Sunday, March 24, 2019
Atropa belladona: The Deadly Nightshade :: Botany
genus Atropa buzzeradona The Deadly NightshadeWhat might a individual bothered with intense gas, or flatulence to be blunt, do in forthwiths society? Perhaps they would visit a type of health pabulum store for a type of general natural remedy. Often, the mangers at much(prenominal) stores recommend that comphrey tea be taken to relieve the problem. However, after victorious just such a concoction of the tea powder and water, champion man became light-headed, agitated, confused and had problems urinating. His pupils became dilated, he had a rapid heartbeat and sensitive dry skin. After admitting himself to the hospital, the doctors concluded that his comphrey tea was contaminated by Atropa belladona.....the deadly nightshade.(11) This very poisonous plant acquired its name from Theophrastus back in the third century B.C. It has been termed the Mandragora of Theophrastus. Its English name, Dwaule, is derived from a Dutch countersign dwaul, meaning to wander or to be delirious .(1) It is a perennial herb, and single of the more important species of the nightshade family. Because it is so poisonous it was given the name Atropos, which is the Grecian word for inflexible. Another meaning is that it refers to one of three Fates who cut the absorb of life.(2) Taxonomically, Atropa belladona is classified in the Solanaceae, a family that too includes the common potato, tobacco and chile pepper. This species probably came originally from southern Europe and Asia, only when is today naturalized in many parts of the world. The plant itself stands between two and six feet in height. Its green berries change to a shiny purplish-black as the plant matures. Some people record the berry is sweet and others say its bitter tasting, but all agree that the size is like the common cherry. To many, the entire plant has a very nauseating odor. The plant also has a thick root, a five-lobed calyx, leaves that are simple, ovate and alternate, and solitary bell shaped flow ers. Today, belladona is a very important plant to science and the medical exam field because of its chemical content. Dioscorides knew of the active constituent of this species in the first century, but it wasnt discovered for another eighteen hundred-years. In 1809, the chemical was isolated and by 1819 it was classified an alkaloid. Today, we know that belladona contains atropine, scopolomine and hyoscyamine. According to the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, atropine is extremely poisonous.(2) It is so potent that a dilution of only 1 part in 130,000 parts water is competent to dilate the pupil of a cats eye.