“BELLADONNA, n. In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.” Ambrose Bierce
This is the beautiful Belladonna , more commonly known as the Deadly Nightshade. It is one of my favorite plants and I can never bring myself to pull it out of the beds. She winds herself around everything and anything and her beautiful flowers weave the loveliest and most bewitching purple spell all over my gardens. As beautiful as this plant is , it is also quite dangerous as its main constituent is Atropine ; a pretty deadly poison. the plant produces berries which are sweet and juicy , gorgeous and incredibly toxic which is probably why you don't see it hanging around in very many gardens.
Most people are astonished to find out that this lovely lady is a direct relative of so many of our culinary favorites, Tomatoes, Potatoes and Peppers are all part of the nightshade family. This is also why one of the first foods that I remove from anyones diet when they come to me for food recommendations for allergies are these three plants. People can have nightshade allergies for decades and never realize it until you remove them for two weeks. Once they are out of your diet for awhile and you put them back in, if you are allergic to them you realize it quickly. As much as I love eggplant I can't eat it. The second I do, I get blisters in my mouth. It's tragic, but when you know it's familial origins it really makes sense.
Belladonna has some pretty incredible healing properties. Because of it's deadly qualities , I use it energetically, Belladonna is my go to plant whenever I'm feeling a bit nervous or stressed. She has the loveliest sedative properties so I just go into my garden and sit with her for awhile. I've also discovered that if I'm wanting to understand a situation clearly that if I simply ask her for some guidance that the beautiful Belladonna will help to open up my third eye, giving me the vision that I need to see and understand the situation more fully. Belladonna is also a powerful antispasmodic so those with chronic IBS, IBD and Crohns might easily benefit from spending a little bit of time in conversation with this ancient and very wise lady!
Once again, all parts of the Deadly Nightshade are very poisonous, so please don't ever attempt to use it internally or even applied topically as a poultice or ointment!
Now for a little Belladonna by Siouxsie and the Banshees!