Atropa belladonna (botany)
|Atropa belladonna (botany)|
Drawing of A. belladonna
|Common names||Belladonna, Deadly nightshade|
|Active constituents||Tropane alkaloids|
Atropa belladonna, commonly referred to as belladonna or deadly nightshade, is a plant in the tomato family Solanaceae, which is native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. It has deliriant tropane alkaloids. The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane alkaloids. These toxins include atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine which cause a bizarre delirium and hallucinations (analogous to datura), and are also used as pharmaceutical anticholinergics.
The genus name Atropa comes from Atropos, one of the three Fates in Greek mythology, and the name "bella donna" is derived from Italian, it means "pretty woman" because the herb was used in eye drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive.