Lubi-lubi is an erect, branched, smooth or nearly smooth herb, up to 1 meter or less in height. Stems
are green and 3-angled. Leaves are ovate to oblong, 5 to 8 centimeters long,
pointed at both ends, with subentire or undulately toothed or
lobed margins. The flowers are umbellately disposed, 5 - 8 on
each peduncle. Calyx is green with ovate-oblong lobes. Corolla
is white, about 8 millimeters in diameter. Fruit is a berry, dark purple
or black, smooth, shining, rounded, about 5 millimeters in diameter. Seeds
are yellow and minutely pitted.
- Throughout the Philippines
in open, waste places, recently disturbed soil; from sea level
to a height of 2000 meters.
• In 1821, solanine was isolated from the fruit. The leaves yield an unidentified mydriatic alkaloid; in 1892, saponin was isolated from
• The unripe fruit contains the toxin solanine.
• Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, and proteins.
• Besides solanine, plant also yielded a tropeine alkaloid with a mydriatic action.
• Analysis of the cultivated large-fruit variety show it to be a rich
source of calcium and phosphorus and a good source of iron.
• Some studies suggested a poisoning from ingestion of the fruit; other
suggest that as the fruit matures, it gradually decreases in toxicity,
and when ripe, contains nontoxic amounts of solanin.
• Extract studies yielded saponin, flavonoids, coumarins, phytosterols, tannins, fixed oils and fats.
• Ethanolic extract yielded major components of flavonoids and moderate amount of alkaloid, tannins, glycosides, and terpenoid/sterols
• Study isolated six compounds: (+)-pinoresinol (I), (+)-syringaresinol (II), (+)-medioresinol (III), scopoletin (IV), tetracosanoic acid (V) and beta-sitosterol (VI). (23)
• In a study, 1 gram of fresh leaves yielded 1.74 mg of coumaric acid, 1.08 mg of quercitin, 0.82 mg of catechol, 0.52 mg of caffeic acid, 1.06 mg of gallic acid, and 0.46 mg of protocatechnic acid. (see study below) (32)
• Ethanolic extract yielded major components of flavonoids and moderate amount of alkaloid, tannins, glycosides, and terpenoid/sterols.
(see study below) (33)
- Considered antipyretic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, analgesic, antispasmodic, antiinflammatory, diuretic, febrifuge, purgative, sedative, vasodilatory, and vulnerary.
- Young shoots, eaten after boiling, considered corrective, cooling, tonic
to men (improves virility) and women (improves menses).
- Poisoning is reported from ingestion of the fruit. However, as the fruit matures, it gradually decreases in toxicity, until, when ripe, it becomes nontoxic, containing only small amounts of solanin. The harmlessness of the mature fruit is evidenced by its extensive consumption by children.
- Generally considered safe and cultivated
as food crop in some places. However, there are reports of toxicity
regarding the fruit and leave depending on the cultivar and where
it is grown. The unripe green fruit is considered toxic and contains the higher amount of toxin solanine.
Berries are edible when fully ripe. Leaves should be boiled.
- Toxicity and death have been reported in livestock who fed on the plant/berries in the field or dried in hay.
- When toxicity occurs, it presents as vomiting, diarrhea, headache, colic, and depression.
Belladonna-life effect on the eyes start half an hour after ingestion; mydriasis
is maximum in 6 hours. Throat dryness in less than 2 hours, persisting
for 50 hours. Decreased sweating is noted with dryness of the skin, mouth, larynx, and esophagus. Treatment usually through an emetic and use of a tannin-containing
Stalks, leaves, roots, fruits.
Edibility / Toxicity Concerns
- Fruit of some varieties is edible,
excellent for use in pies and jams.
Unripe fruit reported to have toxicity. [see toxicity above].
- Boiled leaves eaten as vegetable.
- In Maritius and Bourbon, leaves are eaten in place of spinach.
- Widely eaten in Africa.
