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Belladonnae Radix et Folia.

Botanical name:

(A larger Belladonna monograph by Lloyd can be found at: http://www.swsbm.com/ManualsOther/Atropa_belladona-Lloyd.PDF)

The plant Atropa belladonna is native to Southern Europe, extending thence to the Crimea, Caucasia, and the northern parts of Asia Minor. About 1504 a book appeared in Paris titled the Grand Herbier, which carried the first authentic notice of belladonna, although the term "solatrum furiale," used by Saladinus of Ascoli (570), about 1450, is presumed to refer to it. Its effects, internally, were subjects of treatises by Amoreaux (20a), Paris, 1760; Daries (184), Leipsic, 1776; Munch (453), Gottingen, 1783 and 1785, and subsequently by all who wrote comprehensively on medicine. In toxicology, the German botanist, Leonard Fuchs, (251) figured the plant as Solanum somniferum, 1542, fully identifying its poisonous properties, and J. M. Faber, Augsburg, 1677 (231a), wrote on its poisonous action. But the people in the plant's habitat have always been aware that all parts, even to the berries, were poisonous. In the eye, so far as we can locate its record, the first study concerning its local effect is that of Himly (317a) of Paris, 1802, although country people in the habitat of belladonna, from all time, know that it possesses the power of dilating the pupil. In "regular medicine" belladonna has a more recent introduction, due to the commendation of the well-known pharmacist, Mr. Peter Squire (611), of London, who about 1860 commended it as the basis of a useful liniment, for the relief of neuralgic pains. The drug is now used chiefly in the making of the alkaloid atropine, and in the preparation of a belladonna plaster that is exceedingly popular, as well as having a professional reputation. Johnson and Johnson, New Brunswick, U. S. A., now use more than 150,000 pounds of belladonna yearly in the making of plasters.


The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.



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