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The Bulgarian treatment for postencephalitic parkinsonism based on belladonna

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In 1900, a 24-year old man coming from the family of a herbalist from Sopot left for Constantinople to learn the secret of herbs. His name was Ivan Raev and two decades later he was to make a name for himself in Italy as the inventor of “cura bulgara”, or the therapy treating the symptoms of postencephalitic parkinsonism. His treatment is based on Atropa Belladonna, a plant that is highly toxic which is why it has been used as a poison, but also as a cure.

Ivan Raev applied his belladonna infusion for the first time to treat a woman from a village near Chirpan. Seeing her laying there, her face frozen, he said to himself: “This must be sleeping sickness,” and he took a handful of roots out of his bag. In the morning the woman had stopped having convulsions and was asking for food.

Read more about Ivan Raev’s incredible story in Bulgarian treatment saves Europe from deadly epidemic

Editing by Elena Karkalanova