Despite the ambiguity about the negative effects of belladonna on the human health, recent discoveries of exotic medicines, including belladonna, in the healthcare industry is giving rise to the belladonna market. However, there is no scientific evidence to the positive effects of belladonna on any health condition, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Belladonna is considered unsafe when taken orally, and can cause dry mouth, fever, or even hallucinations in severe cases, which may hamper the demand for belladonna as a medicine. This will ultimately impede growth of the belladonna market.
Nevertheless, various research institutes across the world are conducting research on the unique medicinal properties of belladonna leaves to discover innovative drugs. Recent discoveries on the effectiveness of belladonna in curing infections caused due to food poisoning bacteria can bolster its pharmaceutical applications, boosting growth of the belladonna market in the upcoming years.
In addition, growing demand for complementary and alternative medicines is creating a potential for growth in the belladonna market. Leading pharmaceutical companies are investing heavily on research and development to discover modern medicines or recreational drugs by using belladonna. Increasing penetration of complementary and alternative medicines and a mounting number of healthcare companies investing in the alternative medicine industry is likely to augur well for the belladonna market in the upcoming years.
Global Belladonna Market: Snapshot
The belladonna market is envisaged to increase its growth with popular medicinal uses of the herb’s two chemicals, viz. atropine and scopolamine. Doctors may use atropine to dilate the eyes of patients for medical examination. The chemical is also used as an antidote to chemical warfare agents and insect poison. Just as scopolamine, it could help reduce bodily discharge. However, it may not be as effective in heart rate control and as a muscle relaxant. On the other hand, scopolamine could be used to help with acid reflux and nauseas as it can reduce stomach acid.
Although belladonna is marred with the tag of ‘poisonous plant,’ throughout history, it has been used in many different ways. The herb can be used to treat a range of diseases, provided it is prescribed by a doctor. Pink eye, Parkinson’s, diverticulitis, excessive nighttime urination, and stomach ulcers can be treated using the herb. Extra caution could be required to store medicines with belladonna. It can be a safe bet for use in regular medicinal practices, only if it is used in appropriate doses. Infants and children could be at risk even if a small amount of the berries or leaves is consumed.
Popularity of Complementary and Alternative Medicines to Drive Belladonna Market
Intercultural changes attributed to globalization has led to the increased use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in both, developed and developing countries. Consumers’ attitude towards the empowering and holistic aspects of treatments involving alternative medicines is the primary reason why the penetration of belladonna is increasing across the globe. Belladonna is mainly used in homeopathy, which acts as an alternative medicine and a recreational drug. The belladonna market is growing at a steady rate, as the popularity of various CAM therapies involving belladonna is increasing across the world.
Most often, it is noticed that CAM therapies are accepted without having detailed information and knowledge about the alternative medicines. In order to address this issue, the World Health Organization established a cooperation plan with regional governments to spread knowledge about various CAM therapies and techniques. Governments of various countries have developed policies to promote the appropriate adoption of alternative medicines such as belladonna for curing several health conditions.
Most governments are providing funds to encourage more research in the field of traditional medicines and CAM therapies. Increasing investments in the alternative medicines industry may contribute to the expansion of the belladonna market. As a result of the implementation of these policies, the awareness about health benefits of belladonna as an alternative medicine is increasing among consumers. It may boost the growth of the belladonna market in the upcoming years.
Growth Prospects of the Homeopathy Product Industry to Influence the Belladonna Market
Homeopathy is practiced in many countries and homeopathic products are witnessing decent demand across the globe. Homeopathy industry is Europe is witnessing healthy growth, especially in the Central and Eastern Europe. According to the European Coalition on Homeopathic and Anthropological Medicinal Products, the European market for homeopathic and anthropological products surpassed US$ 1700 Mn in 2013. As these medicines are being used by over 60% of the European population, the demand for homeopathic and anthropological medicines is expected to increase in the upcoming years. As belladonna is used in many homeopathic medicines, growing demand in Europe will complement the growth of the belladonna market in Europe.
However, FDA recently proposed a risk-based enforcement approach towards all the human drug products labeled as homeopathic that are distributed in the region without the FDA approval. Certain categories of homeopathic medicines can pose a higher risk to public health and hence, the FDA is imposing rules and regulations on the manufacturing and distribution of these products. Recently, teething tablets manufactured by Homeolab USA, a homeopathy company in Canada, were found to contain belladonna more than the amount mentioned on the label, which made the tablets poisonous. FDA sent a warning letter to the company summarizing the violations of regulations and withholding approval of any new products by the company as a drug manufacturer. The increased stringency of regulations on homeopathic products can impact the applications of belladonna and ultimately, the growth of the belladonna market.
Rising Awareness of the Side Effects of Belladonna to Hamper its Demand
Belladonna finds a wide range of applications across industries such as pharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetics, and personal care. Although, belladonna exhibits various health-benefitting properties, its severe side effects are restricting its use in various applications. Consumers are becoming more health-conscious and aware of the ill effects of belladonna when taken by mouth. As it can prove to be toxic and highly unsafe for pregnant and lactating mothers, the demand for medicines containing belladonna can decline in the near future. With the warning issued by FDA against the teething products containing belladonna, the growth of the belladonna market may be hampered in the upcoming years.
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