Black Nightshade Solanum nigrum: Uses, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

Kakamachi Solanum nigrum is an Ayurvedic plant used for treating fever, opium poisoning, splenomegaly, diseases of the liver, rhodent bites, vitiligo, nausea, diseases of the oral cavity and headache. 

Latin name- Solanum nigrum
Family- Solanaceae

Kakamachi – Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Makoi, Gurakani
English name- Black nightshade, Common nightshade, Hound’s berry, Garden Nightshade
Bengali name- Kakamachi, Dudakamai
Gujarathi name- Pludi
Kannada name- Kaagehannina gida, Kaakamache, Kakkehannu
Marathi name- Kaamani, Ghati, Makoi.
Malayalam name- Manithakkal, Kasumuthi, Karim thakkali
Punjabi name- Mako
Telugu name- Kanchi ponda, Kamanchi-chettu
Tamil name- Manattakkali, Thenna takali pullum, Milagetakkali
Tulu name- Kaachiponda
Urdu name- Makoh
Sanskrit Synonyms of Makoi
Bahuphala- The plant yields many fruits
Sarvatikta, Bahutikta- The fruits are bitter
Gucchaphala- The fruits are found in clusters
Kushtagni- Treats skin diseases
Gucchaphala, Bahuphala – numerous fruits in a bunch
Kakini, Vayasi, Kakamachi, Kakahva- The fruits are liked by crows
Jaghanephala, Matsyakshi, Rasayani
Gudaphala, Svadupakaphala – sweet fruits

Morphology of Solanum nigrum:
Kakamachi is a small herb found all over India in the temperate region. The leaves are small; the flowers are white and found in clusters. The fruits are small, round, shiny and purplish to lack color when ripe. Solanum genus is native to Eurasia and later introduced in the American continent and South Africa. Parts of this plant can be toxic to livestock and humans. Nonetheless, ripe berries and cooked leaves of edible strains are used as food in some locales, and plant parts are used as a traditional medicine.

Medicinal properties of Common Nightshade:
Rasa (Taste) –Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light), Snigdha (Slimy)
Veerya (Potency) – Anushna (Not Hot)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Karma (Actions) – Tridoshagna (reduces all the three dosha)

Part used- Fruit, Whole plant
Juice- 10 to 20 ml of whole plant
Fruit powder- 2 to 3 g
Distillate of plant- 20-25 ml

Chemical constituents of Solanum nigrum:
The berries contain steroidal alkaloid glycosides, solasonine, alpha- and beta-solanigrine, alpha-and beta- solamargine; steroidal sapogenins, diosgenin and tigogenin; solasodine and solasodine. Solamargine and solasonine are present also in leaves. Leaves contain highest tigogenin content (0.5%), dry fruits contains chlorogenic (0.06%), cafeic (0.02), traces of neochlorogenic & isochlorogenic acids and caffeoylglucose (0.01%).

Medicinal uses of black nightshade:

  • The leaves of kakamachi plant is applied the area affected with skin diseases like scabies, ringworm, vitiligo etc
  • Poultice of the leaf is prepared and applied externally to treat localized swelling.
  • To treat Herpes disease, the paste prepared from the leaf of Solanum nigrum is applied along with ghee over the area affected area.
  • In eye disease like conjunctivitis and itching sensation, the eye is fumigated with the leaf applied with ghee or butter.
  • To strengthen the hair roots and to improve the color of scalp hair, oil is processed using sesame oil, Kakamachi leaf and sesame seeds and this oil is used as nasal drops.
  • To treat urticarial patches, ginger is pounded with juice of Kakamachi and is given in a dose of 15-20 ml.
  • Ghee cooked with the juice of Kakamachi leaf is useful in rat poisoning.
  • The fresh juice of the leaf and fruits of Solanum nigrum is given in dose of 10-15 ml to treat cough and asthma.
  • The decoction prepared from the leaf and fruit is given in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat splenomegaly and hepatomegaly.
  • Cold infusion of the fruits and leaf of Kakamachi is given in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat fever and nausea.
  • The juice of the plant Solanum nigrum is given as an anti-dote to opium poisoning and also to treat rat bite cases.
  • Gargling of the decoction of the plant is done to treat diseases of the oral cavity like ulcer, gingivitis etc.
  • The fresh juice of the leaf is slightly heated and used as ear drops to control ear ache.

