Home / Chinese Herb / BLACK NIGHTSHADE [龍葵, LONG KUI]


Name : Black Nightshadeblack_opt

Chinese Name : 龍葵

Latin Name : Herba Solani Nigri


This herb is the whole plant, including the seed of Solanum nigrum L. of the family Solanaceae. It is grown all over China, collected in the summer and autumn, cleaned, cut into sections, and dried or used fresh.

The plant was recorded to have effects similar to those of Atropa  mandragora. Reportedly, after the administration of a small quantity of the tincture, a profound anesthesia was produced, during which operations were performed with perfect freedom from pain. It is thought to be the drug used by the celebrated surgeon, Hua To, in certain operations on wounded intestines. The truth of this matter awaits more investigation.

Black nightshade is beat resolving, diuretic, and antimicrobial, as well as an antitumor agent. It is used to treat respiratory and urinary tract infections and several types of cancer

Use of Black Nightshade in TCM

Bitter and slightly sweet in taste, cool and slightly toxic, it acts on the lung and urinary bladder meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Antitumorous: to treat cervical, breast, esophageal, lung, digestive system, intestinal, and liver cancers, black nightshade is used with oldenlandia, scute barbata, duchesnea, solanum lyratum (bai ying), zedoaria, and processed tortoise plastron.
  2. Eliminates Heat toxins and detoxifies: for colds, flu, coughs. Sore throat, and similar illnesses, black nightshade can be used alone or combined with forsythia fruit, platycodon root, and licorice root. It also can be used for boils, furuncles, and other pyogenic infections.
  3. Diuretic and anti-inflammatory: black nightshade is a diuretic so it can be used for lowering blood pressure and to treat acute infections of the urinary system. It is prescribed with alisma, akebia, plaintain, and pyrrosia leaf (shi wei) for nephritis and prostatitis.


In a decoction of 9 to 15 g.


This herb is highly potent and slightly toxic. Use only  the suggested dose and never use it during pregnancy.

Side Effects and Toxicity

An overdose causes headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and mydriasis, with increased heart rate in the beginning, followed by a slowing down of the heart rate, confusion, and coma. Black nightshade has caused death in children who ate the uncooked raw fruit of the plant. The alkaloid solanine has  a hemolytic effect, and solamargine is an even stronger hemolytic than solamine.

Chemical Constituents

Black nightshade contains several alkaloids (solamine, solasonine, solamargine, and others) . It also contains glycosides, and vitamins A and C.

Pharmacological Findings

Black nightshade is a cortisone-like anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, and an antitumor agent.