back Belladona

Synonym- Atropa Belladonna.

Natural order.- Solanaceae.

Common name. - Deadly Nightshade.

Habitat.- An herbaceous perennial plant, native of Europe.

Preparation. - Tincture from the entire fresh plant.


Belladonna has its chief center of action in the cerebrum, from which radiates its influence upon the entire organism.  The  brain and its membranes are involved in active congestion and inflammation.  The sensorium is prominently affected, giving rise to delirium, illusions, hallucinations, mania, stupor and insomnia.  From this central point Belladonna acts as an irritant to the entire nervous system, producing congestion of the medulla oblongata and the spinal cord, and in consequence general hyperesthesia of both sensory and motor nerves.  The special senses become intensely acute, and at the same time perverted in function.  The voluntary muscular system is involved in tetaniform convulsions and sometimes clonic spasms, while the involuntary muscles are completely paralyzed, the sphincters being relaxed, and the iris dilated.  On the skin and mucous membranes Belladonna shows its most important local action. The skin becomes intensely red and hot, presenting a smooth, shining red surface, similar to that present in scarlet fever, and non- vesicular erysipelas.  The mucous membranes chiefly affected are those of the eyes, mouth, throat, and genito-urinary organs.  The condition is similar to that found elsewhere, being an intense congestion going on to acute inflammation, involving also the submucous cellular tissues.  Neither the digestive apparatus, nor the serous, osseous or fibrous tissues are directly affected.  The glandular system is often involved in the characteristic congestion and inflammation of the drug, as are also the uterus and its appendages.  The most characteristic expression of Belladonna is the flushed face, the throbbing carotids, the hard and bounding pulse, and the wild delirium that ever attends its operations.


Mind.- Furious rage; anger; disposed to bite, strike, and spit at those around (Hyos., Stram.); to tear things to pieces (Verat. alb.).  Violent delirium; loud laughing and grinding of teeth; afraid of imaginary things; sees monsters (Op., Stram.); changing from mirth to fury; constant desire to spring out of bed, ivith complete loss of consciousness (Agar., Apis, Hyos., Stram.); carphilogia (Hyos., Stram.).  Garrulity (Hyos.); using absurd language.  Abhorrence of liquids; liquid poured out makes her furious.  Anxiety, with desire to flee. Fear of imaginary things, wants to run away from them. Great anxiety;  timidity and restlessness (Acon., Ars., Cinch., Phos.); desire to escape or to hide. Stupefaction with congestion to the head and dilated pupils (Hyos., Op.).  Extreme irritability of temper. Quarrelsome.

Head. - Vertigo when stooping (Acon.), or when rising after stooping (Bry., Petrol., Puls.); falling to the left or backward (Nux v.), with vanishing of sight and flickering before the eyes (Natr. mur.). Vertigo, as if objects turned in a circle (Bry., Coni.), or swayed to and fro.  Vertigo on motion; on turning over in bed (Coni.).  Confusion in the head, worse from motion.

Sensation of a board pressing on the forehead.  Tensive pressure in left vertex and in forehead. Bush of blood to the head (Ferr., Coccus); pulsation of cerebral arteries; throbbing in the brain (Acon., Carls., Glon., Op., Mang.).   Intense headache; aggravated by noise, motion, moving the eyes, contact and when coughing (Bry., Cimic).   Pressure in the head, now here, now there, which occupies each time large areas. Violent throbbing in the brain, from behind forward and toward both sides;  the throbbing ends on the surface in painful shootings.  Jerking headache, extremely violent on walking quickly, or ascending stairs rapidly ; at every step a jolt downiuard, as if a weight were in the occiput. Frequently obliged to stand still in walking, from the violence of the pain in the forehead; at every step it seems as if the brain rose and fell in the forehead; pain relieved by pressing strongly on forehead (Cinch.).  Pain in head and eye balls, as if the latter would start from their sockets.  Pressive pain in forehead, so severe during motion that it causes him to close his eyes.   Stabbing, as if with a knife, from one temple to the other.

Headache, worse from leaning forward, better from bending backward.  oHeadache from a draft of air (Cinch.), or from having hair cut; from the heat of the sun.  Head so sensitive externally that the least contact, even pressure of the hair, gives pain (Acon., Cinch., Merc).

