In use in medicine are a number of preparations made from the leaves and roots of Atropa Belladonna (Fam. Solanacece), a bushy perennial, native of Eurasia, but cultivated in northern temperate zones generally. The leaves yield about 0.3% of mydriatic alkaloids, and the root yields about 0.45%.

Compare Properties of powdered leaf and powdered root:

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Assay of powdered Belladonna Root. - In a flask place 15 Gm. Belladonna Root, No. 60 powder; add 50 mils chloroform and 100 mils ether; shake vigorously, and then let it stand about 10 minutes. Add 5 mils NH4OH, and agitate every 10 minutes for the next 2 hours. Next add 15 mils distilled H2O; shake mixture well, let settle, then decant 100 mils and filter it through purified cotton into a separatory funnel, adding ether rinsings from graduate and expressed cotton. The alkaloids in solution may now be extracted by repeated shakings out of the solution with weak sulphuric acid. Place acid washings in a separator, add NH4OH until solution is plainly alkaline (litmus); then repeatedly shake out with chloroform, which will again extract the alkaloids. Now exaporate all the chloroform from the washings, carefully dry, then dissolve the residue in exactly 5 mils N/10 H2SO4 V. S., titrate the excess acid with N/50 KOH, V. S., using for indicator cochineal T. S. "Each mil of N/10 H2SO4 V. S., consumed corresponds to 28.92 mg. of the total alkaloids of Belladonna Root."

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The principal alkaloid of Belladonna is atropine (C17H22O3N). Belladonna is used to diminish secretion, relax spasm of involuntary muscle, stimulate a depressed nervous system, or produce dilatation of the pupil.

Official Preparations.

Extractum Belladonnas Foliorum, 1.2% strength. Dose, 0.015 Gm. Tinctura Belladonnae Foliorum, 0.03% strength. Dose, 0.75 mil. Unguentum Belladonnas, made from the extract; 10% of the extract. Fluidextractum Belladonnas Radicis, 0.45% strength. Dose, 0.05 mil. Linimentum Belladonnas, 95% Fluidextract. Atropina. Dose, 0.0005 Gm. Atrophias Sulphas. Dose, 0.0005 Gm.