Traditional uses of Kakamachi:
Rasayani – anti aging, causes cell and tissue rejuvenation
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart
Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor
Sara – induces mobility, causes diarrhea, purgation, relieves constipation
Svarya – improves voice tone and quality
Netrahita – good for eyes
Shukrada – Shukrala – improves sperm and semen quantity and quality

Indicated in:
Kushta – skin diseases
Shopha  – inflammation
Prameha – Urinary tract disorders, diabetes
Arsha – haemorrhoids
Shwasa – asthma and chronic respiratory disorders
Kasa – cough, cold
Aruchi – anorexia
Jwara – fever
Meha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Hikka – hiccups
Chardi – Vomiting
Hrudroga – cardiac disorders

Adverse effect:  Poisoning occurs mainly from ingestion of plant, especially the unripened fruits. The main signs & symptoms are – on the CVS (tachycardia, arrhythmia & hypotension), on the CNS (delirium, psychomotor, agitation, paralysis, coma & convulsion) & on the GIT (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).

Ayurvedic medicines containing Kakamachi:
Cirrhonil syrup: Cirrhonil Syrup is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used in the treatment of liver disorders.
Amlycure tablet: Amlycure Tablet is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used for hepato- protective action.
Ayuliv syrup: Ayuliv Syrup is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine which is indicated in Ayurvedic treatment of Liver dysfunctions, jaundice and hepatitis.

Kalakuta Rasa: It is an Ayurvedic medicine in tablet form and is used in the treatment of chronic fever, bronchitis, diabetes, urinary tract infection etc.  This medicine contains heavy metal ingredients, hence should only be taken under strict medical supervision.
Hridayarnava Rasa: It is an Ayurvedic medicine in tablet form and is used in the treatment of cardiac disorders with difficulty in breathing and heaviness of chest.
Maha Vishagarbha Taila: It is a formulation in oil form and is used for external application to treat neuro- muscular conditions, sciatica etc vata dosha disorder.

Brihat Sarva Jwarahara Lauh: Brihat Sarva Jwarahar Lauh is an Ayurvedic medicine in tablet form, used in the treatment of fever, anemia, indigestion, splenomegaly and cough.

Research articles related to Solanum nigrum:
Anti-fungal activity: To determine antifungal activity, aqueous and crude extracts from leaves of S. nigrum Linn. was used against A. niger, A. flavus, C. albicans by dry weight method. Extracts prepared using crude solvents exhibited higher antifungal activity as compared to their corresponding aqueous extracts. No good activity was observed in the aqueous extract. The pathogen inhibiting activity was found to be dose dependent.

Hepato- protective action: The aqueous extract of Solanum nigrum significantly decreases the serum enzyme alanine amino transferase (ALT), asparate aminotransferase (AST), triglycerides (TGL), total cholesterol (TC) and significantly increased the total protein level. Silymarin (100 mg/kg), a known hepato-protective drug used for comparison exhibited significant activity. The morphology of liver cells clearly indicating the treatment of Solanum nigrum against acetaminophen induced liver damage near to normal cells.

Protect against oral mucositis: Aqueous extract of Solanum nigrum leaves (AESN) showed protective effect in both models of oral mucositis; however, the higher dose was more effective in chemotherapy induced oral mucositis.

Anti- oxidant potential: On the basis of our results it is concluded that Solanum nigrum bear potent antioxidant activity. The antioxidants act as defense mechanism that protects against oxidative damage, and include compounds to remove or repair damaged molecules and sufficient intake of anti-oxidants is supposed to protect against diseases.

 Anti- seizure action: The aqueous leaf extract produced a significantly (P<0.05) dose dependent protection against electrically-induced seizure in chicks and rats, pentylenetetrazole-induced seizure in mice and rats and picrotoxin-induced seizure in mice and rats. The anti-seizure property of the extract was potentiated by amphetamine.

Classical categorization:
Charak Samhita – Tikta skanda.
Sushruta Samhita – Surasadi gana.
Astanga Hrudaya –  Surasadi gana.
Dhanwantari Nighantu – Karaveeradi varga
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Guduchyadi varga.
Shodala Nighantu – Karaveeradi varga
Madanapala Nighantu – Guduchyadi varga
Raja Nighantu – Shatavaryadi varga.
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu – Oushadi varga
Shaligrama Nighantu – Guduchyadi varga
Priya Nighantu – Shatapushpadi varga

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. nigrum

Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
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  1. Haseena Begum says:

    where is this plant found in and around eastern India???

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