Gunja (गुन्जा) - ABRUS PRECATORIOUS
Family : Leguminosae
It is a slender, twining vine with compound leaves having 10-15 pairs of narrow leaflets. Seed pod is small and splits open when ripe revealing 4 to 6 seeds which are less than 1cm in size and are bright red in colour with a black spot on one side.
Synonyms - रत्ती, रक्ता, रक्तिका, शीतपाकी, ताम्रिक, अरुणा, चूडामणि, कृष्णाला etc.
Active Principles -
1) Abrin (toxabumen)
2) Abrine (amino acid)
3) Abralin (glucoside)
4) Abric acid
Signs and Symptoms -
1) Mainly take the form of a severe gastroenteritis which may become hemorrhagic.
2) If an extract of the poison is injected there will be local inflammation with cardiovascular manifestations which may lead to death.
Fatal Dose - 1 or 2 doses or 90 to 120 mg of abrin
Fatal Period - 24 to 72 hrs
2) Anti- abrin Inj. should be given
3) Supportive measures.
4) The urine should be maintained in alkaline pH.
Post-mortem appearance -
1) Congestion of gastro-intestinal tract and other viscera.
2) If injected, local signs of inflammation are seen.
Medico-legal Importance -
1) Most of the cases arise out of accidental ingestion of the attractive seeds by children. Seeds must be crushed or chewed for harmful effects to occur.
2) A few homicidal cases are reported by injecting with needles
3) Cattle Poisoning- This is the primary use of poison. The seeds are taken out, powdered and made into a thin paste. To this is added Opium, Dhatura and onion. They are made into spikes of average 1 inch length, when dried in sun they are ready to use. These are pierced into skin of the animal. An intense cellutis develops and killing the animal within 24 hrs.