Other names: Beauty.

Diseases and effects: spasms of smooth muscles of internal organs, cardiovascular diseases.

Active substances: tropane alkaloids, atropine.

Belladonna is a perennial herbaceous plant of the nightshade family, with a well-developed root system. In the first year of vegetation it forms a branched taproot, in subsequent years it forms a multi-headed branched rhizome. At the basal neck, underground buds are laid, from which several erect, branched stems up to 1.3-1.8 m high grow in spring. The leaves are plentiful dark green, the lower leaves are alternate, short-leaved; the upper ones are pairwise close, in a pair one of the leaves is much larger than the other. The flowers are located in the axils of the leaves, solitary, drooping, on short drooping pedicels. Corolla cylindrical, bell-shaped, brown-violet, turning pale towards the base. The fruit is a purple-black, shiny, juicy, bilocular, multi-seeded berry. Blooms in the first year of vegetation from August, in subsequent years – from May until the end of the growing season; bears fruit in September and July, respectively. Medicinal raw materials are leaves (whole and cut) and grass (whole and cut) of belladonna.

Habitats. Spreading

Belladonna grows in the Carpathians and other regions of Western Ukraine, in the mountainous forest regions of the Crimea and the Caucasus. Rarely found in Moldova. The Caucasian part of the range covers the western and southern parts of Transcaucasia and the mountainous regions of the North Caucasus. It grows at an altitude of 200 to 1700 m above sea level on loose humus soils, mainly under the canopy of beech forests, singly or in small thickets on the edges, forest clearings, along forest ravines and river banks.

Harvesting of wild-growing belladonna is currently not being done, as it has been successfully introduced into the culture. It can be grown, especially in an annual crop, almost everywhere, but a sufficiently warm and humid climate is required to obtain large yields. The best areas for cultivation of the perennial culture of belladonna are the south of Ukraine and the North Caucasus.

Procurement and quality of raw materials

Depending on the methods of harvesting and subsequent processing, the following types of raw materials are distinguished: whole and cut grass, whole and cut leaves. Belladonna grass (FS 42-1104-77) is a mixture of leafy stems, petioles, flowers, buds and fruits. The cut raw material consists of pieces of various shapes from 1 to 8 mm. The content of alkaloids is not less than 0.35%; moisture not more than 13%; total ash not more than 13%; leaves not less than 45%; turned brown and blackened – no more than 4%; organic impurities not more than 1%; mineral impurity no more than 1%. Whole leaves: length up to 25 cm, width up to 13 cm; cut raw materials – pieces of various shapes ranging in size from 1 to 6 mm. The content of alkaloids is not less than 0.3%, moisture is not more than 13%; total ash not more than 15%; brown and blackened leaves no more than 4% – tops of shoots with flowers and fruits no more than 4%; mineral impurity not more than 0.5% and organic – not more than 0.5%. Belladonna root: alkaloid content not less than 0.5%; moisture not more than 13%; total ash not more than 6%; mineral impurity not more than 1% and organic – not more than 1%.

Whole raw materials are packed in bales of 50 kg net, cut raw materials in bags of 20-25 kg net. The shelf life of raw materials is 2 years.

Chemical composition

All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids. The amount of alkaloids in belladonna, depending on the growing conditions and the phase of development, varies (in%): in leaves from 0.31 to 1.10; in stems from 0.11 to 1.15; in flowers from 0.28 to 0.53; in fruits from 0.16 to 0.35 and in roots from 0.21 to 1.10.

Application in medicine

Belladonna preparations are widely used as antispasmodic and analgesic drugs, with spasms of smooth muscles of internal organs; in eye practice they are used to dilate the pupil. Atropine isolated from the plant is used to treat certain cardiovascular diseases.

The above products include atropine sulfate, dry belladonna extract, thick belladonna extract, belladonna tincture, becarbon products, besalol, corbella (from belladonna root dry extract). Belladonna is part of a number of combined products: gastric tablets with belladonna extract, belladonna, asthmatol, Anuzol suppositories, bellataminal, etc. Belladonna preparations are poisonous. They are released only by prescription.

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