EyesEyes protruding, sparkling, pupils dilated; staring look (Aeth., Amyl., Ailanth., Hyos., Naja).  Eyes red, swollen, distracted (Stram.).  Eyes dry ; feel stiff; heat and burning (Acon., Ars.). Great intolerance of light, and lachrymation (Acon., Euphr., Graph., Merc., Sulph.).   Insensibility to light.  Eyeballs in constant motion.  Optic disc deepened in tint and retinal arteries and veins enlarged.  Dilated, immovable pupils (Hyos., Oenan., Op., Stram.).

Double vision (Aur., Cic, Stram., Phyt.); objects appear upside down or crooked.  Vision dim. Bright sparks and flashes of light before the eyes (Cycl., Glon., Kali carb., Sulph.).  Halo around the light, partly colored, red predominating ; at times light seems broken into rays (Phos.).  Chromopsia. Agglutination of lids in morning.

Ears. - Intolerance of noise, hearing sensitive (Acon.).  Roaring, ringing, or noises in the ear (Acon., Ars., Cinch., Lyc., Nux v., Sulph.).  Tearing at the internal and external ear (Cham., Puls., Mar. ver., Merc.) in a downward direction.  Inflammatory swelling of the ears (Acon., Apis, Puls.), and of the parotids; shooting pains.

Nose. - Great sensitiveness of smell (Aur., Acon., Agar., Coff., Colch., Hep. s., Lyc.); faintest odor, especially tobacco, unbearable.  Tip of nose swollen, shining red, and burning (Borax, Nitr. ac, Ox. ac., Rhus tox.).  Great dryness of the nose (Graph., Kali bi.).  Frequent sneezing, with tickling in nostrils.  Discharge of mucus mixed with blood.  Frequent nosebleed (Acon., Bry.), with congestion of the head.

Face. - Face glowing-red and hot (Ailanth.); swollen and hot (Acon., Op., Stram.).  Convulsive movements of the muscles of the face and mouth (Agar., Ant. tart., Cic, Ign., Nux. v.).  Great swelling anal tension of the upper lip (Apis, Bry., Calc. c, Psor.); stiff feeling on opening the mouth.  Tearing, pressing below right zygoma.  Tearing on inner surface of left lower jaw, worse during deglutition.  Shootings from the maxillary bones and the ear (Calc. c, Hep. s., Kali bi.).  oNervous prosopalgia, with tearing cutting pains (Puls.).

Mouth. - Dull drawing in upper right row of teeth; worse at night and, from cold air (Ant. crud.). oGrinding of teeth.  Painful swelling of the gums (Graph., Merc).  Tongue and palate dark red and dry (Bapt.).  Dryness of mouth, tongue and throat interferes with speech and deglutition.  Tongue hot, dry, red, cracked (Ailanth., Rhus tox.); white center with red edges.  Tongue dry, cracked and swollen, hanging from the mouth; difficult to move, scalded feeling.  Scraping in mouth and throat; heat and dryness in mouth; breath hot.  Slimy mouth in mornings when waking, with pressing headache.  Thick whitish mucus in mouth and throat, with constant inclination to hawk and swallow.

Throat. - Great dryness of fauces and throat (Apis, Nux m., Puls.); also burning and scraping. During deglutition, feeling in the throat as if it were too narrow, or drawn together as if nothing would pass properly (Hyos., Stram.).  Constriction in throat extending to stomach.  Suffocative spasms of fauces and glottis on attempting to swallow.  Swallowing difficult; of water; of solid food possible only by constantly taking liquids; painful; can only swallow a few drops, the rest being forced out by spasmodic action of the muscles of deglutition (Lach.).  Intermittent contraction of the oesophagus when swallowing, followed each time by scraping in region of epiglottis, as if the latter were raw and sore.  Shooting in right parotid gland, extending into external ear, where it becomes cramp-like.  oTonsilitis; worse right side; parts bright red; worse swallowing liquidsoCervical glands inflame suddenly.

Stomach. - Excessive unquenchable thirst for cold water Acon., Bry.); or, aversion to all fluids (Hyos.).  Nausea in the stomach; vomiting after eating and drinking.  Gnawing, pressing, cutting, drawing, wrenching pain in stomach, compelling him to bend backward and hold his breath.  Hard pressure in stomach after eating (Ars., Bry., Nux v., Puls.). Acute pain at pit of stomach; periodical, at night, with tremor.  Burning in stomach (Ars., Ant. crud., Apis, Phos.. Verat. Alb.).  Stomach sensitive to touch (Ars., Bry., Lyc., Colch.).

