The Bulgarian treatment for postencephalitic parkinsonism based on belladonna
published on 4/25/21 6:35 AM
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.