Herb: Horse Nettle

Latin name: Solanum carolinense

Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)

Medicinal use of Horse Nettle:

This plant should be used with caution, see the notes above on toxicity. The berries and the root are anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac and diuretic. They have been used in the treatment of epilepsy. They have been recommended in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other convulsive disorders. The berries should be harvested when fully ripe and carefully air-dried. An infusion of the seeds has been gargled as a treatment for sore throats and drunk in the treatment of goitre. A tea made from the wilted leaves has been gargled in the treatment of sore throats and the tea has been drunk in the treatment of worms. A poultice made from the leaves has been applied to poison ivy rash.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Dry fields and waste ground, usually in sandy soils.

Other uses of Horse Nettle:

The leaves have been used as an insecticide.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.

Cultivation of Horse Nettle:

Dry fields and waste ground, usually in sandy soils.

Known hazards of Solanum carolinense:

All parts of the plant are potentially poisonous. Fatalities have been reported with children.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.