Eggplant

Solanum melongena (Solanaceae)

Characteristics

Delicate, tropical, perennial plant, often cultivated as a half-hardy annual plant in temperate climates. Stem spiny. Flowers white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. Fruit edible but low in nutrients, but the capability of the fruit to absorb oils and flavours into its flesh through cooking expands its use in the culinary arts.

Distribution

Native to India. Cultivated in Southern and Eastern Asia since prehistoric. Today grown worldwide for its edible fruit.

Natural Medical Properties

The aubergine is used mainly as a food crop, but it does also have various medicinal uses that make it a valuable addition to the diet. The fruit helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and is suitable as part of a diet to help regulate high blood pressure.

The warmed fruit paste is applied to painful joints.

The fruit is anti-haemorrhoidal and hypotensive.

It is also used as an antidote to poisonous mushrooms.

It is bruised with vinegar and used as a poultice for cracked nipples, abscesses and haemorrhoids.

The leaves are narcotic and poisonous.

A decoction is applied to discharging sores and internal haemorrhages.

A soothing and emollient poultice for the treatment of burns, abscesses, cold sores, haemorrhoids and similar conditions can be made from the leaves.

Aubergine leaves are toxic and should only be used externally.
The ashes of the peduncle are used in the treatment of intestinal haemorrhages, piles and toothache.
A decoction of the root is anti-asthmatic, astringent and general stimulant. It is made into a powder and applied both internally and externally as a remedy for bleeding.

The juice of the root is used in the treatment of otitis and toothache.

Did you know?

Botanically, eggplant is not a vegetable but a berry.

Eggplant is very close related (same genus) to potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) and tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum).

Further reading:

Literature

World Flora Online
WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families
A working list of all plant species