Solanum americanum

scientific name: 
Solanum americanum Mill.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Anthers up to 1.7 mm in length; shiny black fruit; calyx conspicuously reflexed in fruit; fruiting pedicels more or less erect; plants of lowlands and highlands.

Herb 60-80 cm high. Stems smooth but sometimes with soft prickles.  Leaves alternate, ovate,14 x 7 cm, blade narrowed to the stalk, apex acute or acuminate, margins sinuate, dentate; inflorescence racemes, umbelliform; corolla white 5-9 mm in diameter; fruit a globose shiny, black, berry, 5-7 mm in diameter; seeds 1-1.5 mm wide.




culebrilla (herpes zoster):

  aerial parts, aqueous maceration, bath2

abnormal vaginal discharge:

  ripe leaf, cut at the end of or after fruition, decoction, applied in vaginal washes1

culebrilla (herpes zoster):

  aerial parts, crushed, applied locally2

The young fresh plant and the ripe fruit are widely used for human consumption12-14.

For culebrilla (herpes zoster):

Wash injury with 30-50 grams (1 handful) of mashed leaf and fruit.  Apply in sufficient quantity to affected area 2 times a day15.

For abnormal vaginal discharge:

Prepare a decoction with 30-50 grams (1 handful) of leaf in 1 liter (4 cups) of water. Boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot, filter, allow to cool down and use for sitz baths and vaginal washes 3 times a day16.

Any medicinal preparation must be preserved cold and used within the 24 hours.

According to published and other information:

Use for abnormal vaginal discharge and for culebrilla (herpes zoster) is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys and available published scientific information.

For topical application, strict hygiene measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should abnormal vaginal discharge persist for more than 7 days, seek medical attention.

TRAMIL Research17 (will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

La decocción de hoja seca molida al 30%, se aplicó tópicamente sobre la piel (0,6 mL, equivalente a 0,18 g de material vegetal fresco, en un área de aproximadamente 6 cm2), en conejo macho Nueva Zelanda. A las 4 horas se retiró el parche y se hicieron observaciones para las lecturas de eritema y edema a las 24, 48 y 72 horas, no evidenciándose ningún signo clínico, por lo que la decocción de hoja fresca se encuentra en la categoría no irritante.

TRAMIL Research20 (will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

La hoja fresca macerada en agua, vía tópica (5.5 mL de una preparación de 91.4 mg material vegetal/mL)en el modelo de irritación dérmica en piel sana de 3 conejosNew Zealandpor 5 días consecutivos. No provocó ninguna alteración ni irritación durante el periodo de 11 días de observación.

TRAMIL Research18(will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

El extracto acuoso (decocción) 20% de hoja seca, intravaginal (2 mL/24 h durante 5 días), a coneja Nueva Zelanda (3 hembras), modelo de irritabilidad vaginal, mostró irritabilidad vaginal mínima al estudio histopatológico.

TRAMIL Research19(will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

Los extractos acuosos (decocción, 30% masa vegetal/volumen) de hoja seca, de tallo seco y de fruto verde seco, vía oral (dosis única 2000 mg/kg), en tres ensayos a rata Sprague Dawley (3 hembras y 3 machos), modelo de clases tóxicas agudas, el grupo control recibió agua, no ocurrió ninguna muerte pero se observó piloerección durante las primeras 6 horas, no se detectaron otros signos adversos durante 14 días de observación. El estudio histológico de los órganos no mostró lesiones.

The aqueous extract from the aerial parts (20%), lyophilized and prepared as an ointment, was locally applied to rabbits, and evidenced no skin irritability11.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children and in pregnant or lactating women.

TRAMIL Research3

Phytochemical screening of the leaf:









tannins and polyphenols




triterpenoids and steroids






terpenic lactones




The leaf contains a steroidal alkaloid: solasodine4; sapogenin: tigogenin4.

TRAMIL Research3

Proximate analysis of 100 g of leaf: humidity: 84.52%; ash: 1.04±0.11; proteins: 4.43±0.6; fat: 0.86%, ascorbic acid: 48 mg.

The decoction from the leaf showed antimicrobial activity in vitro againstStaphylococcus aureus5.

The decoction and the maceration from the leaf showed activity against Candida albicans6.

The decoction from the dried leaf showed fungicidal activity in vitro against Candida neoformans7.

The decoction from the dried leaf in vitro showed fungicidal activity with an MIC of 100-300 mg/mL (1 mL) against Epidermophyton floccosum, Microsporum canis, M.gypseum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes andT.rubrum8.

