Scopola carniolica

Botanical Name : Scopola carniolica
Family: Solanaceae
Genus:     Scopolia
Species: S. carniolica
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class:     Magnoliopsida
Order:     Solanales

Synonyms: Scopolia atropoides. Scopola. Belladonna Scopola. Japanese Belladonna.

Common Name: Henbane bell

Habitat:Scopolia carniolica is native to  Europe and Asia ( Bavaria, Austro-Hungary, South-western Russia.) It grows on wet soils in beech forests of southeastern Europe from lowlands to the mountainous zones.

Description:
Scopolia  carniolica is a little-known creeping, hardy perennial plant.It grows to 60 centimetres (24 in) in height, and has thin leaves, its fruit being a transversely dehiscent capsule. It has dark violet flowers on long hanging stems.

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The rhizome is horizontal, curved, almost cylindrical, and somewhat flattened vertically. It is usually found in pieces from 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 cm. long and 0.8 to 1.6 cm. broad, often split before drying. The upper surface is marked with closely-set, large, cup-shaped stem-scars, and the colour varies from yellowish-brown to dark, brownish-grey; the fracture is short and sharp, showing a yellowish-white bark, its corky layer dark brown, or pale brown, the central pith being rather horny. It has scarcely any odour, and the taste is sweetish at first, but afterwards bitter and strongly acrid. The Japanese rhizome is larger, with circular scars, not whitish when broken, and having a slightly mousy, narcotic odour, and practically no bitterness in taste.

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Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Dried rhizome.
Constituents: The alkaloidal constituents are similar to those of Belladonna Root, hyoscine (scopolamine), however, predominating. Inactive scopolamine, also known as atroscine, is present, melting at 82 degrees C. (179.6 degrees F.) and yielding by hydrolysis tropic acid and scopoline. The result of an assay of many tons of the root of Atropa Belladonna and of the rhizome of Scopolia, each of the best qualities to be found in the American market, showed that while belladonna yielded on an average 0.50 per cent of alkaloid, Scopolia yielded 0.58 per cent.

Narcotic and mydriatic. The medicinal properties are very like those of belladonna, but the crude drug has been scarcely used at all in internal medicine. Much of the hyoscine of commerce has been obtained from it during the last decade.

Many of the older investigations into the effects of scopolamine are contradictory because of the failure to realize the quantitative difference between racemic and laevoscopolamine. The former, sometimes called atrocine, is very much less powerful in its effects upon the autonomic nerves, though its action upon the central nervous system is about equal.

Its most important use is as a cerebral sedative, especially in manias, hysteria, and drug habits, while in insomnias and epilepsy it increases the effects of other drugs, such as morphine and bromides. It is also useful to allay sexual excitement. In 1900 the use of a combination of morphine and scopolamine was introduced as a means of producing anaesthesia, under the name of ‘Twilight Sleep,’ either alone or as a preliminary to chloroform or ether, as its peculiar effect in large doses is to cause loss of memory, including that of pain. However, the anaesthesia has often been found to be unsatisfactory, while the mortality has been high.

Known Hazards:Scopola carniolica is a  poisonous plant.It is poisonous, because it contains abundant quantities of tropane alkaloids, particularly atropine. The quantity of atropine is the highest in the root.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopolia_carniolica
http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/scopolia-carniolica/671.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/scopol33.html

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