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Botanical Name: Dioscorea communis
Species: D. communis
Common Names: Black bryony, Lady’s-seal, and Black bindweed
Habitat: Dioscorea communis is a native spontaneous species widespread throughout southern and central Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia, from Ireland to the Canary Islands, east to Iran and Crimea. It is a typical plant of the forest understory, from the sea to the mountains, usually in dense woods, but it can also be found in meadows and hedges.
It is a climbing herbaceous plant growing to 2–4 m tall, with twining stems. The leaves are spirally arranged, heart-shaped, up to 10 cm long and 8 cm broad, with a petiole up to 5 cm long. It is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The flowers are individually inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, 3–6 mm diameter, with six petals; the male flowers produced in slender 5–10 cm racemes, the female flowers in shorter clusters. The fruit is a bright red berry, 1 cm diameter. Its fairly large tuber is, like the rest of the plant, poisonous….:
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Young shoots are edible and can be used as asparagus substitute, and are usually picked in spring. Top of the shoots and sturdy, meaty parts of staple are used for eating, and the flabby parts are discarded by snapping them off. Young shoots may be eaten raw, but they are usually cooked in hot water for various salads or used in omelette.
Constituents: The rhizome contains phenanthrenes (7-hydroxy-2,3,4,8-tetramethoxyphenanthrene, 2,3,4-trimethoxy-7,8-methylenedioxyphenanthrene, 3-hydroxy-2,4,-dimethoxy-7,8-methylenedioxyphenanthrene, 2-hydroxy-3,5,7-trimethoxyphenanthrene and 2-hydroxy-3,5,7-trimethoxy-9,10-dihydrophenanthrene)
According to secondary sources, all components of the black bryony plant, including the tubers, are poisonous due to saponin content. Therefore, it is not typically used internally; however, it has been used as a poultice for bruises and inflamed joints. It has been suggested that black bryony be used topically with caution, due to a tendency for the plant to cause painful blisters.
Known Hazards: Studies have isolated calcium oxalate deposits and histamines in the berry juice and rhizomes, which may contribute to skin irritation and contact dermatitis associated with black bryony.
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.