayurveda. Seeds of D. metel are poisonous and according to Ayurvedic literature, they should be used in medicines after appropriate shodhan (purification or detoxification procedures). The present study evaluates various physicochemical parameters and HPLC analysis with special reference to hyoscine and atropine content for D. metel seeds (DMS), ashodhit (before shodhan) and shodhit (after shodhan) samples, as well as for shodhan reagent (cow urine). DMS, ashodhit as well as shodhit, were further evaluated for acute oral toxicity in mice and for cardiotoxicity in the isolated heart preparation of frog. The percentage of water soluble extractives, alcohol soluble extractives, and total alkaloids were found reduced in the shodhit DMS. HPLC analysis also showed the depletion of toxic alkaloids like atropine and hyoscine in the shodhit DMS as compared to ashodhit DMS. Shodhit DMS showed no toxicity on isolated heart preparation of frog as compared to ashodhit DMS. Thus, the present study reflects the importance of shodhan methods for the toxic drugs by means of which reduction of toxic constituents is achieved as advocated by Ayurveda.
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