Belladonna ointment can be used externally to treat muscle and joint pain, nerve damage and nerve pain, back pain, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, pulled muscles, tense muscles, sciatica, pulled and torn tendons, tendinitis and bursitis, carpal tunnel, arthritis, rheumatism, pain and bruising after surgical procedures, and the pain of menstrual cramps. Belladonna is a nervine relaxant and has the ability to calm the nerves, reduce physical and psychological tension, and directly affects the nervous system to induce sleep.
The ointment rubbed into the temples, neck, and shoulders will help one relax and fall asleep. If applied to the affected area 1-2 hours before bedtime it can help you sleep through anxiety, chronic pain, or the pain of a recent injury. When used externally as a sedative, belladonna has the added benefit of providing visually stimulating but pleasant dreams.
Made with atropa belladonna, poplar buds (populus balsamifera), sunflower oil (helianthus annuus), and beeswax.
Medicinal Use Scale:
Belladonna is many things: a deadly poison, a potent medicine, a sacred plant since prehistory, a plot device in ancient and modern literature, and the ultimate witches’ herb. It is so beloved of the Devil, it’s said he only leaves it unattended on May Eve while he is busy being worshipped at the witches’ sabbath. Of the witches’ flying ointment recipes surviving today, almost all of them contain belladonna and it is usually the main active ingredient. The tropane alkaloids in belladonna can cause heart palpitations in large doses which can make one feel like they are flying or falling and this herb can also cause very vivid lucid dreams. This combination creates an effect similar to a shamanic otherworld journey but the witch’s flight is astral, not physical. Belladonna is a dream herb par excellence. Apply the ointment 1-3 hours before bed to use for dream work.
Ancient Greek mythology and literature ties belladonna to famous witches like Circe and Medea who learned about it from the titans Hekate and Prometheus. The whole Atropa genus is named for Atropos, one of the primodial “Three Fates” who are the dark children of Nyx (night) along with sleep (Hypnos), dream (Oneiros), death (Thanatos) and others. Atropos is the one who cuts the individual threads of life that leads to all our deaths. Though belladonna is named for Atropos, in mythology poisons like it were birthed by Hekate and knowledge of their use was taught by her. It is often connected to pagan initiation ceremonies and rites of passage much like its fellow poisonous nightshades.
Belladonna also has associations with the ancient ecstatic cults of Artemis and Dionysus, the planet and deity Saturn, death, necromancy, the underworld, and the ancestors. Belladonna ointment can be used in reverential ceremonies to connect with ancestors and underworld deities, but can just as accurately be used for intoxicant-fueled debaucherous ecstatic rituals in honour of the gods of madness and chaos (beware of maenads).
In European folk magic belladonna is often treated as an elf of fairy and live plants were petitioned to grant wishes like a genii. Depending on the region it is usually approached by women and asked for prosperity, aid with a problem, or, more commonly, to make the petitioner more sexually attractive so they can rope in some suitors. If you try this just be careful not to fall for belladonna’s woodland siren song of sweet, juicy berries as they will kill you (that’s how the seeds germinate).
In modern folk magic belladonna can help with purification in the form of cutting harmful and unwanted people, habits, and emotions out of your life and protect you from letting them back in. Borrow Atropos’ scissors and Marie Kondo the crap out of your life.