DEADLY NIGHTSHADE, BELLADONNA: Narcotic, sedative, hallucinogen, anodyne and poison used for 100s of years in medicine and magic. Can easily be fatal if misused. If you have children around, this plant is particularly dangerous because the berries (12 are often fatal —all parts of the plant are poisonous) look good and do not taste bad. Belladonna is an ingredient of witches’ flying potions and, besides its use by commercial drug companies, is best known as a witches’ herb. The story is that witches made an ointment out of this plant and applied it to broomsticks and masturbated with those broomsticks. Think this practice has something to do with the derivation of the phrase, “being swept away.” Better than sweeping floors. …

The root was combined with wine by Thessalian witches to make an effective love potion and was also a popular additive to drinks in the Middle Ages to “incite to unchasteness.” Unfortunately, it also easily incited to death. Doses are critical. There were times in history when a person could be legally jailed or executed as a witch for having this plant in his/her garden. But we’re beyond that now.

Contains atropine, which now has great value as an antidote for nerve gas poisoning. My dog’s life was once saved by a veterinarian who gave it atropine as an antidote for poisoning from a flea collar (many insecticides are “recycled” nerve gas components). It is a hardy perennial that grows 3-4′ tall in sun or shade and likes moisture and rich soil high in calcium.

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