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CALOTROPIS   GIGANTEA   AND   PROCERA                                   583

of assault, or is thrown over the body of an enemy out of revenge. Some
twigs imbued with marking-nut juice were thrown into the bed of a man,
and when his feet touched them, they produced severe vesication. The juice
of marking-nut was detected on the twigs.31 During his wife's absence a
man had been carrying on with a woman, but on his wife's return he stopped
visiting the woman. The woman was very much annoyed with the wife
of her lover and as a punishment for alienating his love, she poured some
juice of marking-nut mixed with oil on the private parts of the wife when
she was asleep and her husband was not at home. The woman was charged
with having voluntarily caused grievous hurt by means of a poison under
section 326, I.P.C.32

The bruised nut is sometimes applied locally to the os uteri for inducing
criminal abortion. It is also instilled into the eyes by malingerers to produce

Chemical Analysis.—The vesicating principle of marking-nut juice is
extracted from an organic mixture or stained cloth by the Stas-Otto process
upto the stage of the evaporation of the alcoholic extract. The alcoholic
residue is then taken up in hot water acidified with dilute sulphuric acid
and extracted with petroleum ether. After evaporation of the solvent to
dryness, the residue is identified by the following tests: —

1.    If a portion of the residue is dissolved in a little alcohol and a few
drops of an alcoholic solution of caustic potash are added, a bluish-green or
green colour develops.

2.    If another portion of the residue is dissolved in a little alcohol and
a few drops of basic lead acetate solution are added, a greenish-black preci-
pitate is produced.

3.    When a small portion of the residue is mixed with a drop or two of
olive oil, and a drop of the mixture is rubbed on the skin, it produces after
an interval of about one or two days a painful and irritating blister which
spreads over the surroundiiig area.

It must be remembered that the vesicating action of the active principle
of marking-nut juice is destroyed by caustic potash. If the petroleum ether
residue is mixed with cold caustic potash solution, allowed to stand over-
night, re-acidified with dilute hydrochloric acid and then re-extracted with
petroleum ether, the residue will not produce a blister, if applied to the skin.
This property is not found in other vesicating principles'.

4.   To find out whether a vesicle on the skin is produced by rnarking-
nut juice, remove the epidermis of the vesicle and extract it with absolute
alcohol, or apply lint soaked in absolute alcohol under gutta percha tissue
over the vesicle.   The alcoholic extract with a few drops of an alcoholic
solution of caustic potash assumes a bluish-green colour.


Calotropis gigantea has purple flowers, and grows wild in waste lands
throughout India. Calotropis procera has white flowers and grows generally
in deserts. Both these plants belong to N.O. Asclepiadacese, and closely
resemble each other in chemical and physiological actions. These plants
yield three active principles, usc7i*ari% calotoxin and calactin according to
Hesse, Reicheneder and Eysenbach33 and calotropin, calotoxin and uscharin
according to Chen, Bliss and Robbins.34

31.   Madras Chemical Examiner's Annual Report, 1924.

32.   Beng. Chem. Exam. Ann. Rep., 1937, p. 11.                        '                                 '

33.    Annalen, 1938; Ghosh and Bagchi, Organic and Toxicological  Chemistry. Ed. TV*
p. 537.                                                                                                            ,...,.*'

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