Black nightshade (Latin: Solánum nígrum) is a plant of the Solanaceae family, a species of the nightshade genus originating from Eurasia and introduced to America and Australia.

Other names of the plant: wolf berries, viper grass, mother grass, late.

Black nightshade is an annual herbaceous plant with erect, branched stems 10-120 cm high.

The leaves are simple, without stipules, alternate, petiolate, ovate or elongate-ovate pointed, whole or notched-dentate, 11-13 cm long and 6-8.5 cm wide.

The flowers are white star-shaped, collected three to eight in the lateral semi-umbrellas. Five stamens, one pistil, five petals (fused), perianth double. Corolla 6-7 mm across, wheel-shaped, with ovate-lanceolate lobes. It blooms from the second half of summer until late autumn.

The fruit is a spherical black berry 8-10 mm in size, ripening in August – October.

Chemical composition

The grass and immature fruits of black nightshade contain the poisonous alkaloid solanin, present in the form of the glycoalkaloid solanine.

Shoots and fruits contain saponins, tannins. Especially a lot of tannins in the roots (up to 6%).

In some countries, especially in India and Ethiopia, as well as in Russia, ripe black nightshade berries are eaten.

Ripe fruits are eaten raw, made toppings for pies, jam, jam and jelly.

The content of alkaloids in young leaves is insignificant; in the Caucasus they are used instead of spinach.

The healing properties of black nightshade:

  • Black nightshade juice is sometimes used to treat fever and pain relief;
  • The fruits are used as a cosmetic product. Its frayed seeds help remove freckles and age spots;
  • The beneficial properties of black nightshade have been used to treat diabetes;
  • In North India, decoction of leaves and fruits was used to alleviate the discomfort associated with liver disease;
  • Leaves of black nightshade in small quantities have a diaphoretic and laxative effect;
  • The juice of the herbal parts or ointments prepared from them are used externally to treat certain skin problems and tumors;
  • A decoction of stems, leaves, roots of black nightshade is used to treat wounds and ulcers;
  • Water decoction is used in an enema for infants suffering from intestinal disorders;
  • Freshly prepared plant extract is effective in the treatment of cirrhosis, and is also good as an antidote for opium poisoning;
  • In folk medicine it is used as an expectorant, diuretic and as a remedy for rheumatism.

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