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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

594

MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE
CLEISTANTHUS COLLJNUS

This plant belongs to N.O. Euphorbiacese and grows on dry hills in various parts of
India    It ?s known as Karlajuri £ Pasu in Bengal and Bihar, as Karada m Onssa, as

Fig. 177.—Cleistanthus Collinus.

Garari in North India and as Oduvan in Madras. Naidu and his associates KT have
isolated a glucoside, called Oduvin, CaaHsiOia to which the plant owes its poisonous
properties. Oduvin is a yellowish-white crystalline substance, melting at 192° to 194° C.,
and dissolving freely in alcohol and chloroform, but only sparingly in water or ether.

Symptoms.—Nausea, violent vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dilated pupils,
cramps in the limbs, collapse and death.

Fatal Dose and Fatal Period.—A dose of 0.75 mg. of oduvin is sufficient to kill a frog,
weighing about 8 to 10 g., in a few minutes. About a pound of the leaves made into a
decoction would probably prove fatal to man in one to three days. Death may some-
times occur in a few hours.

Treatment—Wash out the stomach and treat the symptoms as they arise.

Post-mortem Appearances.—Fragments of the leaves may be found in the stomach.
The gastro-intestinal tract may be congested. The other viscera may be congested.

Chemical Analysis.—The acid alcoholic extract after filtration and evaporation as in
the Stas-Otto process is taken up with warm water and filtered. The filtrate is rendered
alkaline by the addition of sodium carbonate and extracted with ether-chloroform mix-
ture. The ether-chloroform extract is evaporated to dryness. The residue contains
oduvin. When injected under the skin of a frog, the residue causes paralysis and death.
The residue also gives with concentrated sulphuric acid a blue colour turning mauve,
with concentrated nitric acid an evanescent green colour ultimately becoming brick red
and either with fuming nitric acid or with a mixture of equal volumes of concentrated
sulphuric and nitric acids an immediate bright vermilion colour.

The alkaline ether extract of the leaves is highly poisonous to frogs, and gives with
sulphuric acid a blue colour gradually changing to a permanganate tint,

Medico-Legal Points.—The finely divided root and leaves of the plant made into a
paste and mixed with straw are sometimes used for poisoning cattle, while the bark of
the plant is made into a paste and is used as a fish poison and its leaves are made into
a decoction and are used occasionally for procuring criminal abortion and for suicidal
and homicidal purposes. In his annual report for the year 1950, the Chemical Examiner,
Bengal, cites the case of a girl, aged 15 years, who committed suicide by taking the bark
of this plant.

57.   Jour, and Proceedings of the Institution of Chemists (India). Vol. XVI, June 1944,
p. 59.