Belladonna – Deadly Nightshade

Belladonna – Deadly Nightshade

The mother tincture is prepared from the whole fresh plant, gathered at the end of flowering. Atropa belladonna L. N.O. Solanceae.

When potentised, the Belladonna tincture made from Deadly Nightshade is one of the most effective polychrests. There is scarcely another plant which has undergone such thorough pharmacological investigation as has Belladonna in respect to its ac- tive components (Belladonna alkaloids).

Besides its effect on the excretory processes, particularly the excretion of urine and of carbonic acid via respiration, the action on bile-excretion was especially noted; this is increased by Belladonna.

But it is only the homoeopathic provings which resulted in the comprehensive tracery of symptoms which characterise Belladonna as one of the greatest poly- chrests in homoeopathy.

Belladonna’s typical complaints are aggravated principally in the afternoon and evening, also by touch and jarring, with a general hypersensitivity to cold air, whilst the nerve pains are generally worse for cold. Also typical is the sudden onset of all complaints. It can also happen that the complaints are further intensified and (partic- ularly in nerve pains) then suddenly cease, only to reappear in another place.

Violent delirium is characteristic of Belladonna, above all in fever; the patient may also see ghosts or have hallucinations of horrible faces, animals and insects, linked with anxiety in otherwise apparently healthy patients, particularly in chil- dren, who may previously have been treated with Atropine eye-drops. Such a case was observed by Dr. Hille of Reutlingen, and was cured very quickly with injections of Belladonna (see “Homotoxin-Journal” 9, 35, Vol. 2, 1970). Agitating, anxious dreams also frequently occur, with starting-up in sleep, accompanied by a typical ex- cessive flow of blood to the head. This is a further characteristic symptom of Bel- ladonna, the head being hot whilst the extremities are cold. Similar conditions occur in Chamomilla which, according to Nash, like Belladonna is one of the best reme- dies for children’s ailments.

Frequently there are headaches, linked with vertigo and possibly swimming in the head and great somnolence. Likewise typical of Belladonna is a strong pulsation in the carotid and temporal arteries, (cf. Glonoin), especially when lying, with the in- creased pressure of blood to the head, as already mentioned. The whole head may be red, or take on a purplish colour, with possible apoplexy and all head-complaints ag- gravated on lying down.

Belladonna’s typical action on the eyes is also well-known. It is also characterised by special symptoms, known from Atropine poisoning. There are cramps in the mus- cles of the eyes and eyelids, enlargement of the pupils and, in particular, an inflam- matory or irritative condition of the conjunctiva with great photophobia, lachryma- tion and pain, linked with engorgement of the inner blood-vessels, weakness of vi- sion, dimness of vision, and disturbances of vision including sparks, fire, fog and diplopia, all pointing to the retina being affected. There is also a typical right-sided ciliary neuralgia (cf. Kalmia, Sanguinaria, Chelidonium and others).

Apart from this, specific action belongs to Belladonna in all localised inflamma- tions, in the first stage where no suppuration has taken place. Thus Belladonna is in- dicated in incipient boils, in tonsillitis, and also in surface-inflammations such as erysipelas, conjunctivitis, and scarlet fever, and additionally in otitis, cholangitis, meningitis and other inflammatory affections.

A delirious state occurs particularly with a violent rise in temperature (as in Stra- monium, Hyoscyamus and Veratrum), with considerably raised sensitivity of all the senses and a disproportionate sensitivity to touch, noises, light, cold air – especially draughts and jarring – as can also be the case in Apis Mellifica, (e.g. in meningitis). There is also a typical dryness in the throat, with reddened pharynx and difficulty in swallowing, such as one finds in sore throat and pharyngitis. At the same time, the

Belladonna inflammation has all the general symptoms of inflammations, i.e. red- ness, swelling, heat and pain, with sweat usually present also, so that, when uncov- ered, the bed of a Belladonna patient will steam.

Apart from nasal catarrhs, mostly with only slight watery discharge, we also find catarrhs of the larynx and trachea, with slight mucus, accompanied by a tickling sen- sation in the larynx and a typical cough which is dry, rough and barking, with hoarse- ness. Haemoptysis may occur if violent coughing bursts the typically engorged blood-vessels. Because of the engorgement of the lung-tissue, there is air-hunger and pressing pains on breathing, with typical aggravation in the evening and at night.

In keeping with Belladonna’s typical engorgement and swelling of mucosa, the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and the tongue with its raised papillae are bright red and dry withal, and there may be a catarrh of the soft palate with inflam- matory swelling, extending from the tonsils, linked with overwhelming thirst.

