Solanum Trilobatum is an important herb according to Siddha and Ayurveda medicine system. It is very famous and readily available in the southern region of India. It is thorny Creeper and is often grown along the fence of houses. In Tamil it is called as Thoodhuvalai (Tamil: தூதுவளை). In Siddha Medicine, it is extensively used for treating cold, cough, asthma and other respiratory problem. It gives instant relief and cures running nose in under two hours. Due to its effectiveness in treating these day to day cold related diseases it is considered as one of the most important medicinal herbs in South India.
The ancient Siddha Texts (in the language Tamil) says
தூதுவே ளையையுணத் தொக்கினிற் றொக்கிய
வேதையா நொயெலா மெய்யைவிட் டகலுமே
It means, the leaves of Solanum Trilobatum, when dried in shade and powdered and consumed, is capable of curing any diseases related to cold and respiratory problems.
It belongs to Solanaceae family and like many other species of this family the fruits are mildly toxic (though certain medicines use the berry, it should not be consumed as food), the medicinal part of the plant is the leaves. The leaves are trilobal, and has thorns on them, so while consuming it the thorns should be removed carefully as the tip of the thorns are mildly toxic and can cause digestive problems if consumed. However heating reduces the toxicity of the thorns.
How to Consume Solanum Trilobatum – Thoodhuvalai
The leaves of Solanum Trilobatum (after removing the thorns) can be used just like any other greens for cooking. In addition to the medicinal properties it is high nutritious and have a lot of essential nutrients and anti-oxidants. The most common way of consuming Thoodhuvalai is making a dish called as Thuvaiyal, it is quite simple remove the thorns from the leaves, and fry them in ghee (or sesame seed oil) in a pan using mild heat add some fried Black gram, then add a couple of chillies, tamarind and salt to taste. Grind them coarsely, this can be added to rice or other staple food that you consume.
If you find cooking this as difficult, then there are powdered Solanum Trilobatum leaves available in the market in packed form. You can just take a tea spoon of the powder and mix it with water and have it 30 minutes before food. According to Siddha Medicine along with Vallarai (Centella asiatica), it also helps in improving the brain functioning and detoxifying the body.