The compound in belladonna which dilates the pupils, atropine, is only one of several toxic and psychoactive ingredients. All parts of the plant are capable of killing or forever reducing the mental capacities in humans, but it’s the shiny black berries which are most attractive to animals and small children, usually resulting in narcosis, paralysis and ultimately, death. Even slight contact with this charming plant can cause severe skin issues, so when handling, always wear gloves.
Belladonna is an extremely poisonous plant. Another name given to belladonna is ‘deadly nightshade’. It is highly toxic plant, since many toxins are present in all the parts of the plant especially in the seeds, roots and leaves. It has been known for centuries as a poison.
In earlier times, it was believed that belladonna plant was used in witchcraft, being equated with aggressive female sexuality and feelings of flight. The information on atropa belladonna folklore further reveals that witches used a mixture of belladonna, opium poppy and other poisonous plants in flying ointment they applied to help them fly to gatherings with other witches.