· Caution: There is much disagreement whether the leaves and fruit of the plant are poisonous. The toxicity might vary according to where the plant is grown. Also, the unripe fruit is considered to have the highest amount of toxins. (2)
- In the Philippines, fruit has been used for diabetes.
- Poultice of leaves is sedative and has healing properties. As an alcoholate, used to alleviate neuralgic pains.
- Decoction of plant used as fomentation for sore eyes and various skin diseases.
- Young shoots are considered cooling, corrective, and tonic (increasing virility in men) and benefiting menstrual disorders in women.
- Poultice of roots, stems and leaves used for sores, boils and wounds.
- In Sinaloa, roots have been used for bubonic plague.
- Decoction of stalk, leaves, roots used for wounds and cancerous sores.
- Juice of leaves used for kidney problems and gonorrhea.
- Infusion of leaves used as enema for abdominal upsets in children.
- Paste of green berries used for ringworm.
- Dried leaves infused in boiling water used as sudorific.
- Decoction of juice herb used for cleaning foul ulcers.
- Decoction of plant used for vaginal irrigation.
- Heated leaves used for testicular pains and swellings.
- In Bohemia, poultice of leaves placed in cradles of infants to induce sleep.
- The fruit has been used for erysipelas.
- Chinese use the leaves to alleviate pains associated with kidney and bladder inflammation and in virulent gonorrhea.
- Lotion from a decoction used for yaws.
- Zulus use an infusion enema to infants with abdominal upsets.
- Sutos rub the burnt powder of roots into incisions in the back for the relief of lumbago.
- Plant is used a native application to anthrax pustules.
- Paste of green berries applied to ringworm.
- Mixed with honey, sometimes used for pulmonary tuberculosis.
- In South Africa, expressed juice of the herb and decoction used for cleaning and healing foul ulcers.
- Plant used for headaches.
- Plant used internally as diuretic and as emetic.
- Poultice of leaves used over rheumatic and gouty joints.
- Fluid extract of leaves and stems used for dropsy, heart disease, skin diseases, piles, gonorrhea, inflammatory swellings, and chronic enlargement of the liver and spleen.
- Syrup used as cooling drink for fevers, and to promote perspiration.
- Heated leaves applied to painful and swollen testicles.
- In Rhodesia, plant used for malaria, blackwater fever, and dysenteries.
- In Mexico, plant decoction used externally as cooling agent, as vulnerary in form of fomentations, and for vaginal irritations.
Fruit used as domestic remedy for erysipelas.
- Paste of immature fruit used for ringworm.
- In ZuHindu medicine, fruits used as tonic, diuretic, and in treatment of heart diseases and anasarca.
- In Bengal, berries used for fever, diarrhea, eye diseases, hydrophobia.
- Bruised leaves used externally to ease pain and inflammation. Arabs are known to apply them to burns and ulcers. Juice used for ringworm, gout
, and earache; and mixed with vinegar, used as gargle and mouthwash.
- In South India, leaves and berries are used in the treatment of gastric ulcers, gastritis, and other gastric problems. (31)
- Decoction of berries and flowers used for cough and consumption.
- In Ayurveda, used for
treatment of gastric ulcers.
- Cosmetic: Bote women rub the seeds of fresh fruit on their cheeks
to remove freckles and improve the complexion.
- Dye: Fruit reported as source of blackish purple dye.
