Belladonna is well – known for the centuries. In ancient Rome Belladonna was used as poison. In the Middle Ages Belladonna was applied as an anesthetic for operations. In modern Italian language, the name of the herb sounds like a "pretty woman".
Today, the plant is wide – spread in Western Asia, Europе, Northern Africa, cultivated in some parts of Northern America. Belladonna can be found into the forests and into the bushes up to 1600 m above the sea level. The herb prefers shady and humid places for its growing.
In Latin language the medicinal plant is named as ‘’Atropa belladonna’’. It is also known as "a mad’" and "an old herb’". The old one belongs to the herbaceous department "Carnivores’", class ‘’Dicotyledonous’’. It is a perennial grassy plant. Its root is fleshy, branched, outside gray-yellow, and white inside. The stem is thick, upright, branched in the upper part, green or violet, up to two meters high. The lower leaves are single, the upper two - one large, the other small - which has been modified stipule. All leaves are dark green, oblong elliptical, pointed, endless, up to 20 cm wide, up to 10 cm wide, with short handle. The flowers bent, all with a short handle. The color cup has five slots. The petal is brown - violet, with slightly sloping portions and has the shape of a jar. It is 2 to 3 cm long and 10 to 18 mm wide. The ovary is superior. The flowering period is June to September. The fruit is shiny, large, red - violet juicy strawberry with lots of seeds. Its diameter is 15-20 mm.
The leaves and the roots of the plant are used. Leaves are harvested during flowering from June to August. The picking itself should be done several times. First, the lower leaves, which are larger, then the upper ones are picked. Dry them immediately in the shade or in a drier at a temperature of up to 50 degrees Celsius. The dried leaves are dark green on top and lighter at the bottom and have a characteristic smell and bitter taste. Packed in bales. The roots take off in early autumn when the fruits ripen in September, and the plant must be between two and five years old. After washing and cleansing, the larger roots are chopped and dried in a shade or in a drier at a temperature of up to 50 degrees Celsius. The dried roots on the outside are yellowish-gray, and on the inside white, sweet, and later bitter taste and slightly odorous smell. Packed in hemp bags or bales. The permissible air humidity for drying is 13 percent for both roots and leaves.
The Belladonna herb contains ingredients such as:
- Alkaloids: atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine, belladinine, pyrroline, pyridine, etc .;
- Glycoside, Vitamin C, Cushgirin;
- Scopoletin, starch, sucrose, phytosterol, ferments.
The alkaloids of the belladonna plant possess spasmolytic properties, resulting in a pain-relieving effect in smooth muscle spasms. They suppress the secretion of the secretory glands and speed up the heart rhythm. Atropine and hyoscyamine have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. Skopoletin has a sedative effect. The herb is used to treat: diseases of the digestive system - stomach ulcer, gastritis, intestinal colic, increased acidity, respiratory problems - such as bronchitis, urogenital diseases - kidney stones, urinary tract irritation, bladder inflammation. In addition, belladonna is recommended for spastic constipation, epilepsy, chorea, sweating, neuralgia, eyebrows, relieves suffering caused by female’s critical age.
You can use the Belladonna herb as follows. 30 grams of belladonna roots are boiled for 10 minutes in 600 ml of white wine along with a coffee cup of animal coal. The mixture is then squeezed and one cup of coffee is taken three times a day before eating for three days. The following days the dose is increased to 4 teaspoons per day. After each intake, take one pill of nutmeg and occasionally chew chopped roots from acorn.
WARNING!!! BEFORE USING THIS HERB, CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR IN CLINIC!!! DO NOT EAT THE FRUITS OF THE PLANT!!!