Nightshade, or Solamon, L. a genus of plants, comprising 66 species ; of which only two are natives of Britain ; namely,
1. The Dulcamara, Bitter-sweet, or Woody-Nightshade, growing in moist brakes, hedges, and on the sides of cold brooks and ditches, where it flowers in the months of June and July. It endures ten years in the same soil, and attains, in the shade, the height of seven feet; but, if there be no shrubs in their vicinity, the shoots creep along the ground, and frequently strike new roots. On ac-count of their depth, the plant is uncommonly useful towards consolidating dams and banks of rivers. —BoeRhaave informs as, that the bitter-sweet is far superior to sar-saparilla ;- and, according to Lin-naeus, an infusion of the young twigs is eminently serviceable in acute rheumatisms, inflammations, fevers, etc. It has also been found very efficacious in C3ses of asthma, jaundice, and of the scurvy; for which purposes, Dr. Haelenberg directs a pint of boiling water to be poured upon two drams of the stalks, previously sliced and dried : after standing half an hour, the whole must be boiled for about fifteen minutes. The dose is two tea-cupfuls, or more, in the morning and evening. The stalks may be gathered early in the spring, or late in autumn ;- in smell, the root of this vegetable resembles that of the potatoe.—Its beautiful red berries have a disagreeable taste, and possess deleterious properties.—Sheep and goats eat the dulcamara, but horses, cows, and swine refuse it.
2. The Nigrum, Common Nightshade, or Garden Nightshade; which grows among rubbish, on dung-hills, and in kitchen gardens : it flowers from June to October.—Though generally considered as a poisonous weed, the Dalmatians fry it in butter, and eat this dish with a view to procure a comfortable sleep ; an effect which the writer of these pages had occasion to witness.—From one to three grains of the leaves, infused in boiling water, and taken at bed-time, induce a copious perspiration, increase the secretion of urine, and generally operate as a laxative on the following day. Hence this simple preparation, if judiciously administered, may prove of great service in several affections; but its influence on the nerves is too precarious to admit or its use, without professional advice.—The leaves, externally applied, abate inflammation and assuage pain; the flowers possess the odour of musk. -The whole plant is refused by every kind of cattle.