A person has always had an interest in poisonous plants. People invented stories and legends about them, attributed magical properties to them, although this did not correspond to the truth. The use of these herbs is also found, and not always useful. Belladonna is recognized as one of the most ancient plants of such a plan, people in their time quickly found a way to get her poison.
- 1 History
- 3 Geography of distribution
- 4 Cultivation of belladonna
- 5 Medicinal properties
- 6 Application in medicine
The generic name( Atropa belladonna L.) was given to the plant by the famous biologist Karl Linnaeus, named after one of the Greek goddesses, called Atropa. Such a name belladonna received because of its virulence and frequent use in the Middle Ages as a component of a variety of poisons that do not have the antidote .Species name( Belladonna) was given to the plant because of its popularity among Italian women who used, since the XV century, as a cosmetic means of its juice. It was buried in the eyes, as a result of which the pupils widened, the eyes acquired shine, and the women became more beautiful. Hence the name belladonna - "beautiful woman".
In Russia, the plant was also known and had many names( due to poisonous properties): rabid berries, belladonna, drunken bush, mad cherry, sleepy dope. Belladonna was called mad because of the fact that when a person was poisoned by it, a state of strong excitation developed, which in severe cases ended lethal. Therefore, since the 18th century, circulars describing grass and its poisonous qualities have been published in Europe.
Belladonna( belladonna) has become known since ancient times. In the eastern countries, they knew and used it two thousand years ago. The first mention of it is found in the 4th century BC in Theophrastus's book The Natural History of Plants. Under its specific name, the plant was first mentioned in 1504 in the book "Grand herbier".A little later, in the middle of the 16th century, they begin to talk about it as a medicinal plant and are used up to the 19th century as an anticonvulsant, soothing, anesthetic. Also, belladonna was used to treat cough, jaundice and even venereal diseases.
Belladonna ( belladonna) ordinary is a herbaceous plant that is perennial and belongs to the family of nightshade plants. A plant with thick, thick and juicy stems that stand straight, often have a purple hue. The height of the belladonna is from half a meter to two meters. The leaves of the plant are densely located, dark green in color, with a typical mild narcotic smell. Lower leaves are characterized by short cuttings and sequence;the upper position is pairwise, the value is different. The sheets are typically large in size, they can be up to 20 cm long, about 12 cm wide. Belladonna flowers are located one by one, large enough, looking down, brownish-violet, growing out of the sinuses. Flowering plants are more common in summer, in its second half. The fruits of the belladonna are purple, almost black, shiny, multi-seeded. In size and color, these berries resemble cherries, so belladonna is also called "mad cherry".The roots of the plant have a cylindrical shape, up to two centimeters thick. Each of the components of the belladonna is poisonous.
Geography of distribution
In the wild, the plant grows in many parts of the globe: Europe, England, Asia, the Himalayas, North Africa, and the Americas. In Russia it is most often found in the Crimea, the Carpathians, in the Caucasus, in the central region. Belladonna likes to grow on the fringes of forests, forest roads, river banks, slopes of mountains, it is often found on soils rich in calcium and lime.
Cultivation of the belladonna
Due to the limited natural resource base, belladonna is cultivated in many countries( in Europe, Asia, Africa, America) on an industrial scale to obtain medicinal raw materials. At the same time, from such sites, harvesting( leaves) occurs 3-4 times per season.
Since belladonna belongs to plants that love warmth, as a long-term culture it can only be grown in regions where the winter is mild and there is a constant snow cover that protects the belladonna from the cold .In the absence of snow and when the ambient temperature falls below -15 ° C, the plant freezes. However, if the snow coat is thick enough, the belladonna survives at -30 ° C.The difference between an industrial belladonna and that grown in natural conditions is that, due to growth in the shade, the leaves of the artificially grown belladonna are more delicate and tender, contain a much smaller concentration of alkaloids than the leaves of those plants that grow onareas, rich in sunlight.
