Arka (Calotropis) – Static/ Plant Poison

 It is a shrub grows wild in the country side all over India.
These are two varieties : Calotropis gigantea (purple flowers) and
                                             Calotropis procera (white flowers). 
The Leaves and stem when incised or crushed yield a whitish, milky, acrid juice.
 
synonyms - Alarka, Akavana, Madar, Surya, Ravi, Ushara, Jahuka etc.
 
Active Principles -
a) Calotropin
b) Caltoxin
c) Uscharin
 
Signs and Symptoms 
1) In contact with skin, produces inflammation and vesication 
2) In contact with eyes, results in conjunctivitis
3) On Ingestion there is abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions and sometimes death.
4) Pupils may get dilated.
 
Fatal dose - Uncertain
 
Fatal Period - Is about 12 hrs.
 
Management/ Treatment 
 
i) According to Modern - 
A) Gastric lavage with warm water.
B) Administration of demulcents, stimulants.
C) Other drugs as indicated symptomatically.
 
ii) According to Ayurveda - 
The leaves of the Tamarind (चिञ्च पत्र)  should be churned in water and if application is rubbed over the body and the oral intake of the medicated water prepared with gairika subsides all the poisonous effects of Snuhi and Arka.
 
Postmortem appearance 
  • These includes dilated pupils, froth in the nostrils, stomatitis, and acute inflammation of alimentary tract. 
  • The stomach may show an acute ulcer or even perforation.
  • The Viscera including the brain and its meninges are congested.
Medico-legal Importance 
 
1) Elicit abortifacient (local application)
2) Malingerers' may use it to produce an artificial bruise or conjunctivitis.
3) Ingestion through therapeutic misuse may result in overdose.
4) Cattle poison.  

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