Solanum tuberosum

scientific name: 
Solanum tuberosum L.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Herbaceous branched annual 0.3-1m high, with a mass of fine fiberous adventitious roots and swollen stem tubers.  Leaves pinnate with small interjected leaflets between the main pinnae; flowers white, red or purple; fruit a small inedible berry.



hematoma / bruise:

tubercle, mashed, cataplasm2


tubercle, raw, applied locally1

gastroduodenal ulcer:

tubercle, maceration, orally3


tubercle, mashed, friction2

The cooked tubercle (not green) of Solanum tuberosum is widely used for human consumption.  Green tubercles should not be ingested due to potential toxicity risk9-10.

For headache, baldness and hematoma / bruise:

There is no available information to establish a means of preparation and dosage other than that referred to by traditional use.

For gastroduodenal ulcer:

Drinking the fresh juice of the tubercle is recommended: 100-200 mL, 4-5 times a day, before meals, as antiacid19.

Any medicinal preparation must be preserved cold and used within the 24 hours.

According to published and other information:

Uses for headache, baldness, hematoma / bruise and gastroduodenal ulcer are classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use (OMS/WHO)4 documented in the TRAMIL surveys.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, seek medical attention, due to the potential risks that may beinvolved with headache.  The use of this resource can be considered complementary to medical treatment, unless it is contraindicated.

TRAMIL research20 (will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

El tubérculo fresco rayado (0.5 g), se aplicó vía tópica en el modelo de irritación dérmica en piel sana de 3 conejosNew Zealandpor 5 días consecutivos. No provocó ninguna alteración ni irritación durante el periodo de 11 días de observación.

The raw fresh tubercle externally applied induced bronchial asthma and rhino-conjunctivitis in two housewives with atopy history16.

The aqueous extract from the fresh tubercle, orally administered ad limitum to rats at a concentration of 2 mg/mL during 3 weeks protected against hepatic damage induced by diethylnitrosamine and gamma radiation17.

The alkaloid fraction present in the green portions administered orally to hamster had an LD50 < 0.33 g/kg.  Signs of toxicity included gastric and duodenal mucosa necrosis18.

The tubercle orally in hamster showed an LD100 = 4.17 g/kg18.

There is potential toxicity associated with the solanin content of the green portions, which should be disposed of, as ingestion of these portions could cause gastroenteritis, vomiting, hematuria and respiratory and nervous depression19.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal, oral or topical use in children or in pregnant or lactating women.

The plant contains lectins5-6.

The tubercle has been widely studied and contains, among other components, alkaloids: norepinephrine; flavonoid: petanin7-8.  The green portions of the tubercle contain steroidal alkaloids: solanin9 and solanidin7,10.

The fresh aerial parts contain steroidal alkaloids: solanin (0.05%)11.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of fresh aerial parts12: protein: 12.4%; fat: 2.8%; carbohydrate: 66.7%; fiber: 25.9%; ash: 18.1%; calcium: 2120 mg; phosphorus: 200 mg; potassium: 3950 mg.

Administration of the aqueous extract did not significantly reduce the number of gastric ulcers induced by the Shay method in rats, but slightly reduced the volume of gastric fluids and the amount of free acid13.

The homogenized preparation of dried tubercle inhibits polymorphonuclear elastase and does not stimulate macrophages, evidencing anti-inflammatory activity14-15.

The solanin present in the green portions has been used in antineuralgic and antialgic therapeutics, particularly for itch control, administered orally at a dosage of 0.05-0.20 g per person11.

The lectins contained in the plant are glycoproteins whose structure is similar to that of the auto-antigens of parietal cells causing self-immune gastritis5, which agglutinate Pneumocystis carinii6.




1 RESTREPO O, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL. Suna Hisca, Bogotá, Colombia.

2 GIRON L, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica). Centro Mesoamericano de Tecnología CEMAT, Guatemala, Guatemala.

3 OCAMPO R, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica), Instituto de Desarrollo Agrario, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.

4 WHO, 1991 Pautas para la evaluación de medicamentos herbarios WHO/TRM/91.4 (original inglés). Programa de Medicina Tradicional, OMS, Ginebra, Suiza.

5 CALLAGHAN JM, TOH BH, PETTITT JM, HUMPHRIS DC, GLEESON PA, 1990 Poly-N-acetyllactosamine-specific tomato lectin interacts with gastric parietal cells. Identification of a tomato lectin binding 60-90-X-10(3) Mr-membrane glycoprotein of tubulovesicles. J Cell Sci 95(4):563-576.

6 DE STEFANO JA, CUSHION MT, TRINKLE LS, WALZER PD, 1989 Lectins as probes to Pneumocystis carinii surface glycocomplexes. J Protozool 36(1):65-66S.

7 WILLAMAN J, HUI-LIN-LI, 1970 Alkaloid-bearing plants and their contained alkaloids. 1957-1968. Lloydia 33(3A)Supp.

8 ANDERSEN OM, OPHEIM S, AKSNES DW, FROYSTEIN NA, 1991 Structure of petanin, an acylated anthocyanin isolated from Solanum tuberosum, using homonuclear and heteronuclear two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance techniques. Phytochem Anal 2(5):230-236.

9 MONNET R, SABON F, VIALA A, 1956 Pommes de terre à teneur élevée en solanine. Food Sci Abs 28(3):314.

10 LIOGIER A, 1990 Plantas medicinales de Puerto Rico y del Caribe. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Iberoamericana de Ediciones, Inc.

11 PARIS R, MOYSE H, 1981 Précis de Matière Médicale. Paris, France: Ed. Maloine.

12 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press.

13 SANTOS AE, COUSIN LA, 1989 Efecto de los extractos acuosos de algunas plantas medicinales de Honduras en la prevención de úlceras gástricas en ratas (Tesis de medicina). Unidad de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras UNAH, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

14 HOJIMA Y, PISANO JJ, COCHRNE CG, 1983 Survey of plant inhibitors of polymorphonuclear leukocyte elastase, pancreatic elastase, cathepsin G, cathepsin B, Hageman-factor fragments, and other serine proteinases. Biochem Pharmacol 32(6):985-990.

15 MIWA M, KONG ZL, SHINOHARA K, WATANABE M, 1990 Macrophage stimulating activity of foods. Agr Biol Chem 54(7):1863-1866.

16 QUIRCE S, DIEZ GOMEZ ML, HINOJOSA M, CUEVAS M, URENA V, RIVAS MF, PUYANA J, CUESTA J, LOSADA E, 1989 Housewives with raw potato-induced bronchial asthma. Allergy 44(8):532-536.

17 KIM TH, KIM SH, LEE YS, CHOI SY, YOO SY, JANG JJ, 1994 Protective effects of potato extracts and 16,16-dimethyl prostaglandin E2 on the induction of hepatic foci by cotreatment of gamma radiation and diethylnitrosamine. Anticancer Res 14(5a):1979-1982.

18 BAKER D, KEELER R, GAFFIELD W, 1987 Lesions of potato sprout and extracted potato sprout alkaloid toxicity in Syrian hamsters. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 25(3):199-208.

19 CANIGUERAL S, VILA R, RISCO E, PEREZ F, PORTILLO A, FREIXA B, MILO B, VANACLOCHA B, RIOS JL, MORALES MA, ALONSO JR, BACHILLER LI, PERIS JB, STUBING G, 2002 Solanum tuberosum. Vademecum de Fitoterapia, Editorial Masson, Barcelona, España, Nov.20,2003. URL:


Irritación dérmica, piel sana en conejos, tubérculo fresco rayado de Solanum tuberosum. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, LEBi, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.