Family • Solanaceae - Solanum cumingii Dunal - BITTER APPLE

Scientific names

Solanum incanum Linn.
Solanum coagulans Blanco
Solanum cumingii Dunal
Solanum sanctum F. Vill

Common names

Balbalusan (Ilk.)
Malvalusa (Ibn.)
Tabulak (Bang.)
Tabulali (Pang.)
Taling-taling (Yak.)
Talong-taloñgan (Tag.)
Tarambulo (Tag.)
Tarong-ti-aso (Tag.)
Tarongbulongi-aso (Tag.)
Vahusa (Iv.)
Bitter apple (Engl.)
Bitter garden egg (Engl.)
Bitter tomato (Engl.)
Grey bitter apple (Engl.)
Sodom’s apple (Engl.)
Thorn apple (Engl.)

Talong-talongan is an ascending or spreading weed, somewhat branched, hairy herb, 30 to 60 centimeters in height. Stems, petioles, and leaves are armed with scattered, sharp, rather stout spines, 3 to 6 millimeters in length. Leaves are oblong-ovate, 4 to 12 centimeters long, pointed at the tip, inequilateral at the base, with irregularly undulate-lobed margins. Flowers, 1 to 5, are borne in racemes in the axils of leaves. Calyx is green, with a slightly spiny tube. Corolla is violet or purplish, rotate, and shallowly 5 -lobed, about 2 centimeters in diameter.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antibiotic Action of Solanum incanum Linnaeus / V Beaman-Mbaya and S I Muhammed / Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1976 June; 9(6): 920–924.

(2) Investigation of the Effect of Solanum incanum on Postprandial Blood Glucose Concentration of Normoglycemic Nigerians / Y Uchenna Okolie, E Chinwe Okeke et al /

(3) Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of lung cancer / Yang Zhou, Wenyuan Gao, Kefeng Li / Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of lung cancer / Asian Journal of Traditional Medicines, 2008, 3 ( 1 )

/ AUTA, R.: JAMES, S. A.: AUTA, T. & SOFA, E. M./ Science World Journal Vol 6 (No 3) 2011

– Found in waste places throughout the Philippines at low and medium altitudes.

– Fruit yields solanine and related glycoalkaloids.
– Phytochemical screening yields crude protein, lipids, crude fiber, flavonoids, saponins, and oxalate.
– A rich source of mineral elements, sodium and zinc being the most abundant.


– Leaf poultice resolvent.
– Seeds are sedating.
– Fruit is bitter, reducing its palatability, and may be due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides.

Parts utilized and preparation
Leaves and seeds.

· In Africa, fruit is used as a vegetable. Its bitter taste reduces its palatability. Salting and rinsing the preboiled fruit can soften and remove some of its bitterness.


· Seeds used as sedative; also used for toothaches.
· Poultice of leaves are mitigating and resolvent; used for swelling and inflammation.
· In Kenya, fruit used for treatment of cutaneous mycotic conditions. Roots used for fever, wounds, toothache and stomach aches.
· In Ethiopia, roots used for amoebic dysentery; as vermifuge, anti-protozoal and antifungal.

Study Findings
(Studies below belong to Solanum incanum listed by The Plant List as a synonym of Solanum sanctum L. I have found no studies on Talong-tlongan in the Philippines.)
• Antibacterial: Study showed isolated compounds to be effective inhibitors of the growth of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, yeasts, dermatophytes and some pathogens of agricultural produce.
• Hypoglycemic: Study of three vegetables (Solanum incanum, V amygdalina and G latifolium) showed significant reductions of blood glucose levels at most post-prandial points. The bioactive antioxidant substances naturally occurring in stems, roots and leaves may possess an insulin-like effect. The rich NSP content of Solanum incanum is also likely to be a reducing factor.
• Unripe Fruit Toxicity / Veterinary Study: Study on ripe fruits of S incanum showed no toxicity effect in sheep and goats. Unripe fruits, however, showed toxicity, more in sheep than in goat, the goats probably having a way of reducing the toxic effects of the unripe fruits.
• Anti-Malarial: In a study of nine Ethiopian plants for anti-malarial activity, S incanum exhibited moderate activity.
• Solamargine / Anti-Lung Cancer: Solamargine has be found to be a powerful cytotoxic agent in four human lung cancer cell lines through SM-induced apoptosis of cells. SM was also found to increase the binding activities of TNF-alpha and TNF-beta to lung cancer cells.
• Solamargine / Anti-Cancer: Solamargine (SM), a steroidal glycoalkaloid, has been isolated from the Chinese herb Solanum incanum, and has shown inhibition in the growth of some cancer cell lines and induced significant apoptosis. Study showed SM effectively triggers apoptosis in MDR (multidrug resistant) tumor cells, which is associated with actin disruption and downregulation of MDR1 expression.
• Immunological Effects / Antischistosomal Effects: Study evaluated the effectiveness of Solanum incanum and Carica papaya extract as possible antischistosomal agents. In Swiss mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni cercariae, both extracts had immunological effects. However, S. incanum extracts had the greatest effect on worm reduction, worm recovery and IgG specific immunological responses compared to C. papaya.
• Antinociceptive / Antipyretic: Study of root extract showed significant antipyretic effect and significant antinociceptive activity. Results support the folkloric use of root extracts for pain and fever.