10 Indian Poisonous Plants With Medicinal Properties

Ayurvedic therapies and practices have been using poisonous plants for list of general wellness and have varied and evolved over the period of time. Here is the list of common Indian poisonous plants, one should avoid getting in touch raw but some of them are used in Ayurveda system of medicine.

Castor Oil Plant/Ricinus

Castor oil plant is the most common poisonous plant in India and also the source of castor oil having wide variety of uses. India is the largest producer of castor bean and oil has been used in cosmetic products as well as enhance hair conditioning.

Datura/Datura stramonium

Datura or devil’s trumpet has been used in traditional Ayurveda to relieve asthma but the plants contain dangerous levels of toxin that produces bizarre behavior.

Madar/Calotropis gigantea

The crown flower plant milk use as an Arrow Poison and also used to heal thorns puncture wounds in India. It is the favourite flower of the Lord Shiva along with Datura and Bael.

Kaner/Cascabela thevetia

Kaner is the most common bright yellow flower tree, found in various states of India and used for religious purposes. Cascabela thevetia is a poisonous plant and relative of Nerium oleander.

Rosary Pea/Abrus precatorius

Rosary pea flowering plant is famous for its beautiful red and black beans used as beads and in instruments, native jewelry and which are toxic.The seeds were also used to weigh gold in India called Ratti, also used in Ayurveda and known as Gunchi in Hindi.

Bitter Apple/Citrullus colocynthis

Bitter Apple or colocynth is known as Indrayan in Hindi and used in traditional medicine and closely related watermelon. Indrayan is toxic but safe dosage can be used to treat constipation, intestinal worm.

Kantakari/Solanum xanthocarpum

Kantakari also known as Indian night shade is a medicinal plant used mostly in India but some part like leaves and fruits are poisonous and the fruit and flowers are used for the treatment of fever, cough, asthma and chest pain.

Asthma Weed/Euphorbia hirta

Asthma plant is native to India and used in traditional herbal medicine of Ayurveda. The milky juice is poisonous or mild toxic and easily found around the open grasslands, roadsides and pathways in India.


Cassava is a edible tuberous root and third largest source of carbohydrates, also known as tapioca after rice and maize. The plant is widely cultivated in South India but has toxic factors like cycad sago that also produce starch similar to sabudana.

Cerbera odollam

The jungle mango or sea mango tree also known as suicide tree which is native to India and the compounds used in some medications. Kattu arali or Othalam local names are used for this tree and this highly toxic tree, fruit and seed can kill human.

List of common Indian Poisonous and Medicinal Plants also include Parthenium, Plumeria, Gorakhmundi/Sphaeranthus indicus, Beggar Tick/Bidens frondosa, Patharchatta/Bryophyllum pinnatum and Satyanashi/Argemone mexicana.

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