Abdomen. - Painfully distended abdomen, very sensitive to touch (Acon., Coloc, Cupr., Merc). Heat and burning in abdomen (Acon., Ars., Canth.) with anxiety.  Colic, as if a spot in the abdomen were seized with the nails; a griping, clutching, clawing (Ipec).  Violent cutting pressure in abdomen, now here, now there.  Tenderness of the abdomen is aggravated by the least jar of the bed, or the chair on which he sits; obliged in walking to step with great care, for fear of a jar.  Pain in abdomen as if sore and raw.  Tensive pain in morning on getting out of bed, as if hypogastrium were spasmodically constricted.  Squeezing constrictive pain in lowermost intestines, alternately with shoots or jerks in direction of perineum.  Tenderness on pressure, especially in ovarian region.  oPains, particularly in abdomen and pelvis, come on suddenly, continue violently a longer or shorter time, and disappear as suddenly as they came.

Stool and Anus.- Pressing and urging in rectum toward anus; painful contraction of anus.  Straining and urging to stool, with scanty evacuations.  Frequent ineffectual urging, or with scanty, hard stool. oStool containing lumps like chalk (Hep. s., Podo.); green mucus (Apis, Arg. nit., Ars., Merc, Puls., Sulph.);  slimy and bloody (Merc, Nux v.).  Paralysis of sphincter ani; involuntary stools (Ars., Hyos.).  oSpasmodic constriction of sphincter ani. Dysentery.  Retarded stools.

Urinary Organs. - Retention of urine, which passes only drop by drop (Acon., Canth., Nux v.). Urine becomes turbid like yeast (Chel.), with reddish sediment (Kreos., Sep.); deep red, with white sediment.  Involuntary micturition (Ars., Hyos.); constant dribbling; paralysis sphincter vesicae. Difficult scanty urination (Acon., Canth.), tenesmus.  Dull pressing in vesical region during the night.

Female Organs. - Great pressing downward in the genitals, as if contents of abdomen would protrude through the vulva (Lil. tig., Natr. mur., Plat., Sep.).  Burning, pressure, uneasiness, and weight in the uterine region. Ovaritis ; right ovary much enlarged (Apis); burning, lancinating pains (Coni.).  Shooting in internal organs at every step.  Menses too early and too profuse (Amm. carb., Calc. c, Nux v.); bright-red blood (Ham., Ipec), or thick, decomposed, dark-red blood. Smelling badly. oLochia offensive, feels hot to the parts (Acon.). oLabor pains too weak or ceas- ing (Caul., Gels.). oRigid os. oAfter pains (Gels.); retained placenta.

Respiratory Organs.- Voice husky and hoarse, and a dry cough from, dryness of larynx.  Sensation as if larynx was inflamed, swollen and constricted.  oSpasm of the glottis (Lach.).  Hoarseness, especially when crying.  Aphonia, or confused sounds uttered with pain.

Violent cough in sleep, with grinding of the teeth.  Short, dry cough, from tickling in the larynx (Phos.); evening, in bed.  Dry, spasmodic, or hollow hoarse cough, worse at night (Dros., Hyos.). Barking cough (Dros., Spong., Verbas.); awaking after midnight, with pain in larynx and threatened suffocation.

Short, hurried, anxious breathing (Acon.).  Tightness and oppression of the chest (Phos.).  Pressive pain in the chest between the shoulders (Bry., Cimic, Merc, Phos.).  Burning in the right chest.

Heart and Pulse. - Pulse much increased in force and frequency (Acon.) Throbbing of the carotid and temporal arteries (Glon., Physos.).

Neck and Back. - Swelling of glands of neck and nape of neck.  Pain in nape as if it would break when coughing.  Shooting and gnawing pain in spinal column.  oPain in small of back, as if it would break (Aloe, Cimic, Kali carb., Natr. mur., Nux v., Plat.).

Limbs. - Convulsive motion of the limbs; twitchings (Hyos., Stram.).  Heaviness of the hands and feet. Loss of co-ordination of the muscles of both upper and lower limbs, very much like the heaviness and helplessness of movement observed in first stage of progressive paralysis of the insane.

Upper Limbs. - Sense of stretching and twisting in upper limbs.  Shooting pressure on top of left shoulder.  Drawing pain in inner side of left upper arm; weakness of whole left arm.  Paralytic drawing pressure in upper extremities.  Paralytic tearing in middle joint of right index finger.  Painful drawing in posterior joint of left middle finger, as if in periosteum.

