I grew up seeing susumber (Solanum torvum) medicinal herb all over the place. This plant is grown in the yards, the open field and right by the road sides on the Island. The young folks just pass it by each day without any knowledge that it has so much health benefits. The older folks know all about it and can tell you what it is good for. So many plants, so many medicinal herbs, right here on this land for us to use and to treat every ailment under the sun. Solanum Torvum is one of them.
Some people hate susumba because if it is not controlled, it can really take up a lot of land space in a short while. However, proper management of this plant can make things very easy for the haters. I would advise everyone not to get rid of it completely.
The medicinal properties are anorectic, anti-anemic, expectorant, anti-fungal, diuretic as well as anti-diabetic. The root, seeds, and leaves can be used as herbal remedies. The constituents are iron, calcium, triterpenes, vitamin C, vitamin A, fats, and steroids
Susumber is native to native to the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America as well as Florida. It is from the Solanaceae family and it is perennial plant with sharp, pointed prickles. So due care must be considered when handling it, in order to avoid getting hurt.
The common names are Solanum torvum, Pea aubergine, Devil's fig, Turkey berry, Susamba, Pea eggplant, Prickly nightshade, Wild eggplant, Gully beans, Plate brush and Shoo-shoo bush. It bears green berries and can become yellow when they are fully riped. The berries are also called seeds and fruits. In Jamaica, the berries are referred to as gully beans and they are edible.
On the culinary side, it may be used in sauces,
gravy and soups. Some folks enjoyed adding it to cabbage and callaloo.
An excess of the cooked berries might encourage cholinergic toxicity. So
be careful when cooking the seeds. Do not overdo it.
Turkey berry is herbal remedy to a number of ailments. Some the health benefits include the treatment of diabetes, anemia and getting rid of ringworm. Cook the seeds and consume for these ailments.
The leaves are not to be left out. They can be crushed, juiced and then use the juice to fight against liver spots and other skin ailments. Apply the juice to affected area and leave it on until the following day. This method may be repeated for up to nine days.
Boil the leaves to prepare tea and consume to remedy cold, flu and other respiratory conditions. Also, the tea can treat tumors, rheumatism, liver conditions, night blindness and other ailments.
The next time you see a susumber medicinal herb, you might want to cherish it instead of destroying it.
Submitted April 25, 2017