In reply to the recent notes on Belladonna - I agree, the plant
(atropa belladonna) is very poisonous. The black berries are the
most poisonous parts, and they are just ripening as we spwak in the
UK at least. It would be nice to know how many milligrams of atropine
there are in a single ripe berry - anyone know the answer to this??
The palnt contains tropane alkaloids (mainly atropine and hyoscine)
both of which are used in medicine, mainly in the practice of
anaesthesia. Anaesthetists most probably use more atropine and
hyscoine than any other medics.
Although atropine was greatly used in the distant past to reduce
the excessive secretions due to ETHER, since we dont use ether
any more in the UK the main use of atropine in medicine is to
increase the heart rate in cases when the heart rate is too slow.
Department of anaesthesia, city hospital, nottingham, UK
dicknickalls at compuserve.com