The belladonna alkaloids are chemical compounds extracted from the leaves and roots of Belladonna plants; it is composed of atropine and scopolamine, which are the active ingredients of the plant. Belladonna (Atropa belladonna) plant is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Historically, it was used in Europe as a beauty herbal plant to enlarge the pupils of women, giving them a glowing and striking appearance. Essentially, it is known for its toxic and poisonous effects to humans, particularly children and in some animals; eating a small quantity of its leaves or berries can be fatal and the leaves can cause skin irritatation. Though widely regarded as unsafe, Belladonna has numerous medicinal properties; belladonna alkaloids when used alone or in combination with phenobarbital or other herbal remedies and medications contain potent beneficial health effects.
Belladonna alkaloids benefits
Belladonna alkaloids is used to prevent irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcers; according to a Journal of Chronic Diseases, it helps to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a chronic disorder that affects the digestive system especially the colon; essentially, IBS relaxes the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, prevent acute inflammation of the stomach and the intestines (gastroenteritis), and lowers stomach acid secretions. It helps to lower stomach cramp, abdominal pain, bloating gas, constipation, and diarrhea associated with IBS.
Belladonna helps to prevent obstructive sleep apnea; a publication documented in Sleep states that Belladonna prevents obstructive sleep apnea in infants with Breath-holding spells; it is a condition that leads to the obstruction of the airway in children mainly associated with loss of consciousness, a change in the usual breathing pattern, and a reduction in the heart rate.
Belladonna is used as a homeopathic treatment; according to British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, when Belladonna, a homeopathic remedy is administered to a healthy person, they experience symptomatic effects that are specific to that treatment. It is administered in a highly diluted concentration to trigger the natural healing response of the body without causing any risk of poisoning or death to the individual. The Homeopathic pathogenetic trials help to match the specific symptoms manifested by the patient when they are ill to provide the clinical basis for homeopathic prescriptions. Thus, it is used to treat diseases that present symptoms similar to those that belladonna alkaloids poisoning induce; some of these diseases include the headaches, common cold, menstrual cramps, arthritis, toothache, conjunctivitis, and sore throat.
Ideally, Belladonna alkaloids can also be used in the following medications, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine; it is used as a sedative, to prevent bronchial spasms in asthma and whooping cough. Also, it is used treat Parkinson's disease, to prevent joint pain (rheumatism), nerve problems, and hemorrhoids. Additionally, belladonna is used in plasters for treating psychiatric disorders, and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis).
Belladonna alkaloids side effects
Belladonna alkaloids can cause both mild and severe side effects including headache, dizziness, weakness, sleep problems (insomnia), nausea, vomiting, constipation, bloating, dry mouth, enlarged pupils, blurred vision, red dry skin, fever, rapid heartbeat, decreased sweating or urination, hallucinations, spasms, mental problems, convulsions, and coma.
Belladonna alkaloids dosage
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Belladonna is not safe when taken orally. Additionally, there is no enough evidence to prove the effectiveness and safety of this product. Therefore, it should only be used when prescribed by the doctors and should be taken as directed. The medicine is administered in different dosage forms such as Elixir, Tablet, Extended Release, Liquid, Capsule, and Tablet. Notably, it is usually administered as belladonna alkaloids and phenobarbital (Donnatal Extentabs) doses; some of the dosage information for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and stomach Ulcer in adults includes:
- Elixir: 5 to 10 ml taken orally 3 to 4 times a day depending on the condition and severity of symptoms.
- Extended-release tablets: 1 tablet taken orally after every 12 hours.
- Regular release tablets: 1 to 2 tablets taken orally 3 to 4 times a day depending on the condition and severity of symptoms.
Belladonna alkaloids warnings and drug interactions
Belladonna alkaloids are unsafe when taken during Pregnancy and breast-feeding, according to FDA pregnancy category C. Also, it may cause a Congestive heart failure (CHF) and rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).The sensitive and potentially toxic chemicals in Belladonna alkaloids might cause harmful effects to Patients with Down syndrome. Moderate interactions of belladonna alkaloids with other medications include; Belladonna contains atropine that can reduce the effects of cisapride; it contains chemicals that can cause a drying effect on drying medications called anticholinergic drugs. Medications used for allergies (antihistamines), blood thinners and anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin), antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors become less efficient when used with belladonna alkaloids.
- Journal of Chronic Diseases: Drug therapy in the unstable bowel (irritable colon)
- British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology: Ultramolecular homeopathy has no observable clinical effects. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled proving trial of Belladonna 30C
- Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine: Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of homoeopathic 'proving' for Belladonna C30.
- Sleep: Prevention of airway obstructions during sleep in infants with breath-holding spells by means of oral belladonna: a prospective double-blind crossover evaluation.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: belladonna