20 Facts About Atropa belladonna


Atropa belladonna, commonly known as belladonna or deadly nightshade, is a toxic perennial herbaceous plant in the nightshade family Solanaceae, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant.

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The antidote for Atropa belladonna poisoning is physostigmine or pilocarpine, the same as for atropine.

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Atropa belladonna has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison.

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Atropa belladonna is a branching herbaceous perennial rhizomatous hemicryptophyte, often growing as a subshrub from a fleshy rootstock.

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Atropa belladonna is sometimes confused with the much less poisonous black nightshade, Solanum nigrum, belonging to a different genus within Solanaceae.

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Atropa belladonna is native to temperate southern, Central and Eastern Europe; North Africa, Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus, but has been cultivated and introduced outside its native range.

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Atropa belladonna is rarely used in gardens, but, when grown, it is usually for its large upright habit and showy berries.

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Atropa belladonna is in the nightshade family, which it shares with potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, jimsonweed, tobacco, wolfberry, and chili peppers.

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Name Atropa belladonna was published by Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.

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The name "Atropa belladonna" comes from the Italian language, meaning 'beautiful lady'; originating either from its usage as a cosmetic to beautify pallid skin, or more probably, from its usage to increase the pupil size in women.

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The symptoms of Atropa belladonna poisoning include dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, severely dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions.

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In 2009, A belladonna berries were mistaken for blueberries by an adult woman; the six berries she ate were documented to result in severe anticholinergic syndrome.

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The antidote for Atropa belladonna poisoning is an anticholinesterase or a cholinomimetic (such as pilocarpine), the same as for atropine.

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Atropa belladonna is toxic to many domestic animals, causing narcosis and paralysis.

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Drops prepared from the Atropa belladonna plant were used to dilate women's pupils, an effect considered to be attractive and seductive.

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In homeopathic practices, Atropa belladonna was prescribed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann as a topical medication for inflammation and pain.

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In 2010 and 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration warned consumers against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels containing Atropa belladonna as used for infants and children, stating that the products may be toxic, causing "seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation".

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Atropa belladonna and related plants, such as Datura stramonium, have occasionally been used as recreational drugs because of the vivid hallucinations and delirium they produce.

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Tropane alkaloids of A belladonna were used as poisons, and early humans made poisonous arrows from the plant.

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Atropa belladonna's entered the fields on a Sunday in Shrovetide, clad in her Sunday best, accompanied by her mother and bringing a bag of bread, salt, and brandy.

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