Materia Medica Pura - Samuel Hahnemann


(Atropa Belladonna)

(The freshly expressed juice of the whole plant at the commencement of its flowering, mixed with equal parts of alcohol.)

The plant gathered in the garden (on a rather dry soil and preferably on the slope of a hill) is little if at all inferior in medicinal power to the wild plant, although some physicians have asserted the contrary.

From the following completed list of the symptoms of belladonna it will readily be seen that it corresponds in similarity to a number of morbid states not infrequently met with in life, and that hence it must frequently be homoeopathically applicable for curative purposes, like a polychrest.

Those small-souled persons who cry out against its poisonous character must let a number of patients die for want of belladonna, and their hackneyed phrase, that we have well-tried mild remedies for these diseases, only serves to prove their ignorance, for no medicine can be a substitute for another.

To take an example, how often are the worst forms of sore-throat (especially those combined with external swelling) given over to death, in spite of all their employment of venesection, leeches, blisters, gargles, emollient poultices, cooling powders, sudorifics and purgatives. And yet, without all these tortures, they might have been cured in a few hours with a single minute dose of belladonna.

And what other real medicine would not be hurtful, dangerous, and poisonous in the hands of the ignorant? Certainly every powerful medicine would be so if given in unsuitable cases of disease and in disproportionately large doses-for, which the so-called physician would be solely to blame. On the other hand, the most potent and energetic medicines will become the mildest by diminishing the dose sufficiently, and they will become the most curative, even for the most delicate and sensitive bodies, when they ate given in appropriate smallest possible doses, and when the case of disease consists of affections very similar to what the medicine itself has shown it can call forth in healthy human beings. With such potent drugs as belladonna, we must never neglect to exercise the requisite carp in the homoeopathic selection. But this would never enter the head of the routine practitioner who, as is well known, is in the habit of treating all cases with a few prescriptions learned by rote.

Taught by a hundredfold experience at the sick bed during the last eight or ten years, I could not help descending to the decillion-fold dilution, and I find the smallest portion of a drop(As the dose is one globule the size of a poppy seed (300 of which weigh only a grain), moistened with it, we give less than 1/1000 th of a drop of the fold medicinal dilution spiritualized (potentized) by succession, for with a single drop many more than 1000 such small globules can be moistened.) of this for a dose quite sufficient to fulfil every curative intention attainable with this medicine.

Two drops of the juice mixed with equal parts of alcohol, taken as unity (as with other vegetable juices), and shaken with’ 99 to 100 drops of alcohol by two downward strokes of the arm (whose hand holds the mixing phial) gives a hundredfold potentized dilution; one drop of this shaken in the same way with another 100 drops of fresh alcohol gives the ten-thousand fold dilution, and one drop of this shaken with 100 drops of alcohol, the millionfold. And thus in thirty such phials the potentized dilution is brought to the decillion-fold, with which the homoeopathic physician effects the cures he can expect to make with belladonna.

(The above is the method to be employed for the dilution and potentization of the other vegetable juices.)

Belladonna, in the small dose just described, is, if the case is homoeopathically adapted, capable of curing the most acute diseases (in which it acts with a rapidity proportionate to the nature of , the disorder). On the other hand, it is not less serviceable in the most chronic ailments, in which its duration of action, even in the smallest dose, amounts to three weeks and more.( The best preventive of hydrophobia is the smallest dose of belladonna, given at cry every third or fourth day, and repeated at ever longer intervals.)

Almost all authors have asserted that vinegar is an antidote to belladonna, but that is a mere conjecture, copied: in simple faith by one from another, and yet nothing is further from the truth. Repeated experience has taught me that vinegar only aggravates the ill-effects of large doses of belladonna.. (STAPF also observed that in the violent headache from belladonna vinegar laid on the forehead increased it to such an intolerable degree that it had to be taken off.)

Opium relieves the paralytic symptoms and abdominal pains caused by belladonna, but only in an antipathic and palliative way, very probably also it removes, in very small doses, the sopor caused by belladonna.

