Truth about apple of sodom or poison berry

apple of sodom

The scientific name of the Solanum or poison berry is Solanum sodomeum Linn.

Other scientific names Common names
Solanum sisymbrifolium Lam. Solanum (Tag.)
Dead sea apple (Engl.)
Apple of Sodom (Engl.)
Poison berry (Engl.)
Vine of Sodom (Engl.)
Ci tian qie (Chin.)


Hairy and spiny shrub, growing to a height of 1.5 meters. Leaves are ovate, dark green with 2-3 serrate lobes. Flowers are violet. Fruit is orange, globose, up to 3 cm and many-seeded.


Native to the Mediterranean. Cultivated in Baguio and Manila gardens. Propagated by seeds.

Properties and constituents

Fruit is deemed poisonous.

A water soluble extract consists of 60-90% solamargine and solasonine, being studied as components in pharmaceutical compostions for inhibiting tumor growth in liver, breast and lung cancer. (source )


Used for cystitis, dermatitis, ringworn, pleurisy, sorethroat, toothaches and infertility.

In the Congo, used for hypertension.

In the Easter Cape, South Africa, poultice of fruit and leaves in oil or fat applied to skin rashes.

In Paraguay, used for its diuretic and antihypertensive properties.

Caution !
Livestock / Pasture Nightshades:

Since 1900s, reports of chronic and crippling arthritis in livestock in Brazil, USA, Australia and other places, associated with arteriosclerosis, hypercalcemic, osteopetrosis and early death have identified the culprits as belonging to the Solanacea family (Nightshade family), including S malacoxylon and S sodomeum, C diurnum and N veitchii. Solanaceae which contain cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids and steroids and its vitamin D3 metabolite and other unknown factors and deficiencies – may cumulatively cause the disabling arthrtic condition.

Scientific studies on poison berry 

Hypotensive / Cardiovascular Effects:

Extract from the plant has been reported to exert hypotensive effects in rats. Nuatigenosido, isolated as one of the prospective active compounds, was shown to lower blood pressure and augment the contractile force in the right atrium.



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