Botanical name: Solanum aviculare & Solanum laciniatum     
Common name: Kangaroo apple, nightshade, poroporo, bullibulli
Part used: Herb

As with many native plants, information on the medicinal effects of this plant is scarce, however the berries and leaves appear to have had traditional uses as a food and to treat skin complaints. Poroporo is now used primarily as a topical anti-inflammatory in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema. The constituent believed to be responsible for the healing activity of this plant is the steroidal saponin solasonine.

Steroidal saponins have a close structural relationship to steroid hormones produced by the body (eg. the anti-inflammatory steroid cortisol). Solasonine, is used commercially as a precursor for the production of complex steroidal compounds in Europe, and is believed to either interact directly with steroid receptors on the outside of cells, or act as a precursor for the body’s own production of anti-inflammatory steroid hormones within the body (ie. the body manufactures its steroid hormones from these substances).

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