Natural Home Remedy – 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
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
- It is very good for mouth sores and ulcers. Make a juice with the leaves and gargle with it. Also chewing some leaves and keeping it in your mouth for sometime helps to heal mouth ulcers. You can also make a soup out of the leaves which is very good for general health and for mouth ulcers.
- It is a diuretic and hence helps in the discharge of urine. A decoction made from the leaves and stem of the plant helps this purpose.
- The leaves of the Solanum nigrum is a natural home remedy to treat digestive problems. The juice of the leaves is good for flatulence, peptic ulcers and dysentry. An infusion of the plant is good for abdominal upsets.
- The leaves and fruits are said to cure fever. A decoction made from fresh or dried leaves helps to reduce fever.
- A paste made from the plant can be applied on burns to get relief.
- The paste of the leaves can also be applied as a poultice over rheumatic joints and for eruptive skin disorders.
- The green berries can be mashed and massaged locally to treat ringworms.
- The bruised leaves used externally are said to ease pain and reduce inflammation.
- A quarter cup of the juice of the leaf taken thrice a day for the duration of the period, relieves painful periods. This should be continued for a couple of cycles
- A decoction of the ripe berries and flowers of the Solanum nigrum is good for cough and cold.
Preserving the 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.
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.