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, rodent bites, vitiligo, nausea, diseases of the oral cavity and headache. 

Latin name- Solanum nigrum
Family- Solanaceae

Vernacular names

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

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. The 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.

Properties, part used, dosage

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)

According to Bhojana Kutuhalam twelfth chapter, kakamachi is pungent and bitter in taste, hot in potency and alleviates kapha dosha. Treats colicky pain, hemorrhoids, edema, skin diseases and itching.

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

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 also present in leaves. Leaves contain highest tigogenin content (0.5%), dry fruits contain chlorogenic (0.06%), cafeic (0.02), traces of neochlorogenic & isochlorogenic acids and caffeoylglucose (0.01%).

Uses, Indications

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 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 doses of 10-15 ml to treat cough and asthma.
  • The decoction prepared from the leaves 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 antidote 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.

Sanskrit verse

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 – hemorrhoid’s
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 plants, 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).

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

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 the 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 aminotransferase (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 indicates 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 bears potent antioxidant activity. The antioxidants act as defense mechanisms that protect against oxidative damage, and include compounds to remove or repair damaged molecules and sufficient intake of antioxidants 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


Phytolacea americana
Ailanthus glandulosa

Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail:

Sthanika karma (Systemic Acton)

Externally – It has Anti inflammatory, Analgesic, wound healing properties. It is indicated in edema due to various reasons. External application of its paste is indicated in joint inflammation, wound infection, Scrotal enlargement, Hepatomegaly etc.) Decoction can be used for gargling. Its juice can be used for ear pain as an ear drop. Also it can be used for nasal instillation. It can be used as an Eye drop, which helps for pupil dilation.

Digestive system – Carminative, Liver stimulant, and has purgative action. Indicated in loss of appetite, Liver disorders, Hemorrhoids, Ascites, Splenomegaly etc.

Circulatory System – Good for heart, Act as a blood purifier. Indicated in Hypertension, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatic fever etc.

Respiratory System – Pacify kapha dosha. Indicated in kasa (Cough), hiccough and in breathing difficulties, hoarseness of voice etc.

Excretory system – it increases urine production, Indicated in renal diseases, Dysuria etc.
Skin – Sveda janana, Induce in skin disorders (Kushta)
Indicated in fever ( jeerna jvara), indicated in liver and spleen related diseases, promote body strength
Satmikarana – Ant poisonous, Helps to eliminate poison through urine and feces. It can be administered as an Antidote in poisoning due to Ahiphena. 

10 comments on “Black Nightshade Solanum nigrum: Uses, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

  • Haseena Begum

    09/02/2017 - 1:39 pm

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

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      02/03/2017 - 12:21 pm

      It usually grows easily allover India.

      Reply to comment
  • Suranjan Sharma

    27/02/2018 - 1:04 pm

    Sir, is this harmful for its toxicity? As mentioned above about its side effects. I saw some severe life threatening side effects of solanum nigrum in webmd. Please tell about whether it is safe or not for us.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      12/03/2018 - 6:48 pm

      Hi, if used along the lines of Ayurveda principles, it is safe.

      Reply to comment
  • Jerry R. Weckter, USA, Texas

    02/03/2018 - 9:46 am

    I’ve read that this plant can be use to battle Liver Cancer. What do you know about that?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      16/03/2018 - 6:56 pm

      There are many research papers on this herb linking to anti cancer activity. I have not come across its usage in cancer, personally.

      Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    12/03/2018 - 7:51 pm

    Nothing bad could happen. But better to consult your doctor during pregnancy for all illnesses.

    Reply to comment
  • Malathi

    06/08/2018 - 7:19 am

    Can unripe fruits be consumed

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      10/08/2018 - 2:06 pm

      No. Usually ripe one is preferred.

      Reply to comment
  • Mousumi

    15/04/2020 - 6:17 pm

    Very useful for ayurveda treatment

    Reply to comment

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