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BELLADONNA HERBAL DESCRIPTION
Belladonna, Atropa Belladonna, is also known as Deadly Nightshade, Bladona, Devil's Cherries, Devil's herb, Divale, Dwale, Dwayberry, Great Morel, and Naughty Man's Cherries.
Belladonna is a poisonous plant with purple-reddish flowers and black berries that can be both fatal and a lifesaver. It is a perennial herbaceous plant with a strong narcotic smell and a sharp bitter taste. It can be found growing naturally throughout Western, Central and Southern Europe, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Northern Africa, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland. We grow it here in the US but it is not natural to our area. It often grows as a subshrub, from a fleshy rootstock. Plants grow to 4.9-feet tall with 7.1-inch long ovate leaves. The bell-shaped flowers are purple with green tinges and faintly scented. The fruits are berries, which are green ripening to a shiny black, and approximately 0.39-inch in diameter. The berries are sweet and are consumed by animals that disperse the seeds in their droppings, even though the seeds contain toxic alkaloids. There is a pale-yellow flowering form called Atropa belladonna var. lutea with pale-yellow fruit.
Atropa belladona is rarely used in gardens, but, when grown, it is usually for its large upright habit and showy berries. It is naturalized in parts of North America, where it is often found in shady, moist locations with limestone-rich soils. It is considered a weed species in parts of the world, where it colonizes areas with disturbed soils. Germination of the small seeds is often difficult, due to hard seed coats that cause seed dormancy. Germination takes several weeks under alternating temperature conditions, but can be sped up with the use of gibberellic acid. The seedlings need sterile soil to prevent damping off and resent root disturbance during transplanting. This plant is a sign of water nearby.
The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane alkaloids. These toxins include scopolamin and hyoscyamine, which cause a bizarre delirium and halluciations, and are also used as pharmaceutical anticholinergics. The drug atropine is derived from the plant. It contains atropine and scopolamine, which are sedatives that relax smooth muscle. The ripe, shiny berries are tempting to eat, but are fatal when eaten off the plant, and in fact, all parts of Belladonna are poisonous in the extreme.
It has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. Before the Middle Ages, it was used as an anesthetic for surgery; the ancient Romans used it as a poison (the wife of Emperor Augustus and the wife of Claudius both were rumored to have used it for murder); and, predating this, it was used to make poison-tipped arrows. The genus name Atropa comes from Atropos, one of the three Fates in Greek mythology, and the name "bella donna" is derived from Italian and means "beautiful woman" because the herb was used in eye-drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive.
BELLADONNA HERBAL& HOMEOPATHIC USES, HEALTH BENEFITS
Belladonna is a sedative, an anti-cholinergic, and has a spasmolytic effect on the gastrointestinal tract. It can be used to treat nervous congestion, to restrain the action of smooth muscles, and is helpful for treating kidney pains, diarrhea, peptic ulcers, and colitis. Ophthalmologists use the atropine in Belladonna to dilate the pupils. Western and Chinese herbalists use the leaves externally as a treatment and possible cure for cancer. This herb is also used to reduce tremors and rigidity and improve speech and mobility of those with Parkinsonís disease. It has also been used to relieve tension headaches.
The common name belladonna originates from its historic use by women - Bella Donna is Italian for beautiful lady. Drops prepared from the belladonna plant were used to dilate women's pupils, an effect considered to be attractive and seductive. Belladonna drops act as an antimuscarinic, blocking receptors in the muscles of the eye that constrict pupil size. Belladonna is currently rarely used cosmetically, as it carries the adverse effects of causing minor visual distortions, inability to focus on near objects, and increased heart rate. Prolonged usage was reputed to cause blindness.
Belladonna has been used in herbal medicine for centuries as a pain reliever, muscle relaxer, and anti-inflammatory, and to treat menstrual problems, peptic ulcer disease, histaminic reaction, and motion sickness. At least one 19th-century eclectic medicine journal explained how to prepare a belladonna tincture for direct administration to patients.
Belladonna tinctures, decoctions, and powders, as well as alkaloid salt mixtures, are still produced for pharmaceutical use, and these are often standardized at 1037 parts hyoscyamine to 194 parts atropine and 65 parts scopolamine. The alkaloids are compounded with phenobarbital and/or kaolin and pectin for use in various functional gastrointestinal disorders. The tincture, used for identical purposes, remains in most pharmacopeias, with a similar tincture of Datura stramonium having been in the US Pharmacopoeia at least until the late 1930s. The combination of belladonna and opium, in powder, tincture, or alkaloid form, is particularly useful by mouth or as a suppository for diarrhea and some forms of visceral pain; it can be made by a compounding pharmacist, and may be available as a manufactured fixed combination product in some countries (e.g., B&O Supprettes). A banana-flavored liquid (most common trade name: Donnagel PG) was available until 31 December 1992 in the United States.
