Synonym. Atropa Belladonna. Natural order. Solanaceae. Common name. Deadly Night shade. Habitat. An herbaceous perennial plant, native of Europe. Perspiration. Tincture from the entire fresh plant. General Analysis Belladonna has its chief center of action in the cerebrum, from which radiates its influence upon the entire organism. The brain and its membranes are involved in active congestion and inflammation. The sensorium is prominently affected, giving rise to delirium, illusions, hallucinations, mania, stupor and insomnia. From this central point Belladonna acts as an irritant to the entire nervous system, producing congestion of the medulla oblongata and the spinal cord, and in consequence general hyperaesthesia of both sensory and motor nerves. The special senses become intensely acute, and at the same time perverted in function. The voluntary muscular system is involved in tetaniform convulsions and sometimes clonic spasms, while the involuntary muscles are completely paralyzed, the sphincters being relaxed, and the iris dilated. On the skin and mucous membranes Belladonna shows its most important local action. The skin becomes intensely red and hot, presenting a smooth, shining red surface, similar to that present in scarlet fever, and non- vesicular erysipelas. The mucous membranes chiefly affected are those of the eyes, mouth, throat, and genito-urinary organs. The condition is similar to that found elsewhere, being an intense congestion going on to acute inflammation, involving also the submucous cellular tissues. Neither the digestive apparatus, nor the serous, osseous or fibrous tissues are directly affected. The glandular system is often involved in the characteristic congestion and inflammation of the drug, as are also the uterus and its appendages. The most characteristic expression of The therapeutic range of Baryta carb. has been outlined in the clinical symptoms already given. It is especially useful in the treatment of glandular troubles of the throat, particularly tonsilitis in those who are very sensitive to cold air, and always when exposed have tonsilitis with a tendency to suppuration. It removes this predisposition. It also cures enlarged and indurated tonsils, and submaxillary glands. It will sometimes cure fatty tumors, especially about the back, neck and scalp (wens). Crusta lactea in scrofulous children. Suppurative inflammation of the middle ear, post-nasal catarrh, chronic cough, etc., occurring in scrofulous children with swollen glands and enlarged tonsils. Also enlarged mesenteric glands. tabes mesenterica, the abdomen being swollen and hard, and feels heavy. Malnutrition in children; they are hungry, but refuse food, and are subject to colic. According to Allen (Opiumcit.) Baryta carb. “is an extremely valuable remedy in degenerative changes in coats of arteries, aneurism, arterial fibrosis, in apoplexy as the result of senility, etc.” The drug is valuable in many diseases of old people, but especially in paralysis and other affections arising from impaired brain function, which may or may not result from organic changes. In such cases the patient is usually very childish, has weakness of memory, and other symptoms indicating a half imbecile condition. Senile dementia; often the tongue is paralyzed, which, in itself, indicates Baryta. Sometimes we will find the same class of symptoms in scrofulous ill-nourished children, who are mentally weak, almost approaching idiocy. They do not want to play, have no memory, and are very slow in learning to talk, read or understand. This may result from masturbation, the patient giving all the appearances of premature senility, but more often it is a semi-imbecile condition, perhaps non-development of the brain resulting from defective nutrition and a strumous inheritance. Whichever it may be, Baryta will often induce such tissue changes as will effect a cure. It has been used in the suffocative catarrh of old people. Allen mentions it as a remedy for cataract. It is the remedy when in old men there is great sexual desire, but no ability, also for enlargement of the prostrate gland. Other conditions agreeing, it may cure impotence in young and middle aged men. Like Silicea it will cure foot-sweat especially when associated with other conditions indicating the drug.
