PLANT NAME: Solanum americanum Mill.
OTHER NAMES: S. caribaeum, S. nigrum, S. nodiflorum, S. fauriei.
(Please note: S. americanum is very closely related to S. nigrum and are sometimes considered synonyms. Much of the following information refers to S. nigrum.)
COMMON NAMES: Pöpolo [Hawai’i]; black nightshade [English]; long kui [China (S. nigrum)]; ‘enab edh dhi’b, ‘enab eth tha’lab, ribriq [Arabic]; guaraquinha [Brazil]; ghamai, handiguli, kakamachi [India]; hierba mora, yerba mora [Spanish]; hulablub [Visayan]; inu hôzuki.[Japanese]; kaburgia [Cuna]; kambai [Kashmir]; kanti, Lubi lubi [Tagalog]; köpek memesi, köpek üzümü, tilki üzümü [Turkish]; leunca ayam, leunca manuk [Indonesia]; mnavu [Swahili]; morella, solano nero [Italian]; morelle commune, morelle des jardins, morelle à fruits noirs, morelle noire [French]; mustakoiso.[Finnish]; nattskatta [Sweden]; pinatmora [Panama]; psianka czarna [Poland ]; ranti [Malay]; schwarzer nachtschatten, nachtkraut.[German]; sort natskygge [Denmark]; svartsøtvier [Norway]; zwarte nachtschade [Dutch].
FAMILY: Solanaceae. (For twisted information about the family solanaceae visit www.tomatoesareevil.com)
CATEGORY: Clear heat and toxins ~.
STATUS IN HAWAI’I: Status uncertain. Possibly native. There are endemic species of Solanum that look very similar to S. americanum.
GATHERING: Anytime in Hawai’i. Autumn elsewhere. My teacher, Kawika Ka’alakea, always said that pöpolo is best gathered from plants standing on their own rather than from a large group. If one gathers from a large group the others will become jealous for not having been chosen.
TOXICITY: Toxic, but the levels of toxicity are uncertain. There are reams of conflicting research surrounding the toxicity of this plant. The green berries are almost certainly more toxic than the ripe berries. Toxicity may well result from a combination of factors including variety, plant part used, ripe or unripe fruits, size of fruit, water, soil, other plants in the area, etc.
The toxic principle is thought to be a saponic glycoalkaloid called solanine, which breaks down into an alkamine (solanidine), and a sugar (solanose). The LD50 of solanine in mice is 42 mg / kg.
The fruits have been made into preserves, jams, and pies with no ill effects. Boiling may break down solanine but drying does not. The fruit may be more toxic to children than adults. Three kilograms of green Solanum nigrum were once fed to a horse without any hazardous results.
Symptoms of solanine overdose include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration may result from continued vomiting and diarrhea. Larger doses may cause cardiac arrhythmia, respiratory failure, and circulatory failure, leading to paralysis, convulsion, and coma. [All sources for toxicity are websites.]
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS: THIS PLANT IS TOXIC AND I DO NOT RECOMMEND USE OF THIS PLANT AS EITHER FOOD OR MEDICINE.
NOTES ‘N QUOTES
“Do not mistake the deadly nightshade for this, if you know it not, you may then let them both alone.” – – Nicholas Culpepper