Belladonna – Beautiful Dangerous Lady

Belladonna is one of those herbs you do not want to stock on your pantry shelf. While it does have some medicinal benefits, this is one herb that can be very dangerous and in some cases has proven to be fatal. Not only does it have some medicinal properties in it, but it also has a very interesting history. The nickname “deadly nightshade” is a good clue of its potency. The name itself means, “beautiful lady.” The name “beautiful lady,” was chosen because of how it was used in Italy. The belladonna berry juice was used historically in Italy to enlarge the pupils of women, giving them a deep, alluring, striking appearance. This was not a good idea of course, because belladonna can be poisonous.
Belladonna is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia Minor but is now grown quite often in the United States, Europe, and India. When the plant is in full bloom the plant is harvested and then dried for use.

The most important contribution from Belladonna is atropine which is an important agent that is useful in dilating the pupils of the eye. This has proven to be very beneficial. Even small doses of atropine can cause the heart rate to increase. Some cough syrups are known to contain atropine and are used for bronchitis and whooping cough. Further, it is used to soothe the stomach lining prior to an anesthetic being administered and also for peptic ulcers.

Belladonna goes by many different names but has been used for over 500 years. While growing in the wild, which belladonna commonly does, a slight dose can be fatal. In the earliest times when Belladonna was first used it was for cosmetic purposes. Women felt that if they used it to dilate their pupils that they would look more sexy and alluring. That is why the name Belladonna means “beautiful lady” in Italian. Yet, it is still used in many eye doctors’ offices across the country to this day.

Belladonna Beautiful Dangerous Lady

Belladonna also has other great benefits for purposes of what it is used for today as it has the ability to dry up bodily fluids such as breast milk, saliva, perspiration, and mucous. The alkaloids in Belladonna are used for many conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders such as colitis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, colic, diarrhea, and peptic ulcer. It also works for asthma, excessive sweating, excessive nighttime urination and incontinence, headaches and migraines, muscle pains and spasms, motion sickness, Parkinson’s disease, and biliary colic.

Quite often Belladonna is used as homeopathic remedies such as for the common cold, earaches, fever, menstrual cramps, sunstroke, toothaches, headaches, sore throats, and boils. How the patient ingests and how much they ingest is determined by a few various factors such as their symptoms, mood, and overall temperament. When Belladonna is administered for homeopathic use it is highly diluted because of levels of toxicity.

No one should ever use Belladonna as a self-help measure and it should only be taken under the care of a qualified doctor. The doses given of Belladonna are always in very low doses. When Belladonna is prescribed it is either added to sugar pellets or mixed with other types of drugs and is available by prescription only. So while it is clear that Belladonna is an extremely dangerous herb it is also very beneficial when used correctly.

The name “belladonna” means “beautiful lady,” and was chosen because of a risky practice in Italy. The belladonna berry juice was used historically in Italy to enlarge the pupils of women, giving them a striking appearance. This was not a good idea, because belladonna can be poisonous.

Over the past decade or so, the FDA has been cracking down on some homeopathic medicines, particularly, infant teething tablets and gels. Some of these products may contain high doses of belladonna. Some users have reported serious side effects such as seizures, breathing problems, tiredness, constipation, difficulty urinating, and.

Most medical practitioners regard belladonna as unsafe. One of the main use is as a sedative. Some users take it by mouth to help with bronchial spasms in asthma and whooping cough and as a cold and hay fever treatment. Some have also used it to treat Parkinson’s disease, colic, inflammatory bowel disease, motion sickness, and as a painkiller.

Belladonna is used in ointments that are applied to the skin for joint pain, pain along the sciatic nerve, and general nerve pain. Belladonna is also used in plasters (medicine-filled gauze applied to the skin) for mental disorders, inability to control muscle movements, excessive sweating, and asthma.

Recommended Reading: 

Healing Herbs of Paradise
The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants Revised

       

 

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