Belladonna is especially useful in congestive types of diseases. In congestions and inflammations of a violent and intense character which come on suddenly, and especially when they tend to the rapid formation of pus. In all local congestions and inflammations as they are about to localize, or after localization has taken place, but therefore products have formed. Thus it is an excellent remedy in the first stage of boils and abscesses, and will, if indicated, often promote resolution, and prevent suppuration. So, too, in cellulitis, ovaritis, tonsilitis, etc., it will answer the same purpose. In such cases it is indicated by the great heat and redness of the affected part, throbbing pain, sensitiveness, etc. It is the most useful remedy in violent congestions and inflammations of the brain and meninges, being indicated by a violent headache, pressure, and delirium, together with a flushed face, throbbing carotids, and bounding pulse. The latter is the chief characteristic symptom of Belladonna, and may indicate its use in congestion or inflammation of any organ or tissue, or in any type of fever when such symptoms may be present. Studying the clinical range of Belladonna in detail we find it useful in the following conditions. First stage of cerebritis, meningitis, typhus cerebralis, and apoplexia, the symptoms corresponding. Also in acute mania, when there is furious rage, etc., desire to hide or escape, fear of imaginary things. This mania may be present in cerebral typhus, and other brain troubles mentioned. Also in delirium tremens. Belladonna is the chief remedy in congestive headaches. The pain is of a throbbing nature, and is always aggravated by noise, light or jarring, and by bending forward, better from bending backward. Such a headache may result from exposure to cold, especially a draft of air, or from having the hair cut, or from exposure to the rays of the sun. Congestions and inflammations of the eyes occurring suddenly and violently. Great pain, redness and swelling, and intolerance of light. Especially right eye. Retinitis. Iritis. First stage of otitis media, with terrific tearing pains into the ear and brain, roaring noises. Acute parotitis. Tonsilitis, worse on right side; parts bright red; worse on swallowing liquids. Pharyngitis, and other throat affections, characterized by intense hyperaemia and dryness of the parts, and tendency to spasmodic contraction. OEsophagitis. Stomatitis. Glossitis, the tongue being hot, dry, swollen, and painful. Gastritis. Belladonna is most often the first remedy indicated in inflammations of the abdominal viscera. Especially in peritonitis, whether puerperal or non-puerperal, also in metro-peritonitis. The abdomen is greatly distended, painful and very sensitive to touch; sensitive to the least jar; extreme pungent heat; violent pain. Acute hepatitis. Dysentery, especially in children, spasmodic constriction of sphincter, other symptoms agreeing. Cystitis. Nephritis. Orchitis and ovaritis, with characteristics already named. First stage of mastitis. Dysmenorrhoea; congestive type, in plethoric girls, violent pains, etc. Menorrhagia, bright red blood, or dark and decomposed; in plethoric girls, congestive symptoms. In all uterine troubles, including prolapsus, there is, in addition to other symptoms, a great pressing downwards, as if the organs were heavy and congested, and would press out at the vulva. Labor pains too weak or ceasing. Hour glass contractions. Rigid os. After-pains. Lochia hot and offensive, or suppressed. Retained placenta. Milk-leg. A most valuable remedy in uterine haemorrhage, especially post-partum, blood bright red and hot, in gushes, cerebral symptoms. Belladonna is very useful in a dry cough which comes from tickling in the larynx, usually worse in the evening, after going to bed. This may indicate the drug in acute laryngitis and bronchitis. There is always, in the former, dryness and soreness of the larynx, and hoarseness, with tendency to suffocation. Also useful in spasmodic and catarrhal croup, spasms of the glottis and whooping cough. In the two latter diseases it constitutes one of our most important remedies. Belladonna is a valuable remedy in some forms of skin disease, including erysipelas and exanthematous fevers, especially scarlatina. Its pathogenesis forms a perfect picture of the true Sydenham scarlet fever, in which it is indicated in a great majority of cases, but it is seldom if ever useful in low and malignant types of the disease, where blood poisoning is the chief characteristic. The same holds true in diphtheria, and all other forms of blood poisoning, as Belladonna does not poison the blood, and therefore not a remedy for that condition. In scarlet fever it is chiefly indicated by the smooth scarlet redness of the skin, sore throat, high fever and cerebral symptoms. In erysipelas it is indicated only when the swelling is red hot, smooth and shining (vesicular erysipelas, Rhus tox; oedematous, Apis), and tendency to cerebral irritation. Or the redness may have a central point and radiate in streaks from that point. Also phlegmonous erysipelas, first stage, with throbbing pains. It may also be indicated in measles where the cerebral symptoms are prominent. Boils, abscesses, etc., as already mentioned. Acute inflammations of glands. Belladonna may be indicated in worm fever, and that accompanying dentition, when there is cerebral irritation, but it is seldom useful in typhoid and malarial fevers, though it may be indicated in the beginning of the disease. In nervous disease Belladonna is often useful. Neuralgia, especially of the face and head. Sciatica, Gastralgia. Sometimes, though rarely, in paralysis. A valuable remedy in convulsions, tetanic, epileptic, puerperal hysterical, with the characteristic cerebral and other symptoms, great rush of blood to the head, face red and hot, etc. Chorea. Hydrophobia. Sunstroke. Rheumatism, especially lumbago.