• Mosquito Larvicidal / Leaves: Studies on larvicidal properties of leaf extract of Solanum
nigrum Linn. Preliminary results of the crude extract leaf study showed it
exhibited toxicity to three disease vector species – An. culicifacies,
Cx quinquefasciatus and Ae aegypti, and suggests further investigation. (1)
• Anti-Seizure: Anti-seizure
activity of the aqueous leaf extract of Solanum nigrum linn (solanaceae)
in experimental animals : Leaf extract
of SN produced a dose-dependent protection against electrically, pentylenetetrazole
and picrotoxin-induced seizures in mice and rates. The anticonvulsant
property was potentiated by amphetamine with an activity probably via
the dopaminergic pathway. (3)
• Anti-Ulcer / Antioxidant on Aspirin-Induced Gastric Mucosal Injury: Study suggests that SN berries extract may exert gastroprotective effect by a free radical scavenging action and offers a therapeutic
potential in the treatment of gastric diseases. (4)
• Hepatoprotective / Thiocetamide-Induced Liver Fibrosis: Inhibitory effect of Solanum nigrum on thioacetamide-induced
liver fibrosis in mice: Study confirmed SNE reduced the degree of fibrosis
caused by TAA treatment. (5)
• Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Toxicity: Ethanol extract showed
remarkable hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced
hepatic damage in rats. (16)
• Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant: Study showed the water extract of S. nigrum could protect the liver against carbon tetrachloride-induced oxidative damage in rats. The hepatoprotective effect could be due to its modulation of enzyme detoxification, its antioxidant and free-radical scavenging effects.
• Hepatoprotective / Free Radical Induced DNA Damage: Crude extracts of hepatoprotective plants,
Solanum nigrum and Cichorium intybus inhibit free radical-mediated DNA
damage; C intybus effect was more pronounced
than SN. Hepatoprotective effects may be due to suppression of oxidative
degradations of DNA in tissue debris. (6)
• Hepatoprotective: Extract of S. nigrum and Cichorium intybus possess significant hepatoprotective activity in comparison to standard drug silymarin.
• Cytoprotective / Gentamicin Induced Toxicity:
A 50% ethanol extract of the whole plant of SN was tested in vitro for
cytoprotection against gentamicin-induced toxicity on Vero cells. Results
showed significant inhibition of cytotoxicity. It also showed significant
radical scavenging potential explaining its probable mechanism of cytoprotection. (7)
• Hepatoprotective / CCl4-Induced Hepatic Damage: Study showed the ethanol extract of the dried fruits of Sn with remarkable hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic damage in rats. (8)
• Anti-Tumor / Immunomodulation: Study showed the the crude polysaccharides isolated from
S nigrum possess potent antitumor activity, possibly through activation
of different immune responses in the host rather than a direct attack
on cancer cells on cervical cancer bearing mice. It suggests a potential
for use as an immunomodulator and anticancer agent. (9)
• Liver Cancer : Study showed extract of SN induced cell death in hepatoma cells via
two distinct antineoplastic activities - the ability to induce apoptosis
and autophagocytosis, suggesting potential for the treatment of liver
• Anti-Ulcer / Ulcer Healing Effects:
Study showed Solanum nigrum extract provides antiulcer activity through
blockage of acid secretion via inhibition of H+K+ATPase and decrease
of gastrin secretion; its ulcer healing property might also be due to
its antisecretory activity. (10)
Study showed Solanum nigrum could inhibit the angiogenesis on chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM). (12)
• Cytotoxicity / Anticancer:
In a study evaluating the anticancer activity of the fruits of Solanum nigrum fruits, results showed the methanolic extract with greater activity on the HeLa cell line and little activity on the Vero cell line, suggesting use for its anticancer activity. (13)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Berries: Study on the methanolic extracts of berries of S. nigrum showed good anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan-induced paw edema. (14)
• Antioxidant / Antihyperlipidemic: Study of the protective effect of S nigrum fruit extract in ethanol-induced toxicity in rats showed significant antioxidant and antihyperlipidemic activity. (15)
• Antihepatoma / Antihepatocarcinogenesis: Study showed SN water extract supplement significantly alleviated the AAF-induced hepatic injury and early hepatocarcinogenesis, as well as the AAF/NaNO2-induced lethal hepatoma, possibly from the over-expression of glutathione S-transferases, Nrf2 and antioxidant enzymes. (17)
