Herbs & Plants

Solanum nigrum

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Botanical Name: Solanum nigrum
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. nigrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Trade Name & Family Name :  Makoy, kaamanchi / Solanaceae

Common Names: Black Nightshad, European black nightshade or locally just “black nightshade”, duscle, garden nightshade, “garden huckleberry”, hound’s berry, petty morel, wonder berry, small-fruited black nightshade or popolo.

Habitat : Black Nightshade is a native of West Africa but is now grown all over India and introduced in the Americas, Australasia and South Africa.

Parts Used : whole plant

Black nightshade is a common herb or short-lived perennial shrub, found in many wooded areas, as well as disturbed habitats. It reaches a height of 30 to 120 cm (12 to 48 in), leaves 4 to 7.5 cm (1.5 to 3 in) long and 2 to 5 cm (1 to 2.5 in) wide; ovate to heart-shaped, with wavy or large-toothed edges; both surfaces hairy or hairless; petiole 1 to 3 cm (0.5 to 1 in) long with a winged upper portion. The flowers have petals greenish to whitish, recurved when aged and surround prominent bright yellow anthers. The berry is mostly 6 to 8 mm (0.3 to 0.8 in) diam., dull black or purple-black. In India, another strain is found with berries that turn red when ripe.


Sometimes Solanum nigrum is confused for the more toxic deadly nightshade, Atropa belladonna, in a different Solanaceae genus altogether. A comparison of the fruit shows that the black nightshade berries grow in bunches, the deadly nightshade berries grow individually.




Commercial berry and vegetable crop quality is significantly reduced when black nightshade berries mix with them. The plant also produces a sticky substance that clogs agricultural equipment. Berries are poisonous to humans and to most livestock.
Cultivation : The plant grows in different kinds of soil including dry, stony, shallow, or deep soils. It usually grows in moist habitat in waste lands as weed. It can be cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical agro-climatic regions.

Berries and seed are dispersed by rodents, birds, livestock, humans, and along watercourses.The green berries and mature leaves contain glycoalkaloids and are poisonous to eat raw. Their toxicity varies and there are some strains which have edible berries when fully ripe. The plant has a long history of medicinal usage, dating back to ancient Greece.

Black nightshade is a fairly common plant, found in many wooded areas, as well as disturbed habitats. It has a height of 30-120 cm (12-48″), leaves 4-7.5 cm (1 1/2-3″) long; ovate to heart-shaped, with wavy or large-toothed edges. The flowers have petals greenish to whitish, recurved when aged and surround prominent bright yellow anthers. The fruits are oval black berries in small hanging clusters.

The vitamins and minerals present in this herb includ iron,calcium,niacin,riboflavin,phosphorus and vitamin C .The calorific value of the herb is 68.The plant and the fruit of the herb contains toxic alkaloid solanine saponin.

Chemical Constituents : solanine, a’ and a’ solamargine, solasonine and a’ and a’solaigrine, sterioidal genin

Medicinal Action and Uses–-Narcotic, diuretic, sedative, antispasmodic, mydriatic. Belladonna is a most valuable plant in the treatment of eye diseases, Atropine, obtained during extraction, being its most important constituent on account of its power of dilating the pupil. Atropine will have this effect in whatever way used, whether internally, or injected under the skin, but when dropped into the eye, a much smaller quantity suffices, the tiny discs oculists using for this purpose, before testing their patient’s sight for glasses, being made of gelatine with 1/50000 grain of Atropine in each, the entire disk only weighing 1/50 grain. Scarcely any operation on the eye can safely be performed without the aid of this valuable drug. It is a strong poison, the amount given internally being very minute, 1/200 to 1/100 grain. As an antidote to Opium, Atropine may be injected subcutaneously, and it has also been used in poisoning by Calabar bean and in Chloroform poisoning. It has no action on the voluntary muscles, but the nerve endings in involuntary muscles are paralysed by large doses, the paralysis finally affecting the central nervous system, causing excitement and delirium.

The various preparations of Belladonna have many uses. Locally applied, it lessens irritability and pain, and is used as a lotion, plaster or liniment in cases of neuralgia, gout, rheumatism and sciatica. As a drug, it specially affects the brain and the bladder. It is used to check excessive secretions and to allay inflammation and to check the sweating of phthisis and other exhausting diseases.

Small doses allay cardiac palpitation, and the plaster is applied to the cardiac region for the same purpose, removing pain and distress.

It is a powerful antispasmodic in intestinal colic and spasmodic asthma. Occasionally the leaves are employed as an ingredient of cigarettes for relieving the latter. It is well borne by children, and is given in large doses in whooping cough and false croup.

For its action on the circulation, it is given in the collapse of pneumonia, typhoid fever and other acute diseases. It increases the rate of the heart by some 20 to 40 beats per minute, without diminishing its force.

It is of value in acute sore throat, and relieves local inflammation and congestion.

Hahnemann proved that tincture of Belladonna given in very small doses will protect from the infection of scarlet fever, and at one time Belladonnna leaves were held to be curative of cancer, when applied externally as a poultice, either fresh or dried and powdered.

Belladonna plasters are often applied, after a fall, to the injured or sprained part. A mixture of Belladonna plaster, Salicylic acid and Lead plaster is recommended as an application for corns and bunions.

The nlack nightshade is used as an important ingredient in several Medicines.It is very useful in swellings, cough, asthma,wounds, ulcers, general debility etc .

The plant helps in removing catarrhal matter and phelgm from the bronchial tubes in asthma patients.The fruits of black nightsade can also be used in treating asthma.The plant is useful in chronic skin diseases. The plant is useful in the treatment of dropsy.

Urinary Disorders:
It increases the secretion and discharge of urin.It can be used as decoction or as a vegetable.
A cardiac tonic prepared from the plant is beneficial for patients.It reduces irritation pain and excitment.

As herbal medicine Black Nightshade has multivarious other uses in Neutrition,Idigestion,Stomach disorders,Fever,Skin disorders,Reeumatic Pain and gouts,Burns, etc.

Other uses:A decoction of makoy plant leaves should be used to wash tomours and inflamed,irritated and painful parts of the body. Hot leaves of the plant can be applied with gratifying results over swollen and painful scrotum and testicles.

Known Hazards:
Solanine levels in S.nigrum can be toxic. Children have died from poisoning after eating unripe berries. However, the plant is rarely fatal,[9] with ripe berries causing symptoms of mild abdominal pains, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Poisoning symptoms are typically delayed for 6 to 12 hours after ingestion. Initial symptoms of toxicity include fever, sweating, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, confusion, and drowsiness. Death from ingesting large amounts of the plant results from cardiac arrhythmias and respiratory failure. Livestock have also been poisoned from nitrate toxicity by grazing the leaves of S. nigrum. All kinds of animals can be poisoned after ingesting nightshade including cattle, sheep, poultry, and swine.

Black nightshade is highly variable and poisonous plant experts advise to avoid eating the berries unless they are a known edible strain. The toxin levels may also be affected by the plant’s growing conditions. The toxins in Solanum nigrum are most concentrated in the unripe green berries, and immature fruit should be treated as toxic. Most cases of suspected poisoning are due to consumption of leaves or unripe fruit.

There are ethnobotanical accounts of S.nigrum leaves and shoots being boiled as a vegetable with the cooking water being discarded and replaced several times to remove toxins.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Help taken from:Miracles of herbs, and

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