Madar Poisoning

Madar ( AAK, AKDO)

Common Name: Calotropis, AAK, Akdo


  • Madar is organic irritant plant poison.
  • Madar grows in the wild almost everywhere in India.
  • There are two varieties viz. Calotropis gigantia which has purple flower and Calotropis procera which has white flowers.
  • It contains number of active principles which vary with terrain and climate. Some of the principles are highly poisonous.
  • The plant grows wildly with thick green oblong leaves.
  • The stem or leaves, when break or incised, yields thick, acrid, milky juice and bitter in taste.
  • When heated or allowed in to stand, it forms a white clot leaving a clear straw- coloured serum.
  • The serum contains an active principle gigantin which is highly toxic while the clot contains a less poisonous.
  • All the parts of this plant are toxic

Active Principles

  • Uscharin
  • Calotoxin
  • Calactin
  • Calotropin


  • All the parts of the plant are used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, the flowers as digestive stimulants, the leavesas external poultice, the powdered root as an emetic and milky juice as a vesicant depilatory.
  • It is used for treatment of chronic skin conditions.
  • It is used to cause abortions.
  • The juice is used by tanners for removing hair from and for deodourising them.
  • Snake charmers sometimes keep the roots of the plant to control poisonous snakes which do not like its smell.

Fatal Dose

The fatal dose is uncertain.

Fatal Period

The fatal period is about 12 hours.


● Madar leaves, flowers, juice and roots are used for criminal purpose. They are given orally or introduced through the vagina or rectum.

● They are also used to poison cattle. A rag smeared with madar juice is placed in the rectum of the animals.

● Excessive doses are preparations prove fatal. The various parts of the plant have also been used for homicidal and suicidal purposes.

Sign and Symptoms

  • When the juice is applied externally, the skin becomes red and vesicates.
  • When instilled into the eyes, it produces fulminating conjunctivitis which may result in permanent impairment of vision.
  • There is acrid bitter taste.
  • When taken internally, it acts as gastrointestinal and cerebrospinal poison.
  • Burning pain in the throat and stomach.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Salivation
  • Restlessness
  • Breathing problem.
  • Tetanic convulsions
  • Collape
  • Death
  • When powdered madar root is used as snuff, death causes immediately.


  • Gastric lavage
  • Demulcents
  • Supportive measures
  • Diazepam/lorazepam for convulsions.
  • Dermal or ocular exposure: Wash the affected area with water.
  • Other supportive drugs.

Postmortem Appearance

  • Inflammation of food tract and stomach wall.
  • Blood may be discharged from the mouth and nostrils.
  • Congestion in stomach, intestines, brain and its meanings.
  • Dilated pupils
  • Froth at the nostrils.
  • Stomatitis.
  • The stomach may show an acute ulcer or perforation.
  • Vesication
  • Redness at the site of contact.

Medicolegal Aspects

  • Madar juice has been used-
  • Sometimes for infanticide by mixing it with milk or water.
  • By ingestion and by local application on an abortion stick to procure abortion.
  • As a cattle poison by introducing a smeared cloth in the rectum of an animal or mixing it with fodder.
  • To produce artificial bruises
  • Rearely for suicide or homicide.
  • The roots of calotropis procera are highly poisonous to cobra and other poisonous snakes. Snake charmers use it to control the newly caught snakes which can not even stand its smell.
  • The use of this plant as an arrow poison is known.

Detection and Forensic Examination

The extract is identified by-

  • Characteristics smell.
  • Colour test.
  • Biological test- Injection of purified extract in a frog causes convulsions.

Toxicological Materials

  • Vomitus
  • Purges
  • Faeces
  • Stomach contents
  • intestines


  1. Dr. K.S. Narayan Reddy. The essential of forensic medicine and toxicology.34th edition.
  2. VV Pillay.Modern medical toxicology.4th edition.
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