Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae)
Solanum nigrum L. is a small herb, up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves are ovate, ovate-oblong, glabrous, hairy, 1-16 cm by 0.25-12 cm. Inflorescence of 2-10 in an extra-axillary cluster, with white or purple corolla and yellow central protrusion. Fruit is globose, black in colour but is green when immature, 0.5 cm in diameter, with many seeds.
Native to Southwest Asia, Europe, India and Japan.
Solanidine, α-, β-, γ-chaconine, desgalactotigonin, α-, β-solamargine, diosgenin, solanadiol, α-, β-, γ-solanines, soladulcidine, solanocapsine, α-, β-solansodamine, solasodine, α-solasonine, tigogenin, tomatidenol, uttronins A and B, uttrosides A and B, solanigroside A-H and others.
Traditional Medicinal Uses
The stem, leaves and roots are used as a decoction for wounds, tumours and cancerous growths, sores and as an astringent. They are also used as a condiment, stimulant, tonic, for treatment of piles, dysentery, abdominal pain, inflammation of bladder, relief of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, eye ailments, itch, psoriasis, skin diseases, eczema, ulcer, relief of cramps, rheumatism, neuralgia and expulsion of excess fluids. The roots are used as an expectorant. The plant has yielded medicines for sore throats, coughs and digestive problems. It has also been used as an agricultural insecticide. Europeans in Africa used the plant to treat convulsions. It is used by the Africans for treating headache, ulcers and as a sedative. The whole plant is used for the treatment of dermatitis, inflammation, heavy female discharge, diarrhoea and dysentery. It is also used as a diuretic and febrifuge. Whole plant is decocted for abscesses, cancer of the cervix, inflammation, leucorrhoea and open sores. Young shoots are consumed as virility tonic for men and to treat dysmenorrhoea in females. In Indochina, the leaves are used as purgative and high blood pressure lowering agents while the fruits are used as laxatives.
Antibacterial, Anticancer/antineoplastic, Antiulcerogenic. Antinociceptive, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-oxidant, Antiviral, Depressant, Hepatoprotective, Hypolipidaemic, Antimutagenic, Enzyme modulation, Larvicidal, Molluscicidal and Parasiticidal.
10 drops of extract is taken internally 2 to 3 times a day or 5 to 10 g of tincture may be taken daily for gastric irritation, cramps and whooping cough. For external use as a rinse of moist compress, it is boiled in 1 L water for 10 minutes before usage for psoriasis, haemorrhoids, abscesses, eczema and bruising.
No known side effects with appropriate therapeutic dosage.
Harmful to rats. It is toxic to cattle as it can cause acute nitrate toxicity which leads to death in cattle. In chronic cases, decreased milk yield, abortion, impaired vitamin A and iodine nutrition can occur. The proposed LD50 for nitrate toxicity is 160-224 mg/NO3/kg for cattle. Overdoses can lead to headache, queasiness and vomiting, due to high alkaloid content. Mydriasis may also occur, although rare. Solanine, in doses of 200-400 mg, may cause gastroenterosis, tachycardia, dyspnea, vertigo, sleepiness, lethargy, twitching of the extremities and cramps. It is also teratogenic.
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