Lower Limbs. - Cutting stitches in the outer muscles of right thigh, just above the knee, only when sitting.  Pain in thighs and legs as if beaten, and as if carious; fine shooting and gnawing along the bones, with violent tearing in the joints; pain gradually rises from the tarsal joints to the hips, necessitating while sitting constant motion and shifting of the feet; milder when walking.  Tearing pressure in middle of inside of leg, uninfluenced by motion or contact.  oPhlegmasia alba dolens; cannot bear to be touched.

Generalities. - Pains come on suddenly, and, after a shorter or longer duration, cease suddenly. Violent convulsions; distortions of all the muscles (Agar., Cic); especially flexors.  Epileptic convulsions; then apoplectic conditions.  Irritability and acuteness of sense, of taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing, and the mind is easily moved and thoughts more acute (Coff., Nux vom.).  Cramp-like pain, worse in sleep, in one side of chest, one side of abdomen, and one loin, so that she bends the painful part inward.  Great restlessness, with sudden startings; grinding of teeth; convulsions. Paralytic weakness; tottering gait.  Cannot bear to be touched anywhere.  Restless, constantly changing position, or moving the body to and fro, especially hands and feet.  Throws body forward and backward, while lying, like constant change from emprosthotonos to opisthotonos.

Skin. - Painful sensitiveness of skin to contact. Redness of the whole body, with quick pulse (Amm. carb.).  Smooth, scarlet redness of the surface of the whole body (Acon.).  Eruption resembling scarlatina (Apis, Arum, Stram.).  Erysipelatous inflammation (Acon., Apis, Rhus tox.).  Erythema.  Pustules break out in the cheek and nose, which rapidly fill ivith pus, and become covered with a crust.

Sleep.- Great inclination to sleep (Nux m.).  Wants to sleep, but cannot (Cham.,Lach., Op.).  Starts as in a fright from sleep, or on just falling asleep (Agar., Amm. carb., Ars., Bry., Hyos., Stram., Sulph.); in evening, the feet are jerked upward and the head forward.  Waked constantly by fearful dreams and twitchings.  Waking at night full of fear.  Sleep, with moaning and tossing about (Acon.). Anxious and frightful dreams (Arn., Aur., Puls., Sulph.).

Fever.- Chill in evening, mostly on arms, with heat of head.  Chill alternately with heat; without thirst, and mostly with confusion of head. Cold limbs; feet ice-cold; head hot.  Heat with distension of superficial veins, great thirst, anxiety and trembling; with furious delirium.  Temperature much increased; face red; pulse accelerated; delirium. Intense burning heat within and without;  sweat only on head, with confusion of head.  Sweat on the covered parts (Cham.). Sweat with or just after the heat, mostly on face.

Aggravation.- After 3 p.m., and again after midnight; on moving; from touch; from draft of air; from sudden changes from warm to cold weather ; in hot weather ; from heat of sun (Ant. crud.); while drinking.

Amelioration. - When wrapped up well in a warm room.

Conditions. - In plethoric lymphatic constitutions who are jovial and happy when well, but violent when sick.  In young, full-blooded people.

Compare.- Acon., Calc. c, Cinch., Coff., Coloc, Hyos., Lach., Merc, Op., Phos., Stram., Verat. v.

 Antidotes.- Camph., Coff., Hep. s., Hyos., Op., Puls., Vinum.

To large doses : Emetics, strong coffee, Op., Hyos. Belladonna Antidotes.- Acon., Cupr., Ferr., Hyos., Merc, Plumb., Jabor.


