Description: A deciduous woody climber (up to 5 m), bearing simple or lobed leaves, dark purple flowers and attractive berries that are bright red when mature.
Origin: Europe and Asia (naturalised in North America). The plant is cultivated to some extent but commercial product is wild-harvested in early spring or late autumn, when the stems are leafless.
Parts Used: Dried two- or three-year-old stems (Dulcaniarae stipites / Dulcamarae stipes).
Therapeutic Category: Anti-eczema, anriprutitic.
Uses and Properties: Bittersweet is taken orally in support for chronic eczema and pruritic skin complaints. Traditional uses include the support for catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, bronchitis, asthma and rheumatic complaints. It is applied externally for various skin ailments (mainly eczema and pruritis), and joint pain.
Preparation and Dosage: For internal use, a tea is prepared from up to 1 g of dry herb in a cup of water, taken three times per day (daily dose of up to 3 g). For external application, an infusion or decoction of 1 - 2 g in a cup of water is recommended.
Active Ingredients: The main active compounds are steroidal alkaloids and steroidal saponins. Depending on the source, the main alkaloids are glycosides of soladulcidine, tomatidenol or solasodine. The saponins are yamoginosides A and B (these are bidesmosides of a furostanol, protoyamogenin) or soladulcosides (monodesmosides of spirostan-26-one). Tannins are also present, and probably contribute to the positive health activity.
Health Effects: The herb is known to possess anticholinergic and antiphlogistic effects. It is also astringent, antibacterial and antifungal. The saponins can produce the observed secretolytic and antimicrobial effects. A clinical trial has shown definite symptomatic support in cases of eczema and pruritis.
Notes: Other Solanum species used traditionally include the ordinary potato, S. tuberosum (fresh juice is taken for gastric ulcers), eggplant or, aubergine, S. melongena (externally used to support skin complaints), kantakari, S. xanthacarpum (seeds are used as, expectorant) and intuma, S. aculeastrum and other species (green fruits can be used as a local anaesthetic to help support toothache).
Status: Traditional health; Comm. E+; clinical trials+.
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Stir 1/4 of a teaspoon into a glass of water and consume 3 times daily, with meals.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."