Amargamiel, Bitter Nightshade, Bittersweet, Blud Nightshade, Common Nightshade, Deadly Nightshade, Douce-Amère, Dulcamara, Fellen, Fellonwood, Felonwort, Fever Twig, Herbe à la Fièvre, Herbe de Judas, Herbe de Judée, Kakmachi, Morelle Douce-Amère, Morelle Grimpante, Mortal, Rubabarik, Scarlet Berry, Snake Berry, Solanum dulcamara, Staff Vine, Vigne de Judée, Violet Bloom, Woody, Woody Nightshade.
Bittersweet nightshade is a vine-like plant that is found throughout the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe and Asia. It is in the same family as tomatoes and potatoes. The STEM is used to make medicine. The LEAVES and BERRIES are poisonous.
People take bittersweet nightshade for skin conditions including eczema, itchy skin, acne, boils, broken skin, and warts. They also take it for joint pain (rheumatism), other types of pain, and fluid retention; and as a calming agent (sedative).
Some people apply bittersweet nightshade directly to the skin for eczema.
How does it work?
It is not known how bittersweet nightshade might work.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Itchy skin.
- Broken skin.
- Joint pain (rheumatism).
- Relieving fluid retention by promoting water loss (as a diuretic).
- Calming nervous excitement (as a sedative).
- Eczema, when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
The STEM of bittersweet nightshade might be safe for most adults. But, the LEAVES or BERRIES are UNSAFE, and are very poisonous. Symptoms of poisoning include: scratchy throat, headache, dizziness, enlarged eye pupils, trouble speaking, low body temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding in the stomach or intestines, convulsions, slowed blood circulation and breathing, and even death.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to take bittersweet nightshade by mouth if you are pregnant. Some chemicals in this plant have been linked to birth defects in animals. It's also UNSAFE to take bittersweet nightshade by mouth if you are breast-feeding.
Not enough is known about the safety of applying bittersweet nightshade to the skin during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Stomach or intestine condition such as an ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Avoid using bittersweet nightshade if you have one of these disorders. It can irritate the stomach and intestine, and make these conditions worse.
The appropriate dose of bittersweet nightshade depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bittersweet nightshade. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Trans. S. Klein. Boston, MA: American Botanical Council, 1998.
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Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 1998.
The Review of Natural Products by Facts and Comparisons. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Co., 1999.