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Wren (1975) notes that preparations of the twigs and root bark have been used in folk medicine to treat obstinate cutaneous eruptions and scrofula [= scrofuloderma?]. Stuart (1979) is rather more specific in noting that a decoction prepared from the dried stems was formerly used to treat eczema, psoriasis, and pityriasis.
This plant which has been used to treat cancers and warts from the time of Galen (c. A.D. 180) yields a tumour-inhibitory principle, the steroid alkaloid glycoside β-solamarine (Kupchan 1970a).
Nat Prod Res. 2009;23(8):719-23.
Biological activity of alkaloids from Solanum dulcamara L.
Kumar P, Sharma B, Bakshi N.
Department of Botany, Laboratory of Plant Tissue Culture and Secondary Metabolites, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India.
Alkaloids are well known for their antimicrobial activity. Though all natural alkaloids come from plants, not all plants produce alkaloids. Plants of the Solanaceae family are known for their high alkaloid content. Alkaloids are found in all plant parts like roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. In the present study, those plant parts of Solanum dulcamara were selected which have been reported to produce a high content of a specific alkaloid: solanine (from unripe fruits), solasodine (from flowers) and beta-solamarine (from roots). These alkaloids were extracted from various parts of S. dulcamara by well-established methods and were screened for their antibacterial activity. Human pathogenic bacteria, viz., Enterobacter aerogenes, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, were selected for the study. All three alkaloids inhibited the growth of E. coli and S. aureus. However, no significant activity was observed against E. aerogenes. Minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration were also evaluated
J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1990;28(2):185-92.
Toxicity of nightshade berries (Solanum dulcamara) in mice.
Hornfeldt CS, Collins JE.
Hennepin Regional Poison Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ripened nightshade berries (Solanum dulcamara) are among the most commonly reported plant ingestions in Minnesota. Because of the lack of adequate information regarding the toxic qualities of S. dulcamara berries, the ingestion of even small quantities by children is usually treated conservatively with syrup of ipecac. The toxicity of S. dulcamara berries was studied by gavaging mice with a preparation of lyophilized berries, ripened and unripened, collected at various times of the year. Mice receiving unripened fruit from early in the season had gastrointestinal tissue changes consistent with solanine toxicity. Animals dosed with unripened fruit from the latter part of the year showed behavioral signs suggestive of solanine toxicity, however gastrointestinal lesions were not observed. In no case did the ripened fruit produce behavioral or histologic toxicity. Aggressive treatment of children ingesting limited amounts of ripened S. dulcamara berries appears to be unnecessary.
Pathology in hamsters administered Solanum plant species that contain steroidal alkaloids.
Baker DC, Keeler RF, Gaffield W.
USDA-ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory, Logan, UT 84321.
Syrian hamsters were orally administered ground plant material from either Solanum sarrachoides, S. melongena, S. eleagnifolium, or S. dulcamara. Six of eight hamsters administered S. eleagnifolium and eight of 10 hamsters administered S. dulcamara died following administration of plant material and had gastric glandular mucosal necrosis and small intestinal mucosal necrosis with little inflammation. Hamsters administered S. sarrachoides or S. melongena did not die and had only lesions compatible with gastric distension. Both S. eleagnifolium and S. dulcamara contained solasodine glycoalkaloids(s), and S. dulcamara also contained an equal amount of other glycoalkaloids which were probably derived from soladulcidine (dihydrosolasodine). The lesions produced by these two plants were similar to those reported earlier to be caused by sprout material of S. tuberosum (in which solanidane alkaloids predominate) and by an alkaloid extract of S. tuberosum sprouts. Because of similarities in saponin-like activity and structure of solasodine glycoalkaloids to the solanidine glycoalkaloids of potato sprouts, the glycoalkaloids of S. dulcamara and S. eleagnifolium were probably the agents responsible for the lesions observed.
Med Monatsschr Pharm. 1996 Nov;19(11):339-40.
[Solanum dulcamara L.--a "plant cortisone"?]
Klinikum Ernst von Bergmann, Chefarzt der Klinik fur Dermatologie, Potsdam.