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Natural Home Remedy - Solanum nigrum

Solanum nigrum/Manathakkali health benefits and home remedies
Solanum nigrum

Solanum nigrum is used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It is a common herb found in wooded areas, and has many health benefits. The plant bears white flowers. The fruits are green when raw and turn purple black when they ripen. Another strain consists of berries that turn red when they ripen. The fruits grow in bunches. The leaves, stem and fruit are used for various ailments.

Botanical name - Solanum nigrum
Common name - Black nightshade; wonder berry
Hindi - Makoi
Tamil - Manathakkali

Health benefits of Solanum nigrum

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Solanum nigrum is used as both food and medicine. It has a history of medicinal usage. In oriental medicine, it is considered to be anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and antipyretic. The Chinese believe that it is an anti cancer agent and is good for cancers of the digestive system. It was a traditional European medicine for infirmities that needed cooling. It was considered good for cooling hot inflammation, ringworm, ulcers, testicular swelling, gout and ear pain. It was also used for treating convulsions. The Arabs used the bruised fresh leaves to erase pain and reduce inflammation. They also applied the poultice of the leaves to burns and considered it good for ulcers. The unripe berries are not eaten raw, as they contain solanine, and could be toxic. The toxicity is quite variable in different varieties and in different parts of the world.

Home remedies with Solanum nigrum

Preserving the berries

Solanum nigrum or manathakkali health benefits and home remedies
Solanum nigrum dried berries

The raw berries can be treated and preserved to be used when wanted. The following recipe is considered to be effective for acidity and gastric complaints. Pluck the raw berries. Mix curd (yogurt) with salt to taste. Drop the berries in the curd mixture. Take the berries out of the curd and dry in the sun. At the end of the day, put it back in the curd mixture. Continue doing this till all the curd is absorbed and the berries are dry. These dry berries stay for long and can be used in recipes. To overcome acidity, fry these berries in clarified butter and mix in cooked rice and consume.

Adverse Effects

The unripe fruit of Solanum nigrum contains solanine, and hence should not be eaten raw. The actual concentration of solanine varies according to the stage of plant development, as well as genetic, seasonal and environmental factors. The herb should be eaten in moderation.