Solanum americanum Mill.

Last updated: 15 November 2016

Scientific Name

Solanum americanum Mill.


Solanum adventitium Polgar, Solanum amarantoides Dunal, Solanum caribaeum Dunal          , Solanum curtipes Bitter, Solanum depilatum Bitter, Solanum ganchouenense H. Lév., Solanum gollmeri Bitter, Solanum humile Lam., Solanum imerinense Bitter, Solanum inconspicuum Bitter, Solanum indecorum Rich., Solanum inops Dunal, Solanum minutibaccatum Bitter, Solanum nigrum L., Solanum nodiflorum Jacq., Solanum oleraceum Dunal, Solanum parviflorum Badarò, Solanum photeinocarpum Nakam. & Odash., Solanum pterocaulon Dunal, Solanum purpuratum Bitter, Solanum quadrangulare Thunb. ex L. f., Solanum sciaphilum Bitter, Solanum tenellum Bitter, Solanum triangulare Lam. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Ranti, terong meranti, terong parachichit (Peninsular) [2]
English Black nightshade, common nightshade, garden nightshade [2][3][4]
India Kakmachi (Sanskrit & Bengali); makor, gurkamai (Hindi); piludu (Gujerat); kamanchi-chettu, kanchi-pandu, kanchi (Telagu); manattakkali, munna-takali-pullum, milagu-takkali (Tamil) [2]
Indonesia Ranti (Javanese); leunca (Sundanese); bobose (Ternate) [2]
Thailand Ma waeng nok (Southern); ya tom tok (Northern); kha om (Prachuap Khiri Khan) [2][3]
Philippines Konti (Filipino); anti (Bontok, Tagalog); kuti (Bikol) [2]
Vietnam C[af] n[us]t [as]o, gia c[aaf]u, lu lu d[uwj]c [2]
Saudi Arabia Anausathaliba, anb-us-dalap [2]
France Herbe à calalou, morelle noire [2][4]
Portuguese Erva moura. [3]

Geographical Distributions

Solanum americanum is native to Europe and western Asia, introduced in North America, Africa, Asia and Australia; probably fairly widely distributed throughout the Malaysia region. [2]

Botanical Description

S. americanum is a member of Solanaceae. S. nigrum is an annual or perennial, unarmed herb, up to 1 m tall and with glandular hairs. The leaves are ovate, measuring 4-10 cm x 2-7 cm, simple, with entire to bluntly toothed margin, wedge-shaped base and obtuse at apex. The inflorescence is an extra-axillary and short raceme with (3-)4-8(-12) flowers. The sepal is bell-shaped lobes are up to 1 mm long while the petal is star-shaped, measures 8-10 mm in diameter, white or rarely tinged with purple. The anthers are oblong, measure 2-3.5 mm long, with a smooth ovary, with style 5-6 mm long and capitate stigma. The fruit is globular to ellipsoid, measures 6-8(-10) mm in diameter, 2-locular, dull or somewhat shiny black or purplish-black. The calyx is not enlarged and with appressed or scarcely reflexed lobes. The seed per fruit and measure 1.8-2.2 mm long. [2]


S. americanum is common in open and disturbed places, in full sunshine or slight shade, also in light forests, up to 3100 m altitude. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

The whole plant is considered medicinal and the leaves are eaten as vegetable in Southeast Asia. The leaves and ripe fruit has been used as herbal treatments for toothache, skin lesions, burns, scabies and anxiety, in the Middle east, North Africa, India and Southeast Asia. [5]

