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Woody Nightshade

Woody Nightshade

Botanical Description / Habitat

Solanum dulcamara

Family

Solanaceae

Common Names

Bittersweet
Bittersweet Herb
Bittersweet Nightshade
Bittersweet Stems
Bittersweet Twigs
Blue Nightshade
Deadly Nightshade
Dulcamara
Fellen
Felonwood
Felonwort
Fever Twig
Garden Nightshade
Nightshade
Nightshade Vine
Scarlet Berry
Staff Vine
Violet Bloom
Woody
Woody Nightshade

Habitat

A perennial vine found in North America and Europe as well as Asia and Northern Africa.

Description

The leaves are purplish when young, becoming green. The purple flowers are star-shaped and bloom from April or May to August or September. A scarlet, bitter fruit hangs on the vine for months after the leaves have fallen.

Medicinal Parts

Dried 2 or 3 year old stems harvested in spring prior to leafing, or late autumn after the leaves have dropped.

Historical Properties & Uses

A relatively weak poison, it has still been used externally, for the most part, in a poultice.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E as supportive therapy for chronic eczema. It is used both internally and externally.

"Felon" is actually a term for inflammation around the nail beds, for which this was once a treatment.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

Woody Nightshade contains tannins, steroid alkaloids and steroid saponins.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

There are no known drug interactions.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

There are no known contraindications or side effects.

However, the FDA classify bittersweet as an unsafe poisonous herb because eof its toxic compounds: solanine, solanidine and dulcamarin.

Preparation & Administration

Woody Nightshade has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

Internal:
        1 - 3 g of the herb

External:
        1 - 2 g per cup as an infusion or decoction

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Gruenwald, J, Brendler, T & Jaenicke, C (Eds.): PDR for Herbal Medicines. Medical Economics, NJ. 1998.

Kupchan, SM et al. Science, 1965, 150:1,827.

The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Sep,1992.

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