• Anticonvulsant: Study showed a significant dose-dependent effect against seizures induced by MES (maximum electric shock) in rats. The seizure inhibition may be by regulating GABA-mediated synaptic inhibition through action at distinct sites of the synapse. (18)
• Seeds Oil / Physiochemical Properties: Study showed: (1) seeds are rich in protein and carbohydrate (2) Seed oil yields oleodilinolein (OLL) 56.54% of total triacylglycerols, palmitoleo-linolein (POL) and dioleolinolein (OOL). (3) Oil extracts showed good physiochemical properties and can be useful as edible oils and for industrial uses. (19)
• Solamargine / Apoptosis in Human Hepatoma: Solamargine has shown remarkable anticancer activity on SMMC-7721 cells through activation of caspase-3 and the regulation of cell cycle progression to induce apoptosis and inhibition of of hepatoma cells proliferation. (20)
• Antibacterial / Whole Plant: Study evaluated the anti-bacterial activity of ethanolic and methanolic extract of stem, berries, and whole plant of Solanum nigrum against E. coli, B. subtilis, K. pneumonia, and P. aeruginosa. The methanolic extract showed better antibacterial activity and the whole plant extract showed greater potential antibacterial activity than stem and berries. (24)
• Antiviral / Hepatitis C Virus: Methanol and chloroform extracts of S. nigrum seeds exhibited 37% and more than 50% inhibition of HCV respectively at non toxic concentration. The chloroform extract decreased the expression or function of HCV NS3 protease in a dose-dependent manner and GAPODH remained constant. Results suggest a potential for the combination of SN extract and interferon as a option for treatment of chronic HCV. (25)
• Anti-Tumor Polysaccharides / Hepatitis C Virus: Study evaluated the anti-tumor effect of polysaccharides from S. nigrum Linne and its relationship with the immune function of tumour-bearing organisms. Results showed significant inhibition of growth of mouse H22 solid tumors, improved survival time, increased proliferation of lymphocytes, elevated levels of IL-2 and increased concentration of calcium ions in the lymphocytes. The anti-tumor effect was assumed related with cellular immune functions that regulates the body. (26)
• Hepatoprotective / Alcohol Induced Liver Toxicity: Study investigated the effect of S. nigrum fruit extract on ethanol induced toxicity in rats. Results showed improvement of hepatic and renal markers to near normal levels. Results suggest a potential as adjuvant treatment in liver disorders. (27)
• Corrosion Inhibition / Natural Source / Solasodine: Study evaluated the corrosion inhibition potential of S. nigrum in mild steel. Results showed increased in inhibition efficacy with increasing concentration of the plant extract. The anti-corrosion effect was attributed to the presence of solasodine. (28)
• Chemopreventive / DEN Induced and Phenobarbital Promoted Hepatocarcinogenesis: Study of an ethanol extract in experimental animals showed significant chemopreventive effect against DEN induced and phenobarbital promoted hepatocarcinoma. (29)
• Anti-Diabetic / Anti-Hyperlipidemic: Study of a Solanum nigrum fruit extract in STZ -induced diabetic rats showed efficacy in ameliorating diabetes and its associated complications. It also showed restoration of lipid parameters to near control levels. (30)
• Anti-Gastritic / Antiulcerogenic: Study investigated S. nigrum leaf and berry extracts for protective effect on ethanol induced gastritis and aspirin induced gastric ulcers of pylorus ligated rats. Results sowed gastroprotective and antiulcer effects. The aqueous extract showed more protection against arthritis than the leaf extracts. (31)
• Anti-Diabetic / Leaves: Study evaluated water and ethanol extracts of fresh leaves for in vitro and in vivo antidiabetic activity. Results showed dose-dependent significant inhibition of α-amylase (73.15%), α-glucosidase (64.5%) and glucose diffusion (68.67%). (32)
• Antifungal / Leaves: Study evaluated aqueous and crude extracts of leaves for antifungal activity against A. niger, A. flavus, and C. albicans. Extracts using crude solvents exhibited higher antifungal activity compared to the aqueous extracts. The pathogen inhibiting activity was dose dependent. (34)
• Attenuation of TPA-Induced Migration and Invasion / Potential for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Study showed treatment with water or polyphenol extracts of S. nigrum attenuated TPA-induced migration and invasion, effects that presents a potential for a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. (35 )
