Did women ever put deadly nightshade in their eyes?
The juice of the berries of the plant known as deadly nightshade was used by women in Italy during the Middle Ages to dilate their pupils by putting the juice in their eyes. By dilating their pupils, women thought they would be more attractive, which is why the plant is also known as “belladonna”, which is Italian for beautiful woman.
The juice of the berries is also used to make the drug atropine, which makes the pupils bigger for eye examinations. This drug is used even today, and eye surgeries are rarely performed without the use of this drug.
What happens if deadly nightshade is ingested?
If the berries of deadly nightshade are ingested, it could be lethal. Some symptoms include headaches, convulsions, and dilated pupils. Just two ingested berries can kill a child, and 10 to 20 berries could kill an adult. Just touching the plant can also cause irritation.