By Ina Woolcott
Homeopathy uses Belladonna as a cure or to treat a variety of afflictions, including heat of the body. The ingested preparation is so diluted as to contain very few, if any, molecules of Belladonna.
This herb is used as an aphrodisiac and to stimulate the memory in modern day Morocco. It used as a sedative in Nepal. Shamans add solanaceous herbs to a brew containing San Pedro in the Andes. It is used to strengthen marijuana in the near East.
Atropine is still used by Optometrists and ophthalmologists today to dilate the pupils during eye examinations, although dosage is minute.
Atropine makes up over 50% of the asthma drug Asthmador.
Belladonna (as Atropa Belladonna Extract) can be found in some over-the-counter cold and flu medicines (in small amounts) due to its pseudoephedrine-like qualities of clearing up nasal and other passages where mucus forms.
The plant is an important source of atropine, an effective antidote to the effects of poisoning by cholinesterase inhibitors e.g. Parathion and Malathion. Atropine will also counter the effects of poisoning by nerve agents designed for chemical warfare. In Europe, the plant is specifically cultivated to this end.
Belladonna is one of the most important remedies for kidney and bladder diseases. At the same time as stimulating it also relieves irritation of the urinary tract. The solid and watery constituents of the urine increased in amount.
As it increases the rate of the heart by some 15 to 45 beats per minute, without lessening its force it has been used to treat pneumonia, typhoid fever and other acute diseases as the action on body circulation helps those that collapse from this.
Use for recreational purposes is considered dangerous because accidental overdose is possible. Though apparently, few if any recreational drug users who try Belladonna, Jimsonweed, or Mandrake and hallucinate want to repeat the experience. Reports of a good trip are extremely hard to come by. Most recreational users say that they cloud, rather than clear consciousness with nausea being a common side effect. Because of this, they are legal and not regarded as a drug abuse problem. The effects of Belladonna can be so terrifying and unpleasant, and the loss of contact with ordinary reality so complete that it is only used with great caution and rarely for pleasure. The hallucinations are usually negative, with most users reporting them as being evil, threatening, terrifying, or something of this nature.
One must have a certain sort of mind to be able to appreciate the sensations, and most westerners do not have this sort of mind.
In the USA, Belladonna is uncontrolled, meaning all parts of the plant and its extracts are legal to cultivate, buy, possess, and distribute (sell, trade or give) without a license or prescription. If being sold as a supplement, sales must conform to U.S. supplement laws. If sold as a drug or food, sales are regulated by the FDA.