Gunja (Abrus precatorius Linn.) A precious toxic plant: A review
Nitu Banjare, SR Inchular and Yuvraj Kaushik
Visha means Poison are classified into three types viz. sthavara, jangham and kritrima.Sthavara visha are those which belong to group of poisonous plants, herbs, metals and minerals. Gunja is a plant poison that has mentioned in Ayurveda under the sthavara vanaspatic visha.According to modern it is an irritant organic vegetable poison belonging to family Leguminosae. The botanical name of Gunja is Abrusprecatorius Linn. All parts of the plant are toxic, but most toxic part is seed, which contain active principle abrin. While eating whole seeds no toxicity visible in body but when crushed seeds are chewed or swallowed toxic symptoms appears. After proper purification Gunja is used as an ingrident in many Ayurvedic formulations and apply in various diseases like shotha (oedema), kandu (itching), indralupta (alopecia), granthi (tumour), kustha (leprosy) etc. Roots, seeds and leaves are used in traditional folklore medicine. There are many pharmacological properties and activities shown by this plant. Beside the toxic impact of Gunja, it is well known drug with therapeutic uses in Indian system of medicine. The present review article of Gunja highlights its synonyms, vernicular name, properties, toxicity, management, therapeutic uses, autopsy features and medicolegal importance.