An early 19th century blue and white porcelain apothecary jar with a gold label “Ex. Bellad”. Extracted form the leaves of the poisonous Deadly Nightshade plant, the alkaloid Belladonna has been used since the 15th century in Europe as an antispasmodic and mydriatic (pupil dilator).
The eyes become physiologically dilated during mating and sexual activity, and reproduction of this mechanism is thought to increase attractiveness in females, hence the literal translation “Beautiful lady”.
- From the Phisick collection