The hydroalcoholic extract from the dried leaf (10%) showed activity against Trypanosoma cruzi, Leishmania mexicana and Entamoeba histolytica, but not against Leishmania brasilensis9.

The hydroalcoholic extract (70%) by intraperitoneal administration to mice was anticonvulsant and depressant of the central nervous system10.

The aqueous extract from the aerial parts (20%), lyophilized and prepared as an ointment, was topically applied to ulcerous udder of cows, and to open wounds of mice and rabbits, and evidenced more healing and regenerative activity than the control vehicle, also confirmed by the histopathological study.  Healing was completed on day 9 with the semisolid formula and on day 14 with the aqueous formula11.


1 GIRON L,1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica). Centro Mesoamericano de Tecnología CEMAT, Guatemala, Guatemala.

2 DELENS M, 1990 Encuesta TRAMIL en Barlovento, Edo. Miranda de Venezuela. Centro al Servicio de la Acción Popular CESAP, Caracas, Venezuela.

3 GOMEZ H, 2003 Estudio fitoquímico de algunas plantas promisorias del Caribe colombiano. Informe TRAMIL. Grupo de Productos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacéuticas. Universidad de Cartagena, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

4 ALDANA MV, LIMA CN, 1999 Isolation and characterization of a glycoside from fluid extracts of Solanum americanum Mill. Afinidad 56(484):393-396.

5 CACERES A, ALVAREZ AV, OVANDO AE, SAMAYOA B, 1991 Plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of respiratory diseases. 1. Screening of 68 plants against Gram-positive bacteria. J Ethnopharmacol 31(2):193-208.

6 VICTORIA AE, 1980 Investigación farmacológica de la acción hipoglucemiante de la hoja de Solanum nigrescens Mart & Gal. (macuy, quilete o hierba mora). Tesis Guatemala, Facultad de CCUU y Farmacia, USAC, Guatemala, Guatemala.

7 COONEY G, BUCKLEY H, BRICKUS T, CACERES A, 1991 Fungicidal activity of Solanum plant extract from Guatemala, C.A. Abstracts CD52. Pharmacy Word Cong, Washington DC, USA.

8 CACERES A, LOPEZ BR, GIRON MA, LOGEMANN H, 1991 Plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of dermatophytic infections. 1. Screening for antimycotic activity of 44 plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol 31(3):263-276.

9 CACERES A, 2000 Plantas antimicrobianas de Mesoamérica. 1er Congreso Peruano de Plantas Medicinales y Fitoterapia, Lima: 41-44.

10 ADESINA SK, 1982 Studies on some plants used as anticonvulsants in Amerindian and African traditional medicine. Fitoterapia 53:147-162.

11 SANCHEZ LM, BULNES C, PEREZ P, RODRIGUEZ A, NOA M, GINORIO C, GOMEZ BC, 2003 Actividad antibacteriana, cicatrizante y útero-estimulante de Solanum americanum Miller. Actualidades Biológicas 25(78): 71-78.

12 ALTSCHUL S, 1973 Drugs and food from little-known plants: Notes in Harvard University Herbaria. Cambridge, USA: Harvard Univ Press.

13 MORTON J, 1977 Some folk-remedy plants of Central American markets. Quart J Crude Drug Res 15:165-192.

14 SOUZA-NOVELO N, 1950 Plantas alimenticias y plantas de condimento que viven en Yucatán. Mérida, México: Inst.Tecn.Agrícola Henequenero.

15 ALBORNOZ A, 1993 Medicina Tradicional Herbaria. Caracas Venezuela: Editorial Instituto Farmacoterápico Latino S.A. p132.

16 CACERES A, 1996 Plantas de uso medicinal en Guatemala.Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala: Editorial Universitaria. p315.

17 LOPEZ M, MARTINEZ MJ, MOREJON Z, BOUCOURT E, FERRADA C, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005 Irritabilidad dérmica primaria de una decocción de hoja seca Solanum americanum Mill. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina “Dr. Salvador Allende”, Cerro, C. Habana, Cuba.

18 MARTINEZ MJ, LOPEZ M, MOREJON Z, BOUCOURT E,FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005 Irritabilidad vaginal de decocción de hoja seca de Solanum americanum. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas “Dr. Salvador Allende”, La Habana, Cuba.

19 MARTINEZ MJ, LOPEZ M, MOREJON Z, BOUCOURT E,FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005 Clases tóxicas agudas oral de decocción de hoja seca, de tallo seco y de frutos verdes secos de Solanum americanum. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas "Dr. Salvador Allende", La Habana, Cuba.


Irritación dérmica, piel sana en conejos, porción de hoja fresca de Solanum americanum. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, LEBi, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.