Usually this is accompanied by difficulty and pain in swallowing, and, on at- tempting to drink, by oesophageal cramps. In the digestive organs, Belladonna af- fects acute gastric catarrhs, which are linked with violent pains in the stomach and, above all, with a sensation of heavy pressure, with the pain extending to the back. Here one often finds vague symptoms which may be traced back to a cholangitis or a cholecystitis and in which the whole epigastrium is involved. Belladonna is one of the most important remedies in diseases of the gall-bladder, also in disturbances of the bile-secretion, and especially where there are inflammatory symptoms. In addi- tion there are often a putrid taste, nausea, eructations, distension of the epigastrium with retching and vomiting, and also hiccoughs.

Numerous Belladonna symptoms are localised on the right side of the body (gall- bladder, headache, tonsillitis etc.), although of course Belladonna can also be indi- cated in left-sided complaints where there are the typical symptoms of dryness of the mucosa etc.

The author was once able to cure an extreme case of exophthalmos with Bel- ladonna. The patient was a 40-year-old farmer’s wife from the Black Forest, whose right eye was enormously enlarged (rather like a calf’s eye), and bulged out of the socket with a fixed stare. The exophthalmos, which up to that point had resisted all attempts at treatment, returned completely to normal in about two months with in- jections of Belladonna three times a week, using potencies 2X, 10X and 30X.

Scarlet fever-like skin rashes are also an indication for Belladonna, usually ac- companied as they are by tonsillitis. Thus Belladonna is indicated in scarlet fever.

However, Belladonna can also have a beneficial action in inflammations generally,

e.g. in cystitis, pyelitis and other localised affections, especially so in congestive states of the uterus with bearing-down pains (like Sepia, Lilium Tigrinum and possi- bly also Nux Vomica) where frequently typical cramps and colicky symptoms are present and, for example, the menstrual blood may be unusually offensive.

In contrast to Colocynth, Belladonna has a typical tendency to straighten up (opisthotonos), so that Belladonna may be of use in tetanus. Stauffer mentions a case which was cured.

To some extent, Belladonna may be considered the initial remedy for all reaction phases, to be used right at the start of such acute erythemas as measles, rubella and scarlet fever, possibly also erysipelas. It should also be used in tonsillitis, boils, cholecystitis, gall-stone colic, cystitis – especially where there are spasmodic symp- toms – in oophoritis, endometritis, and also in coughs, hoarseness and catarrhs of the air-passages, in acute gastritis, and particularly in inflammatory conditions of the conjunctiva, in exophthalmos, and especially in headaches and neuralgias when these are not ameliorated by lying down, but may get worse; or if they come on sud- denly, cease just as suddenly, and then reappear in another place.

Belladonna is such a thoroughly effective remedy in all acute symptoms of a lo- calised kind that one may prescribe it by way of experiment at the beginning of any acute complaint. What frequently then happens is that another characteristic symp- tom-picture develops, or, if the condition was an indication for Belladonna, the symptoms die down rapidly.

Belladonna is frequently indicated after Aconitum, when the diffuse chill-symp- toms of Aconite with hot, dry skin have passed the critical point and now localised symptoms such as pharyngitis, bronchitis, etc. occur.

If we summarise the symptoms of Belladonna once again, the following typical picture of the remedy’s action emerges:

  1. Surge of blood to the head. Extremities cold. Head flushed, congested. Apoplexy. Meningitis. Conjunctival infection. Conjunctivitis. Exophthalmos (right side).
  2. Pulsation of the arteries. Palpitations, worse on lying.
  3. Delirium and states of confusion. Hallucinations.
  4. Localised inflammations in the first stage, without suppuration. Boils, tonsillitis, erysipelas, conjunctivitis, scarlet fever, otitis, cholangitis, etc.
  5. Pains which occur suddenly and suddenly disappear, ameliorated by stretching the body straight (opisthotonos). May be tried in tetanus. Aggravated by cold air, light, touch, jarring. Headache, especially right side, worse lying down, after- noon and evening.
  6. Bed steaming in fever. Dry mucosa. Barking cough. Bronchitis. Laryngitis. Pharyngitis.
  7. Haemorrhages bright red, clean, possibly with clots. Offensive menstrual blood. Epistaxis. Apoplexy. Bleeding of the skin.
  8. Biliary colic. Diseases of the bile ducts, with a tendency to stretch backwards (not to double up). Cholangitis. Cholecystitis. Cholelithiasis.

The German Monograph-Preparation Commission for the Homoeopathic Field of Therapy has, under the Preparation Monograph for Atropa belladonna, published the following indication(s) in the German Bundesanzeiger (German Federal Gazette) for belladonna: inflammation accompanied by high fever of the tonsils, respiratory organs, gastrointestinal tract, urinary and reproductive organs, meninges, skin, and joints.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *