The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

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Belladonna

Scientific Names

Belladonna

  • Belladonna atropa L.
  • Atropa belladonna L.
  • A. belladonna acuminata
  • Solanaceae
  • Nightshade family

Common Names

  • Bladona
  • Deadly nightshade

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Parts Usually Used

Leaves and flowers
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Atropa belladonna is a poisonous plant with reddish flowers and shining black berries. Source of various alkaloids, including atropine and scopolamine. Belladonna (beautiful lady) is an anticholinergic. This attractive plant with its thick stems or branches and leaves is somewhat similar to the tobacco plant. However, its axillary flowers, dull brown to dark purple in color, indicate that it is neither tobacco plant or ground-cherry (Chinese lantern). The ripe, shiny black berries often entice children to pick and eat them, with fatal results. Plants can have good and bad characteristics, and this is the case with belladonna. It can kill people, but it is also a life saver.

The Garden Nightshade (Solanum nigrum L.), often thought of as the Deadly Nightshade, but should not be confused with Belladonna. The Solanum nigrum is the rarer of the many nightshade species.
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Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, diuretic, narcotic, sedative
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Biochemical Information

Various alkaloids, especially hyoscyamine and scopalamine
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Uses

Sedative, anticholinergic (an agent that blocks parasympathetic nerve impulses) and spasmolytic effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Treats nervous congestion, suppresses the action of smooth muscles, and is helpful for kidney pains, and colitis. It is used in ophthalmology to dilate the pupils of the eyes (Atropine).

The leaves applied externally are used as a treatment and possible cure for cancer by both Western herbalists and in Chinese folk medicine.
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How Sold

Belladonna in powder form from leaf and flowering top of Atropa belladonna Linne or A. belladonna acuminata. It is used generally in tincture form, though the dry extract in tablet form may be used.
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Warning

If eaten, vomiting should be induced immediately.

This herb is potentially fatal. Could cause death or other serious consequences. Its use is not recommended without professional medical guidance.
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Bibliography

Buy It! Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 15th Edition, F. A. Davis Company, 1915 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

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