Atropa belladonna, commonly known as belladonna or deadly nightshade, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the nightshade family Solanaceae, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc. It is native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. Its distribution extends from Great Britain in the west to western Ukraine and the Iranian province of Gilan in the east. It is also naturalised and/or introduced in some parts of Canada and the United States.
The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane alkaloids. These toxins include atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine, which cause a bizarre delirium and hallucinations, and are also used as pharmaceutical anticholinergics.
Atropa belladonna has unpredictable effects. The antidote for belladonna poisoning is physostigmine or pilocarpine, the same as for atropine.
It has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison.
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