Scopolamine is used as the hydrobromide salt for GI complaints and motion sickness, and to potentiate the analgesic and anxiolytic effects of opioid analgesics. It was formerly used in a painkiller called "twilight sleep" in childbirth.
Atropine sulphate is used as a mydriatic and cycloplegic for eye examinations. It is also used as an antidote to organophosphate and carbamate poisoning, and is loaded in an autoinjector for use in case of a nerve gas attack. Atropinization (administration of a sufficient dose to block nerve gas effects) results in 100 percent blockade of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, and atropine sulphate is the benchmark for measuring the power of anticholinergic drugs.
Hyoscyamine is used as the sulphate or hydrobromide for GI problems and Parkinson's disease. Its side-effect profile is intermediate to those of atropine and scopolamine, and can also be used to combat the toxic effects of organophosphates.
Scientific evidence to recommend the use of Atropa belladonna in its natural form for any condition is insufficient, although some of its components, in particular L-atropine, which was purified from belladonna in the 1830s, have accepted medical uses. Donnatal is a prescription pharmaceutical, approved in the United States by the FDA, that combines natural belladonna alkaloids in a specific, fixed ratio with phenobarbital to provide peripheral anticholinergic/antispasmodic action and mild sedation. According to its labeling, it is possibly effective for use as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (irritable colon, spastic colon, mucous colitis) and acute enterocolitis.
RECREATIONAL DRUG USE
Atropa belladonna and related plants, such as Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium), have occasionally been used as recreational drugs because of the vivid hallucinations and delirium they produce. However, these hallucinations are most commonly described as very unpleasant, and recreational use is considered extremely dangerous because of the high risk of unintentional fatal overdose. In addition, the central nervous system effects of atropine include memory disruption, which may lead to severe confusion.
The tropane alkaloids of Atropa belladonna were used as poisons, and early humans made poisonous arrows from the plant. In Ancient Rome, it was used as a poison by Agrippina the Younger, wife of Emperor Claudius on advice of Locusta, a lady specialized in poisons, and Livia, who is rumored to have used it to kill her husband Emperor Augustus.
Macbeth of Scotland, when he was still one of the lieutenants of King Duncan I of Scotland, used it during a truce to poison the troops of the invading Harold Harefoot, King of England, to the point that the English troops were unable to stand their ground and had to retreat to their ships.
In the past, witches were believed to use a mixture of belladonna, opium poppy and other plants, typically poisonous (such as monkshood and poison hemlock), in flying ointment, which they applied to help them fly to gatherings with other witches. Carlo Ginzburg and others have argued that flying ointments were preparations meant to encourage hallucinatory dreaming; a possible explanation for the inclusion of belladonna and opium poppy in flying ointments concerns the known antagonism between tropane alkaloids of belladonna (to be specific, scopolamine) and opiate alkaloids in the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum (to be specific, morphine), which produces a dream-like waking state. This antagonism was known in folk medicine, discussed in eclectic (botanical) medicine formularies, and posited as the explanation of how flying ointments might have actually worked in contemporary writing on witchcraft. The antagonism between opiates and tropanes is the original basis of the twilight sleep that was provided to Queen Victoria to deaden pain as well as consciousness during childbirth, and that was later modified, and so isolated alkaloids were used instead of plant materials. The belladonna herb was also notable for its unpredictable effects from toxicity.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINAL USE - HOMEOPATHY
a href="#belladonna">Belladonna preparations are used in homeopathy as alleged treatments for various conditions. In clinical use and in research trials, the most common preparation is diluted to the 30C level in homeopathic notation. This level of dilution does not contain any of the original plant, although preparations with lesser dilutions that statistically contain trace amounts of the plant are advertised for sale.
BELLADONNA HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES
Homepathic formulas and preparations of Belladonna are available to treat ailments and are safe to use for treatment purposes.
Key Attributes: Fevers, Inflammation
Formula: Belladonna - Fevers and inflammations.
General Indication: Fevers and inflammations.
