EFFICIENT CULTIVATION OF BELLADONNA

S ESWARA REDDY
dr_esreddy@yahoo.co.in

Botanical Name: Atropa belladonna L. Family: Solanceae
Belladonna is an important source for atropane alkaloids which include hyoscine, hyoscyamine and atropine which are used in medicine because of their antipholinergic and roots of Indian belladonna (A. acuminata) and European belladonna (A. belladonna) are used in the pharmaceutical industry. The Indian belladonna is found wild in the forest of Western Himalayas while European belladonna is grown in Italy, Yugoslavia, USSR, Rumania and UK. These species are tall herbs bearing yellow (A. acuminata) or purple flowers (A. belladonna).India is importing about 11 tones of belladonna extract worth of nearly: 57 lakhs to meet domestic requirement, as the supply of belladonna from natural source is undependable and not at all sufficient.

It is a temperate cool season crop found growing successfully above I5OO MSL in Northern hills. Berries are collected and crushed gently to separate the seeds and dry them. Good healthy arid heavy seeds air, sowing during June-July in raised beds at the rate of 1 kg per 100 m2. The seeds take 4-6 weeks to germinate and the seedlings when they attain to a height of 15-20 cm1 ate "transplanted in the field at spacing of 60 x 60 cm or 60 x 45 cm and irrigated till they establish. A basal dose of 2-3 tones of FYM besides 60 and 40 kg N arid P per ha are applied. Again §0 kg N/ha is given in 4-5 splits as top dressing after every harvest. The alkaloid content increases steadily from transplanting till flowering stage. The harvesting consists of cutting the leaves about 30 cm above ground level using pruning scissors. A total of 5-6 cuttings can be obtained normally. The leaves so harvested are sun dried by spreading them in thin layers and turning them frequently. The woody stems are discarded before drying. On an average, 200 to 400 kg of dried leaves can be obtained from one hectare. 14th

DECE 2011

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