The black nightshade is a small, erect and delicate annual herb with soft and smooth stems and branches. It grows diffusedly with several arching branches up to one meter in height. The plant has alternate, egg-shaped, elliptic leaves; white, cream or violet flowers in clusters, purple or black fruit when ripe; with blue or black seeds.
Black nightshade consist of moisture 82.1 percent, protein 5.9 percent, fat 1.0 percent, minerals 2.1 percent and carbohydrates 8.9 percent per 100 grams. The minerals and vitamins presents in it include calcium, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C.
Botanical Name- Solanum nigrum
Indian Name- Makoy or Manathakkali
Below are some of the medicinal properties of black nightshade:
- The leaves of black nightshade are effective in the treatment of digestive disorders. The raw juice of the leaves can be used alone or mixed with other juices or liquids. It is used in stomach disorders like flatulence, colitis and peptic ulcers. An infusion of the plant is useful in dysentery and other stomach ailments.
- The plant helps in removing catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes in asthma patients. The fruits of the plant can also be used beneficially in treating asthma.
- It is useful in the treatment of dropsy. It increases the secretion and discharge of urine. Either it can be used as decoction or as a vegetable in the treatment of this disease. As extract of the leaves and stem, in doses of 6 to 8 ml can be taken.
- The leaves of black nightshade are useful in fevers. Syrup of the vegetable can be given as a cooling drink. To induce copious perspiration, a hot infusion of 0.75 to 1.25 decigrams, of dried leaves can be used. The fruits of the plant can also be given with beneficial results in fevers.
- The plant is beneficial in chronic skin diseases. The juice extracted from the plant should be given in doses of 180 to 210 ml. The juice can also be applied locally on the affected parts in chronic skin disease such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. As an anodyne or pain reliever, a decoction of the plant can be used for washing inflamed, irritated and painful parts can be used for washing inflamed, irritated and painful parts of the body.
- The paste of black nightshade serves as a useful applicant over corrosive ulcers, pustules and suppurating syphilitic ulcers, severe burns, herpes and rheumatic joints. Green fruits of the plant can be ground and applied locally on ringworms. A juice or poultice of leaves can be effectively applied on eruptive skin diseases, whitlow and burns.
- Hot leaves can be applied over swollen and painful scortum and testicles. A juice or poultice of the leaves is an efficacious application over rheumatic and gouty joints, corrosive ulcers and tumors. A decoction of the leaves can be used to wash tumors and inflamed, irritated and painful parts or the body.
The leaves of black nightshade are popularly used as a vegetable. The leaves blend well with other green and pluses. The juice of the leaves can be mixed with medium like coconut water, coconut milk, buttermilk, cow's milk and fruit juice.