Atropa Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade)

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Atropa Belladonna (also called deadly nightshade) is medicinal plant used in ayurevdic and homeopathic medicines. Belladonna is a common name used in homeopathic materia medica. It is a powerful herbal medicine, which is sedative, antispasmodic, anodyne and mydriatic.

Atropine is an alkaloid derived from the belladonna, which is used in modern medicines for its sedative, mydriatic, anodyne and antispasmodic action.

Botanical Description

Basic Information

Scientific NameAtropa Bella-donna
Plant FamilySOLANACEAE
Hindi NameSAG-ANGUR, ANGURSHEFA, SUCHI BUTI
English NameDEADLY NIGHTSHADE, BELLADONNA
Other NamesYEBRUJ, GIRBUTI

Botanical Classification (Taxonomy)

KingdomPLANTAE
Sub-KingdomVIRIDIPLANTAE
Infra KingdomSTREPTOPHYTA  (land plants)
Super DivisionEMBRYOPHYTA
DivisionTRACHEOPHYTA (TRACHEOPHYTES or Vascular Plants)
Sub DivisionSPERMATOPHYTINA (SPERMATOPHYTES or Seed Plants)
ClassMAGNOLIOPSIDA
Super OrderASTERANAE
OrderSOLANALES
FamilySOLANACEAE  (nightshades)
GenusATROPA
SpeciesAtropa Bella-donna (Belladonna)

Medicinal Parts

  • Fresh leaves
  • Roots
  • Stem

Atropine Alkaloid is extracted from leaves and roots. Fresh leaves and plant branches are used for preparation of belladonna extract.

Derivatives & Formulations

  • Belladonna extract
  • Belladonna Tincture
  • Belladonna Ark
  • Belladonna Satva

Phytochemistry (Active Constituents)

Two main alkaloids are found in belladonna.

  • Atropine
  • Hyoscyamine

Indian belladonna contains more Atropine and Hyoscyamine as compared to European varieties.

Medicinal Properties

Atropa Belladonna (deadly nightshade) has following healing properties.

  • Antispasmodic
  • Pain reliever or anodyne
  • Muscle relaxant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Mydriatic (dilate pupil)
  • Sedative
  • Antidepressant

Therapeutic Indications

Therapeutic Indications of Atropa Belladonna (deadly nightshade) are as follows.

Brain & Nerves

  • Headache

Chest, Lungs & Airways

  • Chest pain
  • Inter-costal neuralgia
  • Asthma
  • Whooping cough
  • Persistent cough
  • Hiccup

Joint & Muscles

  • Pain disorders
  • Muscle spasm

Digestive Health

  • Pain due to gall bladder stone
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anal fissure
  • Hemorrhoids

Ear, Nose & Throat

  • Pharyngitis
  • Earache
  • Tonsillitis

Eye

  • Conjunctivitis

Skin & hair

  • Acne

Women Health

  • Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
  • Leucorrhea

Other disorders

  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nosebleed

Benefits & Medicinal Uses

Atropa Belladonna helps in almost all respiratory diseases including asthma, whooping cough, persistent cough etc. In homeopathic medicines, it is also used as painkiller. It reduces stiffness and alleviates nerve pain.

Headache

Atropa Belladonna alleviates nerve, reduces congestion and relieves stiffness. It is effective remedy for following types of headaches.

  1. Headache with pulsating pain
  2. Excruciating headaches
  3. Migraine
  4. Dull headache with feeling of stiffness of forehead and nasal congestion
  5. Throbbing congestive headache
  6. Headache due to nerve irritation
  7. Feeling of Heaviness head
  8. Drowsiness linked with headache

Asthma

Atropa Belladonna dilates respiratory tracts and eases breathing process. It helps in asthma by reducing chest congestion and wheezing.

Whooping cough & persistent cough

Atropa Belladonna is beneficial in cough that occurs due to laryngeal irritation. However, it may not alone beneficial in spasmodic cough. Other remedies also require curing this type of cough. Nevertheless, it is beneficial in cough associated with congestion and throat irritation. It shortens the duration of whooping cough attacks and reduces severity of cough. It is more beneficial when irritation of nerves or tubular musculature is associated with cough.

Persistent Hiccup

The most common cause of persistent hiccup is continuous irritation of vague nerve. However, some food triggers also irritate the diaphragm and cause its involuntary contractions. Atropa belladonna soothes the diaphragm and reduces nerve irritation. Thus, it becomes effective in persistent hiccup.

Pain Disorders

Atropa Belladonna has anti-inflammatory and analgesic property due to which it is effective in all types of pain disorders. It also acts on nerves and reduces their irritation and sensitivity to pain. Its oral intake and local application in form of ointment are beneficial for alleviating pain. It is effective in following pain disorders.

  1. Rheumatic pain
  2. Leg pain
  3. Backache
  4. Sciatic nerve pain
  5. Neuralgia
  6. Gout

Muscle pain and fibromyalgia

Belladonna has muscle relaxant property. It reduces spasm of the involuntary muscles. It relieves spasmodic pain and benefits in muscle cramps.

Dosage

The dosage of Atropa Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade) depends on the parts and derivatives used in the different systems of medicines. Here are some examples of belladonna dosage for your references.

Parts/DerivativesDosage*
Leaves Powder50 to 100 mg
Root Powder25 to 100 mg
Leaves Juice1 to 4 drops
Belladonna Extract (traditional water extract)5 to 10 mg
Belladonna Tincture1 to 3 drops

The dosage of belladonna given above is a single dosage. Herbalist can recommend twice or thrice a day according to your health problems and symptoms.

Caution & Side Effects

Atropa Belladonna (deadly nightshade) may be UNSAFE, TOXIC & INTOLERABLE. It contains some alkaloids, which has potential side effects. Unwise and wrong use of belladonna can lead to following side effects.

  • Dilated pupils of the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Increases heartbeat
  • Dryness in the mouth and throat
  • Red or Inflamed skin
  • Dryness of the skin
  • Fever
  • Decreased urination
  • Decreased sweating
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations

Pregnancy & breastfeeding

Atropa Belladonna may be UNSAFE and TOXIC in pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can cause serious side effects in pregnancy and may result in reduction of breast milk in breastfeeding.

Contraindications

Atropa Belladonna (deadly nightshade) should not be used in following health conditions.

  • Tachycardia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Stomach ulcers
  • GERD
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Down syndrome
  • Narrow angle glaucoma
  • Urinary retention

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