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Atropa belladonna

belladonnaAtropa belladonna is uncontrolled in the United States.

Addictive Potential: None

Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unkown

Mandatory Minimum Sentence: Unknown

Mechanism of Action: blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, muscarinic receptor (M1) antagonist

Overview:

Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, commonly known as belladonna or deadly nightshade, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Solanaceae, native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane alkaloids. These toxins include scopolamine and hyoscyamine which cause a bizarre delirium and hallucinations. The drug atropine is also derived from the plant.

It has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. Before the Middle Ages, it was used as an anesthetic for surgery, and it was used as a poison by early men, ancient Romans, including the wives of two Emperors, and by Macbeth of Scotland before he became a Scottish King. The genus name “atropa” comes from Atropos, one of the three Fates in Greek mythology, and the name “bella donna” is derived from Italian and means “beautiful woman”.

Atropa belladonna, along with related plants such as Datura and Brugmansia, has occasionally been used as a recreational drug because of the vivid hallucinations and delirium that it produces. These hallucinations are most commonly described as very unpleasant, however any recreational use is considered extremely dangerous because of the high risk of unintentional fatal overdose. In addition, the central nervous system effects of atropine include memory disruption, which may lead to severe confusion.

List of Chemicals in Belladonna:

Chemical Part
Lo
ppm
Hi
ppm
Reference
ALKALOIDS Leaf
1000
12000
ALKALOIDS Root
4000
8800
APOATROPINE Plant
ASPARAGINE Root
ATROPAMINE Leaf
ATROPAMINE Root
ATROPINE Root
BELLADONNINE Leaf
BELLADONNINE Root
BELLARIDINE Plant
CHOLINE Root
CUSCOHYGRINE Root
DELTA-N-METHYLORNITHINE Plant
ESCULETIN Plant
HELLARADINE Root
20
HOMATROPINE Root
HYOSCYAMINE Root
2000
8712
KAEMPFEROL-7-GLUCOSIDE-3-RHAMNOGALACTOSIDE Leaf
KAEMPFEROL-7-GLUCOSIDE-3-RHAMNOGLUCOSIDE Leaf
L-HYOSCYAMINE Root
3080
7656
L-SCOPOLAMINE Leaf
L-SCOPOLAMINE Root
LEUKATROPINIC-ACID Root
METELOIDINE Root
METHYL-PYRROLINE Root
METHYLPYRROLIDINE Root
NICOTINE Leaf
NORATROPINE Root
NORHYOSCYAMINE Root
PHYTOSTEROLS Root
PYRIDINE Root
QUERCETIN-7-GLUCOSIDE-3-RHAMNOGALACTOSIDE Leaf
QUERCETIN-7-GLUCOSIDE-3-RHAMNOGLUCOSIDE Leaf
SCOPINE Root
SCOPOLAMINE Root
40
88
SCOPOLETIN Root
STARCH Root
SUCCINIC-ACID Leaf
TANNIN Root
120000
TROPACOCAINE Root
TROPINE Root
UMBELLIFERONE Root

Side Effects and Adverse Reactions:

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 can be 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.

The active agents in belladonna, atropine, hyoscine (scopolamine), and hyoscyamine, have anticholinergic properties. The symptoms of belladonna poisoning include dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions. The plant’s deadly symptoms are caused by atropine’s disruption of the parasympathetic nervous system’s ability to regulate non-volitional/subconscious activities such as sweating, breathing, and heart rate.

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

Research:

Belladonna poisoning as a facet of pschyodelia

The Use of Hyoscyamine as a Hallucinogen and Intoxicant

Muscarinic receptors: a novel therapeutic target for drug addiction

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