As medicinal raw materials, use dried leaves belladonna and roots. The leaves contain many active substances: atropine, hyoscyamine( which turns into atropine under certain conditions), belladonin, scopolamine and other biologically active chemicals. In the roots of belladonna, a large number of coumarins and chunks ofgris were found. Alkaloids are found in all parts of the plant, most of them accumulate in the roots( about 1.5%), in leaves their number is up to 0.5%.From belladonna, derivatives of atropine, scopalamine are obtained, and also it is used for the manufacture of medicines, extracts, tinctures, powders, etc.
. The leaves of the plant are collected during its flowering, drying is mandatory in air, in dryers. Digging out roots occurs early in the spring or late autumn. Given the virulence of all parts of the plant, its collection requires special care and fraught with complications.
The medicinal properties of
The main pharmacological effects of the plant determine the content of the main alkaloid atropine in it, which causes impairment of the transmission of nerve impulses to the endings of nerve cells and a decrease in the tone of the smooth muscles of the internal organs( intestines, bile ducts, bladder, bronchi, uterus ).Also, atropine causes blockade of the circular muscle of the iris of the eye, which leads to the dilatation of the pupil. However, among other things, this alkaloid is a strong poison and is capable of leading to severe poisoning with damage to the nervous system( due to its ability to be rapidly absorbed and not disintegrate under the action of gastric juice).
The main effects of atropine in the human body:
- The inhibition of the function of organs with a glandular structure( reduced secretion of saliva, sweat and gastric juice);
- Increased heart rate;
- In an increased dose causes severe nervous excitement up to seizures;
- Stimulates the breathing center in therapeutic doses, with an overdose - respiratory paralysis and stop.
Use in medicine
Use preparations belladonna need very carefully and carefully, because the substance has many side effects and has contraindications .Contraindicated belladonna during pregnancy, diseases of the cardiovascular system, glaucoma, kidney disease and cachexia.
Preparations of belladonna and atropine use:
- As a means to relieve spasm and relief of pain( gastric and duodenal ulcer, chronic gastritis, pyloric spasm, bile duct pathology, pancreatitis, spastic colitis, intestinal colic and other diseases with smooth muscle spasms);
- With cardiac pathology( bradycardia, blockade, angina) to improve the contractile function of the heart;
- In the treatment of bronchial asthma( relieves spasm of smooth muscles of the bronchi and reduces the secretion of glands in the bronchial mucosa);
- The use of candles with a blister is rational for spasms of the uterus, sphincters of the urethra and anus;
- With excessive secretion of sweat and lacrimal glands;
- In neurological practice - for the treatment of depressive conditions, vegetovascular dystonia, Parkinson's disease, spastic paresis in children's cerebral palsy;
- In ophthalmology for diagnosis and treatment( dilated pupil);
- In the treatment of chronic aphthous stomatitis( atropine is used in the form of films);
- As an antidote for poisoning with organophosphorous substances, fungi, narcotic analgesics( morphine), antidepressants. Atropine is often used concomitantly with morphine to reduce its side effects;
- In anesthesia for preparation for anesthesia and surgery, during surgery to reduce spasm of the larynx and bronchi and reduce glandular secretion;
- When examining the gastrointestinal tract( endoscopic and x-ray) to reduce muscle tone;
- In homeopathy.
When treating drugs with caution and take into account the fact that many patients may have an individual intolerance and hypersensitivity. Therapy recommends them start with small doses, since even a minimal overdose immediately causes dry mouth, visual impairment, dilated pupil, difficulty with urination and defecation, frequency of heart contraction increases. With severe poisoning, agitation increases, coordination of movements is disturbed, hallucinations, delusions, fever and photophobia occur, and a change in consciousness occurs. In principle, all poisonings derived from belladonna occur with severe mental disorders. Most often they are found among children who do not know about what the danger of a plant is.
In case if overdose and poisoning did happen, it is necessary to immediately rinse the stomach with the introduction of activated charcoal, make an enema, drink a laxative. Of drugs for cupping use pilocarpine, proserin and hypnotics.
In medicine, a lot of medicines based on alkaloids of belladonna are used. However, their use is possible only on the recommendation of the attending physician and under his supervision.