Black Nightshade Identification:
Black nightshade is an annual plant found in gardens and along old walls and fences in various parts of the U.S. and southern Canada. Its erect, angular, branching, hollow stem grows 1 to 2 feet high and may be glabrous or covered with inward-bent hairs. The leaves are alternate, dark green, ovate, and wavy-toothed or nearly entire. Drooping, lateral, umbel-like clusters of white or pale violet flowers with protruding yellow stamens appear from May to September. In the autumn the masses of black berries are very
noticeable; they have, when mature, a very polished surface.
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade family)
Other Names: Nightshade, Poisonberry, Garden nightshade
Flowers: May – September
Parts Used: Leaves
Habitat: Waste places. Nova Scotia to Florida; local westward. Alien (Europe)
Properties: Diaphoretic, anodyne, narcotic, purgative.
Main Uses: Taken internally in very small amounts, the leaves strongly promote perspiration and purge the bowels the next day. The juice of the fresh herb is sometimes used for fever and a pain reliever.
Externally, leaf juice preparations have been used for eye diseases, fever, and rabies. Externally, the juice or an ointment prepared from the leaves can be used for skin problems and tumors. The berries are poisonous.
Preparation And Dosages:
Tincture: 2 to 5 drops as needed, no more than 3 times a day.
WARNING! Some varieties contain solanine steroids; deaths have been reported from use.