Traditional Use

The plants are used as an emollient and antalgic in itching, burns and neuralgic pains, and are also considered expectorant and laxative. The leaves are said to have sedative and healing properties and are applied to cuts and ulcers. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat yaws. The fruit is considered to be a cure for diabetes. In Papua New Guinea, cooked leaves and stems are given to infants suffering from diarrhoea. In China, cooked young shoots are considered to be corrective and cooling, to increase the virility of men and to benefit menstrual disorders. A decoction of the leaves or seeds is used to treat wounds, cancerous sores and as an astringent. Diuretic properties are also attributed to the plant. The leaf juice is used against pain caused by an inflammation in the kidneys and bladder and by virulent gonorrhoea. In India, the leaves are used to treat inflammations on any part of the body, rheumatic and gouty joints and skin diseases. [2]

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

Toxic parts

S. americanum contains toxic glycoalkaloids including solanine in the plant. The highest concentration is in the green immature berries. [5]


Solanine glycoalkaloids [3]. Alpha-solanine and α-chaconine was found to be reversible inhibitors of human plasma cholinesterase. However, solanine toxicity is not classically associated with cholinergic syndromes. This is probably due to the fact that solanine is poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract rendering its elimination rapid. They are considered corrosive to the gastrointestinal tract, acutely toxic upon absorption due to several mechanisms.

All parts of S. americanum contain two major glycoalkaloids, α-solanine and α-chaconine. The amount of the toxic compound in the plant depends on the climate, soil type, season and maturity of the plant. [5][6][7][8]

Risk management

Children seem to be the most vulnerable to toxic effects of the fruits and leaves of S. americanum. There have been many reported cases of poisoning and some fatal. Caution should be taken should we want to use the plant as vegetable especially when feeding children. This plant should not be one for the garden. [4][5][6][7]

Poisonous clinical findings

Presenting symptoms following ingestion of unripe berries may include fever, sweating, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, restlessness, confusion and drowsiness. The symptoms normally appear after 6 to 12 hours post-ingestion.

Its leaves and berries, when eaten by children, have given rise to symptoms of an acrid, narcotic nature. Symptoms start with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and restlessness, followed by delirium. Pulse was quick, and scarcely perceptible, the respiration hurried, the face pale, and the pupils widely dilated. Convulsions of the limbs followed, which ends in coma and death. [9]


Treatment of solanine poisoning is mainly supportive. Those with intractable vomiting and diarrhoea may suffer from dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Those seriously affected should be put under close monitoring including cardiac monitoring. [4][7][8][9]

It is recommended that treatment should be instituted is there is more than 3 unripe berries per kilogramme body weight had been ingested or following ingestion of significantly large amount of ripe berries or other plant parts. [4][7][8]

Measures to be taken would includes:

1. Fluid and electrolyte balance – intravenous hydration if there is dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. [4][8]

2. Antiemetic if vomiting is intractable. [4][8]

3. Neurological involvement, delirium and hallucination may not require pharmaceutical intervention. [4][8]

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of S. americanum [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Solanum nigrum L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2016 Dec 23]. Available from:
  2. Blomqvist MM, Nguyen Tien Ban. Solanum nigrum L. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 458-459
  3. Schmelzer GH, Fakim AG, Arroo RRJ, Bosch CH, de Ruijter A, Simmonds MSJ. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa - Medicinal Plants I. Wagenigen, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers, 2008; p. 528–530.
  4. Nelson LS, Shih RD, Ballick MJ. Handbook of poisonous and injuries plants, 2nd ed. New York: Springer, 2007; p. 274–278.
  5. Barceloux DG. Medical toxicology of natural substances: Foods, fungi, medicinal herbs, plants and venomous animals. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2012; p.78
  6. Brimer L. Chemical food safety. Wallingford, Oxfordshire: CABI, 2011; p. 112.
  7. Brandenberger H, Maes R.  Analytical toxicology: for clinical, forensic, and pharmaceutical chemist. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1997; p. 639.
  8. Jain R, Sharma A, Gupta A,  Sarethy IP, Gabrani R. Solanum nigrum: Current perspective on therapeutic properties. Altern Med Rev. 2011;16(1):78-85.
  9. Reese J. A manual of toxicology. Carlisle: Applewood Books, 1874; p. 449–450.