A little belladona for your beautiful eyes?

Belladonna is a famously poisonous plant, its fruits often known as the devil’s berries.

Deadly nightshade, a solaneacea, in the same family as the datura, eggplant, tomato or potato plants, belladonna also had its cosmetic uses.


Agnolo Bronzino(1503-1572)

Used to replicate a young woman’s wide eyed fresh beauty, and the dilated eyes of an aroused woman, a few drops helped to dilate the pupil to create the similar desired effect…to appear seductive. You can read more about the drug/poison here.


In France, the debate continues around the place and statue of the herb doctor, plant based medecine or herbology. While other countries in Europe, notably the UK or Germany, have been more open to the profession, the french herbologist walks a taut thin line in terms of what can be legally concocted or sold.

In 2016 one of the oldest of modern Parisian herboristerie’s was legally condemned for what was considered malpractice. It comes as no surprise that local pharmacies were in part behind the initial grievance against the proprietor of the shop, a Dr. in Pharmacy, who chose to exercise nonetheless as a herb specialist.

To get a sense of the sorts of issues at stake here are some conferences and debates worth listening. While the recordings date, the concerns remain pertinent. (In french).

In the meanwhile steer clear of any belladonna these days.

And while it is the (be)witching hour after all, belladonna is known to provoke blindness.

Happy Samhain.