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Belladonna is also used in skin ointments for treating rheumatism or joint pain, nerve pain and sciatica. Belladonna is employed for curing hyperkinesis, which is a behavior disorder and hyperhydrosis or excess sweating. These derivatives are mixed with Phenobarbital and Ergotamine for the usage in medicines. Depending upon scientific evidence, the ‘Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database’ evaluates herbs as Effective, Possibly Effective, Likely Ineffective and Insufficient Evidence for Rating. Although marked as Insufficient Evidence for Rating,
Belladonna, or deadly nightshade is no longer used in herbal medicine. Its leaves, roots and black berries are dangerous. They contain a class of highly toxic chemicals called tropance alkaloids. They are found in other plants in the Solanaceae family, such as thornapple and jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), angel's trumpets (Brugmansia spp.), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), and European mandrake (Mandragora officinarum). A prominent feature of the tropane alkaloids is their ability to produce hallucinations and delirium, which may explain the hold these plants have on our imaginations and folklore
Belladonna is an enduring plant that grows perennially. The plant has a plump, white colored, chunky root. The leaves of the belladonna plant have a deep green, but dull hue and they grow up to three to ten inches in length and are generally not the same in their size.
The belladonna plant belongs to the Solanaceae family, which is known by different names, such as nightshade, atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade and devil's cherry. Owing to the presence of alkaloid atropine, the belladonna plant is considered to be extremely noxious. In effect, the root of the plant encloses the maximum toxic intensity.
Belladonna leaf consists of the dried leaves, or the dried leaves together with the flowering branch tips, of Atropa belladonna. The leaves are collected in the wild from May to July. They are dried at a temperature not exceeding 60ºC. Belladonna root consists of the dried roots and rhizomes of Atropa belladonna. The roots of 2- to 4-year-old plants are dug up in mid-October to mid-November or shortly before the start of the flowering season. Belladonna leaf should not be confused with Ailanthus altissimus, Phytolacca americana or Scopolia carniolica. Belladonna root should not be confused with Atropa acuminata. It is sometimes adulterated with Phytolacca americana and Scopolia cariolica.
Atropa belladonna is a perennial, herbacious plant 1 to 2 m high with a many-headed cylindrical rhizome. The woody stem is erect, branched, bluntly angular and hairy. The leaves are ovately pointed, entire-margined, downy and up to 15 cm long. The lower leaves are alternate. Near the inflorescence the leaves are in pairs of one large and one small