Black Nightshade, Deadly Nightshade, Poison Berry
June 8, 2009
The berries are poisonous. Typically livestock avoid Nightshade unless grazing is short, but once ingested Nightshade can become addictive and result in death.
Native uses: Although the old leaves are poisonous, the young leaves are said to be used as a cooking herb. Boiling the ripe black berries destroys their toxic properties and they were often made into pies. The Natives used a decoction as an eyewash. Parkinson wrote, "The root boiled in wine and a little thereof held in the mouth eases the pain of toothache." Pliny wrote, "It is good to fasten loose teeth, and the juice of the root, mingled with honey, is good for weak eyes. Juice of the leaves and a little vinegar mixed together procures rest and sleep."