In Kenya, the African nightshades (ANS) (Solanum nigram L.) are among the most widely distributed and consumed traditional vegetables. The current study was conducted to better understand the cultural variability in the use patterns and values of these vegetables. The study was conducted in Kisii, Kakamega and Nakuru counties of Kenya. Data was collected on ANS utilization using a survey of 630 farmers, 6 focus group discussions and 9 key informant interviews. The results indicated that the vegetable plays an important role in the communities as food (100%), medicine (78%) and spiritual (9%) use. As medicine, 75-85% of the respondents used the ANS to treat worms, stomach ache, diarrhea and ulcers. Additionally, ANS was used to treat eye infections (65%), boils and wounds (57%) and constipation (54%). The plant parts used for medicinal purposes were leaves (90%) shoots (66%), fruits (35%) and roots (25%). These findings demonstrate that ANS is an important vegetable with multiple uses across the counties surveyed. The study underscores the need to document and preserve indigenous knowledge on utilization of ANS for promotion in conservation and commercialization, and future scientific research on the plants’ efficacy and safety.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Journal Articles
Agris Subject Categories:
RUFORUM (Grant No. RU 2014 GRG-104)