But the stupefied condition, the mania and the fury caused by belladonna, are soonest and most surely homoeopathically removed by one or two small doses of henbane. But the intoxication by itself is best subdued by wine, as I have seen, and as TRAJUS .and MOIBANUS long ago observed.

When small dose of belladonna, unhomoeopathically selected, causes lachrymose disposition with chilliness and headache, an equally small dose of pulsatilla relieves.

But suitable help is most urgently required in cases where belladonna has been swallowed in considerable quantities, for example, in the form of its berries. In such cases relief is obtained by drinking a large quantity of strong coffee, which removes the loss of irritability and the tetanic convulsions, tough it only does that antipathically. It also promotes the vomiting of the berries most certainly, the fauces being at the same time irritated with a long feather in order to empty the stomach.

The erysipelatous swelling caused by belladonna are readily removed by hepar sulphuris. Camphor too, displays much antidotal power against some of the morbid effects caused by belladonna.

The prophylactic power of belladonna (given in the smallest dose every six or seven days) discovered by me, against, the true erysipelatoid smooth scarlet fever, as described by SYDENHAM, PLENCITZ, and others, was calumniated and ridiculed for nineteen years by a large number of medical men, who were not acquainted with this peculiar form of children’s disease, and consequently mistook for it the red miliary (purpura miliaris, roodvonk (See THOMASSEN A THUESSINK, “Over de Roodvonk,” 1816, extracted from his Geneeskundige Waarnemingen.)) that came from Belgium in 1801. This they falsely called “scarlet fever,” and naturally they failed to get any result from the administration of my prophylactic and curative remedy for true scarlet fever, in this red miliary fever. (This red miliary (roodvonk) is quite a different disease, requiring quite different treatment. Belladonna naturally does no good in it, and the ordinary routine practice allows the majority of patients to die of it. These might be all cured by the alternate administration of aconite and tincture of raw coffee-the former for the heat and increasing restlessness and agonizing anxiety, the latter for the excessive pains .with the lachrymose humour. The aconite should be given in the decillion-fold dilution of the juice, and the raw coffee in the million-fold dilution ; both in the smallest portion of a drop for a dose, the one or the other, according as they are indicated, given every twelve, sixteen, or twenty-four hours. In recent times these two very different diseases (smooth scarlet fever and purple miliary) seem to have occurred complicated with one another in some epidemics ; hence in some of the patients belladonna, in others aconite, seemed to have been most useful.) I am happy to say that of late years other medical men have again observed the old true scarlet fever. They have amply testified to the prophylactic power of belladonna in this disease, and have at last rendered me justice after having been treated so long with unmerited contempt.


Symptoms have been taken front the following old-school authorities:

ACKERMANN, in Struve’s Triumph d. Heilk., iii. Acta Nat. Cur., Vol. ix..

ALBRECHT, in Commerc. lit. Nor., 1731.

BALDINGER, in Neues Magazin f.’Aerzte, i.

BAYLIE, Prae. Essays on Med. Subjects.

BOUCHER, in Journ. de Med., a%, Aout.

BUCHAVE, in Samml. br. Abh., f. pr, derzte, xiv.

BUCHHOLZ, in Hufet. Journ., v.

BUO’HOZ, in vicat, Planter Venen. de la Suisse.

CAMERARIUS, EL., Obs. ; Med: Chir. Wahrnehm., vii ; and in Wepfer, Hill. Cic.

CARL, in Act. Nat. Cur., Vol. iv. Commercium liter. Nor., 1731.

CULLEN, Mat. teed., ii,

DIARIES, Diss. de Belladonna, Lips., 1776.

DILLENIUS, in Misc. Nat. Cur.. Dec. iii, ann. 7, 8.

DUMOULIN, in Journ. de Mod., xi, Aout.

EHRHARDT, Pftanzenhistorie, x.

ELFES, in Bust’s Magazine Vol. xxi.

EVERS, in Berliner Samml., iv.

EVERS, in Sehmucker’s Vermischten Scltyiften, i.

About the author

Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann

Leave a Comment

/* ]]> */