Indepth Product Information: Belladonna acts upon every part of the nervous system, producing active congestion, furious excitement, perverted special senses, twitching, convulsions and pain. It has a marked action on the vascular system, skin and glands. Belladonna always is associated with hot, red skin, flushed face, glaring eyes, throbbing carotids, excited mental state, hyperaesthesia of all senses, delirium, restless sleep, convulsive movements, dryness of mouth and throat with aversion to water, neuralgic pains that come and go suddenly. (Oxytropis.) Heat, redness, throbbing and burning. Great children's remedy. Epileptic spasms followed by nausea and vomiting. Scarlett Fever and also prophylactic. Here use the thirtieth potency. Exophthalmic Goiter. Corresponds to the symptoms of "air-sickness" in aviators. Give as preventive. No thirst, anxiety of fear. Belladonna stands for violence of attack and suddenness of onset. Belladonna used for the extreme of thyroid toxemia.
The several points to be remembered about Belladonna are that it is a medicine which has great general sensitiveness and also sensitiveness of the special senses, sensitive to light, to slightest noise, to motion or jar as when some one touches the bed. This is one feature which renders Belladonna so appropriate in hydrophobia. It is a chilly medicine, sensitive to changes from warm to cold, to drought of air, to damp weather, to chilling from having the head uncovered, or having the hair cut, better from being wrapped up warmly in a room. Under this drug there is a remarkable quickness of sensation, or of motion, the eyes snap and move quickly. The pains come and go suddenly no matter how long they may last. They are in great variety, but throbbing, burning, and stabbing are very characteristic: "stabbing from one temple to the other." The great intensity and variety of the head pains has caused Belladonna to be regarded as the headache medicine par excellence. Congestion of blood to the head. Vertigo, mostly at night on turning over in bed, or when getting up in the morning, also when walking and on every change of position. Headache with flushed face and brilliant eyes, dilated pupils. Feeling in brain like swashing of water. Throbbing, pulsating headache, with beating arteries and violent palpitation of the heart. It has cured a very severe headache in a nervous man occurring whenever he was exposed to tobacco smoke. In the mental sphere are mania, rage, disposition to bite, scratch and tear things. Fantastic illusions when closing eyes. Dull and sleepy, half asleep and half awake. Spasms and twitchings are very marked. Many disorders of vision. Heat, redness and burning are three great characteristic notes of Belladonna, and are constantly cropping out in the pathogenesis. The face is purple, red, and hot, or yellow. Redness and pallor alternate. The mouth is exceedingly dry without thirst. Stinging in esophagus, worse swallowing or talking. Esophagus feels contracted. Sensation of a hand clutching intestines. Stool in lumps like chalk.
Homeopathic Laboratories: Belladonna Details Homeopathic Laboratories: Belladonna More Details
BELLADONNA DOSAGE INFORMATION
If using pure Belladonna, it is best to do so, only under the guidance of your health care provider. For other products with Belladonna as an ingredient, read and follow product label directions for use.
BELLADONNA SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTION INFORMATION
Belladonna herb is toxic. If pure Belladonna is eaten, induce vomiting immediately and call poison control. Exceeding the recommended doses can cause respiratory paralysis, coma, and death. Its use is recommended that Belladonna only be used with professional medical guidance. Not for use by young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease.
TOXICITY WARNING & POISONING SYMPTOMS
Flowers of belladonnaBelladonna is one of the most toxic plants found in the Eastern Hemisphere. All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids. The berries pose the greatest danger to children because they look attractive and have a somewhat sweet taste. The consumption of two to five berries by a human adult is probably lethal. The root of the plant is generally the most toxic part, though this can vary from one specimen to another. Ingestion of a single leaf of the plant can be fatal to an adult.
The active agents in belladonna, atropine, hyoscine (scopolamine), and hyoscyamine, have anticholinergic properties. The symptoms of belladonna poisoning include dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, severely dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions. In 2009, Atropa belladonna berries were mistaken for blueberries by an adult woman; the six berries she ate were documented to result in severe anticholinergic syndrome. The plant's deadly symptoms are caused by atropine's disruption of the parasympathetic nervous system's ability to regulate involuntary activities, such as sweating, breathing, and heart rate. The antidote for belladonna poisoning is physostigmine or pilocarpine, the same as for atropine.
Atropa belladonna is also toxic to many domestic animals, causing narcosis and paralysis. However, cattle and rabbits eat the plant seemingly without suffering harmful effects. In humans, its anticholinergic properties will cause the disruption of cognitive capacities, such as memory and learning.
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BELLADONNA HOMEOPATHICS PRODUCTS
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