It is a legume with long, pinnate-leafleted leaves. The plant is best known for its seeds, which are used as beads and in percussion instruments, and which are toxic due to the presence ofAbrin. The plant is native to India and grows in tropical and subtropical areas of the world where it has been introduced. It has a tendency to become weedy and invasive where it has been introduced.
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Jewelry[ edit ] The seeds of Abrus precatorius are much valued in native jewelry for their bright coloration. Most beans are black and red, reminiscent of a ladybug , though other colors exist.
Jewelry-making with jequirity seeds is somewhat hazardous. There are persistent reports that the workers who pierce the seeds in order to thread them can suffer poisoning or even death from a pinprick, but there seems to be little evidence.
An online search found scientific papers referring to Abrus precatorius, but not one of them dealt with occupational poisoning. The Tamils use Abrus seeds of different colors. The red variety with black eye is the most common, but there are black, white and green varieties as well.
This is done by means of small spikes, called sui needles or sutari awls , which are prepared by soaking the awl in a thin paste of the water-soaked, pounded seeds, and then drying the weapon in the sun, after which it is oiled and sharpened upon stone, affixed in a handle, and then used to puncture the skin of the animal. An work by the District Superintendent of Police for British-occupied Bengal details the preparation and use of the sutari for the killing of cattle and in at least six murder cases.
First the outer shells of red or white seeds were cracked between stones, then the two cotyledons from within thirty or forty seeds were soaked in water for ten minutes.
These seeds were ground to a paste and rolled up into six sharp-ended one-inch cones, which were inserted into either end of three pieces of straw and "exposed to the moderate influence of the sun" to dry, whereupon they regained some of the original hardness of the seed. In this account, the sutaries were described as being these cones, entirely made up of the hardened seed paste.
The dried cones were checked for sharpness, and if need be, whetted with a brick and re-set. Finally, to prevent softening, they were waterproofed by "burying them for a night in some sort of animal grease.
The bull died after It is added that "any attempt to withdraw the sutari by pulling at the pieces sticking out, invariably breaks it, a portion being left in the wound.
The price of one of these killings was said to total The white variety is used to prepare oil that is claimed to be an aphrodisiac. This is done by boiling the seeds in milk and then drying them. Like with castor oil , the protein toxin is denatured when subjected to high temperatures rendering it innocuous.
In Java the roots are considered demulcent. The leaves, when mixed with honey, are applied to swellings, and in Jamaica are used as a substitute for tea. Under the name of "Jequirity" the seeds have recently been employed in cases of ophthalmia , a use to which they have long been put in India and Brazil.
It is sometimes used as an ingredient in Indian hair products. Laboratory study of extracts[ edit ] A variety of pharmacological effects have been observed in rodents, but have not been demonstrated clinically in humans, including: An ethanolic extract of Abrus precatorius was found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic potential in rodents. There is also evidence that this plant has significant economic value to the traditional Zulu people, due to the fact that it is a form of income for Zulu people that make and sell crafts that were made from the seeds of this plant.
Gunja – Abrus precatorius uses, purification, side effects
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Jewelry[ edit ] The seeds of Abrus precatorius are much valued in native jewelry for their bright coloration. Most beans are black and red, reminiscent of a ladybug , though other colors exist. Jewelry-making with jequirity seeds is somewhat hazardous. There are persistent reports that the workers who pierce the seeds in order to thread them can suffer poisoning or even death from a pinprick, but there seems to be little evidence. An online search found scientific papers referring to Abrus precatorius, but not one of them dealt with occupational poisoning.