Nightshades have been misunderstood throughout the years. Most folks even cringe at the mere mention of the nightshade, however this is a problem of ignorance more than anything else. The nightshade family is a rich and beautiful one that can boast such members as tomatoes and chile peppers. The member of this family that I would like to focus on today, as I have been working a good deal with this plant recently, is the American Nightshade.
The American Nightshade, or Solanum Nigrum, grows all over Central Texas, popping up all over in folks’ yards. It is likely that you would never notice it if you are diligent about mowing and such. I am not, however, preferring to let the “weeds” flourish and bring to me new teachers for my healing practice. ‘Twas this plant that began flowering in my yard a couple of weeks ago, and drew me to it with its delicate and seemingly fragile blossoms.
Though this photo does not do full justice to the beauty of this magnificent being, it dose make it easier to identify any that might be growing in your area.
Culinary Uses: The berries when green, as seen here, are quite poisonous. When they mature, however, they turn black and there are a great number of accounts of them being quite tasty baked into pies. Be cautious though, and never feed them to children, as they are terribly sensitive to alkaloids and should never eat the berries.
Medicinal Uses: The leaves of this plant can be used in a tea or tincture to relieve and treat stomach afflictions that cause indigestion. Several trusted sources have stated that the oil contained in the leaves can be used topically on skin tumors and the like, though I have not had occasion to test this. The plant have proven to me to be very helpful as an emmenagogue, though I have not found any other documentation of this other than my own experiences learning from this plant.
Magickal Uses: American Nightshade is an excellent protection herb, and can be worn in a medicine bag to add potency to your shielding and protection practices. It can also be used in a tea to cleanse magickal tools and weave protection spells in and around your home.