Solanaceae
Introduction
Above all, the family Solanaceae is known for the medicinal value of its alkaloids; important drugs derived from some of this family's substances have effects on the central nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and urinary systems (1).

(1) Nee, M, Symon, DE, Lester, RN, Jessop, JP (eds) (1999) Solanaceae IV; advances in Biology and Utilization. RBG Kew 485 p.

 

Brugmansia suaveolens • Toe

 

This species’ beautiful flowers with their intense fragrance make it a popular ornamental plant (1). Brugmansia suaveolens (formerly known as Datura suaveolens) grows well in hot lowlands and is widely employed for its medicinal and narcotic properties in the Amazonian regions and along lowland riverbanks of southern Colombia and Ecuador (2). In Peru, several leaves may be added to a brew of medicinal plants called ayahuasca. For many years, studies and observations of patients have been finding that ingestion of this species can have toxic effects (3,4).

(1) Amazonat

(2) Schultes, RE, Raffauf, RF (1992) Vine of the Soul; Medicine Men, their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia. 282 p.

(3) Hall RC, Popkin MK, Mchenry LE (1977) Angel's Trumpet psychosis: a central nervous system anticholinergic syndrome. Am J Psychiatry 134(3): 312-4

(4) Gopel C, Laufer C, Marcus A (2002) Three cases of angel's trumpet tea-induced psychosis in adolescent substance abusers. Nord J Psychiatry 56(1): 49-52

The picture below shows a young tarantula spider having created a protective space with leaves of the toe and its own thread.

The picture below shows a young tarantula spider having created a protective space with leaves of the toe and its own thread.

 

Solanum sp. • Jurubeba

 

In the Northeast of Brazil, many Solanum species, characterized by the presence of steroidal alkaloids, are used in traditional medicine (1). The common name Jurubeba originates from the Tupi-guarani "yu'beba", which refers to the presence of prickles on some of them (1).

The Jurubeba growing at Amazonat is generally not considered to be edible, and shows affinity to Solanum toxicarum and Solanum crinitum, that are listed as having toxic fruits, and no medicinal value (1). At Amazonat it was indicated though, that in case of survival, the fruits could be made edible by removing the hairs from the exocarp, and then slicing and boiling it (2).

(1) Nee, M, Symon, DE, Lester, RN, Jessop, JP (eds) (1999) Solanaceae IV; advances in Biology and Utilization. RBG Kew 485 p.

(2) Local guides at Amazonat, personal communication