THERAPEUTICS. Belladonna is especially useful in congestive types of disease.  In congestions and inflammations of a violent and intense character which come on suddenly, and especially when they tend to the rapid formation of pus. In all local congestions and inflammations as they are about to localize, or after localization has taken place, but before products have formed.  Thus it is an excellent remedy in the first stage of boils and abscesses, and will, if indicated, often promote resolution, and prevent suppuration.  So, too, in cellulitis, ovaritis, tonsilitis, etc., it will answer the same purpose.  In such cases it is indicated by the great heat and redness of the affected part, throbbing pain, sensitiveness, etc.  It is the most useful remedy in violent congestions and inflammations of the brain and meninges, being indicated by a violent headache, pressure, and delirium, together with a flushed face, throbbing carotids, and bounding pulse.  The latter is the chief characteristic symptom of Belladonna, and may indicate its use in congestion or inflammation of any organ or tissue, or in any type of fever when such symptoms may be present. Studying the clinical range of Belladonna in detail we find it useful in the following conditions: First stage of cerebritis, meningitis, typhus cerebralis, and apoplexia, the symptoms corresponding.  Also in acute mania, when there is furious rage, etc., desire to hide or escape, fear of imaginary things. This mania may be present in cerebral typhus, and other brain troubles mentioned.  Also in delirium tremens. Belladonna is the chief remedy in congestive headaches.  The pain is of a throbbing nature, and is always aggravated by noise, light or jarring, and by bending forward, better from bending backward. Such a headache may result from exposure to cold, especially a draft of air, or from having the hair cut, or from exposure to the rays of the sun. Congestions and inflammations of the eyes occurring suddenly and violently. Great pain, redness and swelling, and intolerance of light. Especially right eye. Retinitis. Iritis. First stage of otitis media, with terrific tearing pains into the ear and brain, roaring noises.  Acute parotitis.  Tonsilitis, worse on right side; parts bright red; worse on swallowing liquids.  Pharyngitis, and other throat affections, characterized by intense hyperemia and dryness of the parts, and tendency to spasmodic contrac- tion. (Esophagitis. Stomatitis. Glossitis, the tongue being hot, dry, swollen, and painful. Gastritis. Belladonna is most often the first remedy indicated in inflammations of the abdominal viscera. Especially in peritonitis, whether puerperal or non-puerperal, also in metro-peritonitis.  The abdomen is greatly distended, painful and very sensitive to touch ; sensitive to the least jar; extreme pungent heat; violent pain.  Acute hepatitis.  Dysentery, especially in children, spasmodic constriction of sphincter, other symptoms agreeing.  Cystitis.  Nephritis.  Orchitis and ovaritis, with characteristics already named.  First stage of mastitis.  Dysmenorrhea; congestive type, in plethoric girls, violent pains, etc.  Menorrhagia, bright red blood, or dark and decomposed; in plethoric girls, congestive symptoms.  In all uterine troubles, including prolapsus, there is, in addition to other symptoms, a great pressing downwards, as if the organs were heavy and congested, and would press out at the vulva. Labor pains too weak or ceasing.  Hour glass contractions.  Rigid os. After-pains. Lochia hot and offensive, or suppressed.  Retained placenta. Milk-leg. A most valuable remedy in uterine haemorrhage, especially post-partum, blood bright red and hot, in gushes, cerebral symptoms. Belladonna is very useful in a dry cough which comes from tickling in the larynx, usually worse in the evening after going to bed. This may indicate the drug in acute laryngitis and bronchitis.  There is always, in the former, dryness and soreness of the larynx, and hoarseness, with tendency to suffocation.  Also useful in spasmodic and catarrhal croup, spasms of the glottis and whooping cough. In the two latter diseases it constitutes one of our most important remedies.  Belladonna is a valuable remedy in some forms of skin disease, including erysipelas and exanthematous fevers, especially scarlatina. Its pathogenesis forms a perfect picture of the true Sydenham scarlet fever, in which it is indicated in a great majority of cases, but it is seldom if ever useful in low and malignant types of the disease, where blood poisoning is the chief characteristic.  The same holds true in diphtheria, and all other forms of blood poisoning, as Belladonna does not poison the blood, and is therefore not a remedy for that condition. In scarlet fever it is chiefly indicated by the smooth scarlet redness of the skin, sore throat, high fever and cerebral symptoms. In erysipelas it is indicated only when the swelling is red hot, smooth and shining (vesicular erysipelas, Rhus tox.; oedematous, Apis), and tendency to cerebral irritation.  Or the redness may have a central point and radiate in streaks from that point.  Also phlegmonous erysipelas, first stage, with throbbing pains. It may also be indicated in measles where the cerebral symptoms are prominent.  Boils, abscesses, etc., as already mentioned. Acute inflammations of glands. Belladonna may be indicated in worm fever, and that accompanying dentition, when there is cerebral irritation, but it is seldom useful in typhoid and malarial fevers, though it may be indicated in the beginning of the disease.  In nervous diseases Belladonna is often useful. Neuralgia, especially of the face and head.  Sciatica.  Gastralgia.  Sometimes, though rarely, in paralysis. A valuable remedy in convulsions, tetanic, epileptic, puerperal hysterical, with the characteristic cerebral and other symptoms - great rush of blood to the head, face red and hot, etc. Chorea.  Hydrophobia.  Sunstroke.  Rheumatism, especially lumbago.

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