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Antipyretic / Leaves: Study showed dose-dependent effects of the lipid-soluble extract of S nigrum leaves. on various animal models. (36)
• Nitric-oxide Production: Nitric oxide (NO) is an anti-tumor molecule produced in activated macrophages. Study showed Sn increased the production of NO by macrophages primed by recombinant interferon-y. (37)
• Molluscicidal / Anti-parasitic: Study of the molluscicidal and antiparasitic activity of SNV showed the unripe fruit extract can be applied for the control of in the larval stages of G. truncatula and F hepatica. (38)
• Antimicrobial / Fruit: Study investigated the antimicrobial activity of fruit extracts of two Solanaceous plants: Solanum nigrum and S. xanthocarpus against five species of gram-negative bacteria, three species of gram-positive bacteria, and three species of fungi. Doses of 5, 10,and 15 mg/ml of methanolic extracts of powdered fruit material of both plants exhibited significant zones of inhibition. However they were not as potent as standards: ampicillin or amphotericin B. (41)
• Protective on Chemo-Radiotheray Induced Oral Mucositis / Leaves: Study evaluated aqueous extracts of leaves for protective effect on rat models with chemradiotherapy- (busulfan plus infrared radiation) and chemotherapy (methotrexate)-induced oral mucositis. Results showed protective effect in both models, the effect higher in chemotherapy induced oral mucositis. (43)
• Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Leaves: Study of methanolic and water extract of Solanum nigrum leaves in alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed significant hypoglycemic activity, together with a marked decrease in triglycerides, TC, LDL, and VLDL, and a decrease in HbA1c. The mechanism of antidiabetic action was attributed to an increase in pancreatic secretion of insulin by beta cells and its release from the bound form. (44)
• Antimicrobial: Study evaluated various extracts of S. nigrum against respiratory pathogens isolated from sputum samples. An ethanolic extract showed the highest antimicrobial activity compared to aqueous and diethyl ether extracts. Phytochemical analysis yielded alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, saponins, steroids, and phenols. (45)
• Antifertility Effect: Study evaluated leaf extracts of Solanum americanum on fertility in male albino rats. Results showed decreased sperm count and motility in treated groups, together with decreased levels of glycogen, protein in the testis and liver of treated groups. The ethanol extract showed greater effect than the acetone extract. (46)
• Cardioprotective Effect / Doxorubicin Induced Cardiotoxicity: Study evaluated a methanolic extract of S. nigrum for protective effect against doxorubicin induced cardiotoxicity. Results showed S. igrum pretreated group displayed significant (p<0.001) reduction in serum cardiac enzymes and parameters in a time dependent manner. (47)
• Antiproliferative / Human Leukemic Cell Lines: Study evaluated varies extracts from S. nigrum berries for antiproliferative activity on leukemic cell lines, Jurkat and HL-60 )Human promyelocytic leukemia cells). Results showed increased cytotoxicity with increasing concentration. A 50% inhibitory concentration value of methanol extract was the lowest on both cell lines. Cell growth inhibition was more pronounced on Jurkat cells compared to HL-60 cell line. (48)
• Protective Effect on Immobilization Stress Induced Changes in Rat Brain / Leaves: Study evaluated the preventive or curative antioxidant effect of crude extract of leaves in modulating inherent antioxidant system altered by immobilization stress in rat brain tissues. Treatment resulted in significant modulation in parameters (glutathione, SOD, GST, catalase, etc). Poststress extract treatment was more effective compared with prestress extract treatments in preventing/restoring stress induced modulation in the antioxidant enzymatic activities and GSH and LPO levels. Results suggest a potential for leaf extracts or isolated constituents for use as nutritional supplement for scavenging free radicals generated in the brain from stress or neuronal disease. (49)
• Mosquito Larvicidal / Berries: Study evaluated the mosquitocidal activity various extracts of berries against Cx. quinquefasciatus. Both crude and chloroform:methanol (1:1 v/v) extracts showed good larvicidal activity. Results suggest a potential larvicide for mosquito larvae control with its high target specificity, biodegradability, and non-toxicity to non-target organisms. (50)