Posted by Bangzkie Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Belladonna tinctures, decoctions, and powders as well as alkaloid salt mixtures are produced for pharmaceutical use and these are often standardised at 1037 parts hyoscyamine to 194 parts atropine and 65 parts scopolamine. The alkaloids are compounded with phenobarbital and/or kaolin and pectin for use in various functional gastrointestinal disorders. The tincture, used for identical purposes, remains in most pharmacopoeias, with a similar tincture of Datura stramonium having been in the US Pharmacopoeia at least until the late 1930s. The combination of belladonna and opium, in powder, tincture, or alkaloid form, is particularly useful by mouth or as a suppository for diarrhoea and some forms of visceral pain and can be made by a compounding pharmacist and may be available as a manufactured fixed combination product in some countries (see, e.g., B&O Supprettes). A banana-flavoured liquid (most common trade name: Donnagel PG) was available until 31 December 1992 in the United States.
The common name belladonna originates from its historic use by women - Bella Donna is Italian for beautiful lady. Drops prepared from the belladonna plant were used to dilate women's pupils, an effect considered attractive. Belladonna drops act as an antimuscarinic, blocking receptors in the muscles of the eye that constrict pupil size.Belladonna is currently rarely used cosmetically, as it carries the adverse effects of causing minor visual distortions, inability to focus on near objects, and increased heart rate. Prolonged usage was reputed to cause blindness.
Belladonna is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western hemisphere.All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids.The berries pose the greatest danger to children because they look attractive and have a somewhat sweet taste.The consumption of two to five berries by children and ten to twenty berries by adults is probably lethal. The root of the plant is generally the most toxic part, though this can vary from one specimen to another. Ingestion of a single leaf of the plant can be fatal to an adult.