The Solanaceae Family

Genus species Common Name OPALS
Capsicum annuum sweet and chili peppers
baccatum kellu-uchu
frutescens tabasco, squash pepper
pubescens manzano
Cyphomandra betecea tree tomato (tamarillo)
Lycopersicon lycopersicum tomato
pimpinellifolium current tomato
Physalis alkekengi Chinese Lantern
ixocarpa tomatillo (Mexican husk tomato)
peruviana cape gooseberry (poha)
philadelphica wild tomatillo
pruinosa strawberry tomato (dwarf cape gooseberry)
pubescens downy ground cherry (yellow husk tomato)
subglabrata purple ground cherry
Solanum burbankii sunberry (wonderberry)
integrefolium tomato-fruited eggplant
melanocerasum garden huckleberry
melongena eggplant
muricatum pepino (melon pear)
nigrum common nightshade
quitoense naranjilla
tuberosum potato

Seed Saving –“Solanaceae family includes about 90 genera and 2,000 species that are mostly native to Central America and South America. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are the most important culinary members of the family. Tobacco is the most significant inedible member.

Solanacea comes from the Latin word solamen which means quieting.  The name refers to the sedative properties of some of the species. Many of the species produce significant amounts of alkaloids. While small amounts of alkaloids can be quieting, larger doses can cause death.

All members of the Solanaceae family have a flower shape that is easy to identify. Sizes and colors vary, but each flower has five united or partially united petals. The petals form a symmetrical, wheel-shaped corolla. The five stamens are attached near the base of the corolla.” (Suzanne Ashworth. Seed to Seed. Pg 151)

Health & Wellness – Nightshade Family  – “The beloved potato, tomato, eggplant, and all peppers except black pepper belong to the nightshade family whose primary toxin is solanine, an alkaloid which has been known to produce diarrhea, hearth failure, headache, and vomiting. Extreme reactions are rare but do occur in instances in which an allergic or otherwise very sensitive individual overindulges. Those who are sensitive may notice an expanded and light feeling several hours after eating the nightshades; they may also find it more difficult to focus mentally. The expansive effect can be beneficial for those who become tense from work, stress, or activity which takes great concentration, provided one has no other reaction to these plants. The mildest effect comes from the potato, especially the red potato.

Americans seem to crave the nightshades. Of the three largest cash vegetable crops, potatoes rank first and tomatoes third. it seems these indigenous South American plants provide balance for a meat-based diet. Both the tomato and eggplant can alleviate meat-induced liver and blood stagnancy. Potatoes also play a unique nutritional role in the ‘meat and potatoes’ diet to be described later.

For those with sensitivity (including many vegetarians), solanine and other strong components of nightshades can be neutralized somewhat by baking, roasting, frying or cooking these vegetables with salt or miso. Serve with parsley or seaweeds.” (Paul Pitchford. Healing with Whole Foods. Pg 542)

“Cooling thermal nature; sweet flavor; reduces swelling; clears stagnant blood by dissolving congealed blood and accumulations such as tumors resulting from stagnant blood; specifically treats congealed blood affecting the uterus; also has hemostatic action (reduces bleeding). Used for bleeding hemorrhoids, blood in the urine, and bleeding in general; a rich source of bioflavonoids which renew arteries and prevent strokes and other hemorrhages. Treats dysentery, diarrhea accompanied by heat signs such as yellow tongue coating, canker sores (apply charred eggplant powder–roast until charred or use eggplant tooth powder), snake and scorpion bites (apply a pack of raw eggplant); and frostbite (use a compress of room-temperature eggplant tea). Influences the liver and uterus and is particularly helpful for resolving repressed emotions and their harmful effects on these organs.

Caution: Eggplant should be eaten sparingly by pregnant women. In Japan, women are advised not to eat eggplant during pregnancy because it can cause miscarriage. Actually a fruit, eggplant combines with other foods like a non-starchy vegetable. “ (Pitchford 54)

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