This post takes you from picking the leaves of fresh Belladonna to what the finished ointment looks like.
First, I bought the seeds from a reputable source, someone who has been in business for many years as a seed supplier. I bought from Horizonherbs.com. Then, I checked that the plants matched the photos from both that site and from botanical reference sites. I have seen where someone has mistakenly posted the wrong photograph for Belladonna before, and I wanted to make sure that I had the right plant. I’m fussy that way. Proper botanical identification is important to me.
Along the way, I learned that the active ingredients in Belladonna are called Tropane Alkaloids and that the quantity of alkaloids can be increased by the proper care and feeding of my plants. So, I did that. I enriched the soil with the big 3 Nitrogen-Phosphate-Potash, along with as many trace minerals as I could find. I also foliar fed once a week with a concentrated Kelp fertilizer, as these plants need lots of nitrogen to produce their alkaloids. I also read that to pick the leaves around 10 a.m. would be the time of the highest chemically active constituents, so that’s when I harvested leaves.
I researched on which method was best for extracting the alkaloids, and it turns out that a high percent alcohol is best. Since I am not using this internally, I purchased 91% rubbing alcohol. The ratio I use is 1:3. One part fresh leaf to 3 parts alcohol.
When I ran it through the tincture press, I noticed that there was an intense reddish color, and yet also an emerald green. It was very peculiar. I thought something was wrong with my product, so I did some more research. What I found is that the reddish color is a mark of the very best quality. My hard work in providing the soil nutrition paid off! Here’s 2 photos:
I read in this article: “A Treatise on Belladonna” issued by Lloyd Brothers, Cincinnati, Ohio. Copyright 1905. that “our experience teaches that to carry the full structural value of the Belladonna constituents into the Specific Medicine Belladonna (this is a trade name for a high quality product) necessitates the inclusion of the dark-colored semi-resin, between which and the structurally active compound exists a very intricate relationship.”
Here’s the jar after emptying it into the saucepan. See the green on the bottom?
Below is the saucepan. I am boiling off the alcohol outside, as the thought of any quantity of alcohol vapors inside the house just doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. This spoon and pan will never be used for anything else, ever again. And I am using an old electric hot plate, no gas flames around this stuff!
Here is what an alcohol based solution looks like when it’s boiling. Just so you know, water boils at 212 degrees f., and alcohol boils at 173 degrees f. I don’t know if you can see the vapors arising, this is stuff you do not want to breathe.
Bottom of the jar with some of the solution dripped into it as I monitored progress.
The light colored fluid at the bottom of this jar is mostly water. The upper portion is the Belladonna with coconut oil added in. All I have to do is to wait for the solution to cool and remove the Belladonna concentrate.
See how red this looks from this angle?
Here are two photos of the salve. This is after the addition of another 20 parts of coconut oil. So the ratio is 1:20, one part concentrate and 20 parts coconut oil. I can see the red pigment in portions of the tins from this angle, yet from the other direction it looks like a dark red salve.
Update on usage, 09/23/2015. After using the test sample, here’s the results: I personally use only as much as what you would put on your lower lip when applying lip gloss. DO NOT USE THIS AS LIP GLOSS! I am only stating that I used a tiny bit… and that’s what came to mind for a reference point. I am around this stuff all the time, so I figure that to use only a tiny bit would be enough.
My volunteer test subject is an adult male, very physically active, and has been a licensed massage therapist for 8 years. He is very much into alternative medicine and has very good body awareness. He applied a light coating to his forearms and one knee and developed a headache and light visual disturbances. He washed off the salve and the effects immediately disappeared.
Obviously, a 1:20 ratio is still too strong. What we are wondering is if this is a reflex headache from a great deal of muscle tension being released at once?
What do you think?