What is belladonna?
Belladonna is a herb that has been used in medicine for centuries as a pain reliever, muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory, with a history of medically documented use since 1809.
Belladonna has received a lot of ‘bad press’ over the years, as you’ll quickly discover if you do a simple Google search. The reason for this is because there have been well-documented instances online where Belladonna (not Belladonna Tincture – and we’ll unpack the differences a little more below) is linked to negative side effects. Mostly, this has been when the ingredient was used in an unregulated, highly concentrated form, and easily purchased over the counter and given at doses undetermined by health professionals. Many of these instances have occurred in the US where belladonna is not regulated or approved for use in compounded preparations, unlike in Australia.
Belladonna vs belladonna tincture
At Willby’s, we use Belladonna Tincture, which is different to (but derived from) Belladonna. It’s important to distinguish between the two when doing research on Belladonna as an ingredient, and especially when determining its safety.
Belladonna Tincture, versus Belladonna, is made from the leaves of the Belladonna plant and not the berries, which falls within the therapeutic concentrations we require. It also enables us to quantify the concentration of the active ingredient leading to accurate tailored dosing for babies. We carry out chemical analysis on our product to ensure the concentration of a batch is consistent and correct. More importantly, the Belladonna Tincture we use is imported from a source which complies with a British Pharmacopeial (BP) grade and operates as a GMP/cGMP manufacturing site. This gives us full confidence in the quality and regulation of the ingredient we are sourcing.
Belladonna tincture is produced to a standard (British Pharmacopoeia) for medicinal use in compounded medications in Australia. It can be purchased for use by registered pharmacists.
What does belladonna tincture do?
Belladonna tincture is a highly effective antispasmodic and is especially effective in reducing cramping of the stomach in infants and adults with conditions like colic or irritable bowel syndrome.
Belladonna tincture relieves spasm, by relaxing and soothing muscles. It has been used to treat conditions such as colitis, overactive bladder, diverticulitis, renal and biliary colic, irritable bowel syndrome and infant colic. Belladonna tincture also reduces secretions of stomach acid and this dual role makes it effective in treating baby colic and reflux.
Is belladonna safe?
Belladonna tincture is classified as Schedule 2 in the SUSMP (Standard for the uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons) which is also known as the Poison’s Standard produced by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration). In the quantities we use, it is considered an S2 medication — this means it does not require a prescription but can only be sold from a pharmacy.
If used correctly in appropriate doses set by pharmacists, it is a safe and effective treatment for many conditions.
At Willby’s, you can be assured that we use Belladonna Tincture in doses that are well within therapeutic guidelines for babies. Dosages are tailored to each baby and adjusted according to weight and symptoms. All initial doses are well below the maximum allowable and are approved and adjusted by registered pharmacists.
For more information on Belladonna Tincture, including potential side effects, head here. You can also call our team and speak to one of our pharmacists if you’d like more information on Belladonna Tincture and how we use it at Willby’s.