Thoothuvalai, known by its botanical name Solanum Trilobatum and commonly called in English as “Purple Fruited Pea Egg Plant” is one of the important medicinal plants called as kayakalpa herb in siddha medicine.
It is a perennial herb that grows up to a height of 2-3 meters and is fully covered with thorns. One can see thorns even underneath the leaves and sometimes on the stalks of the fruit. The plant produces attractive purple-violet colored flowers. Leaves are triangular and are irregularly lobed. Fruits are small, globose and contains numerous tiny seeds. They come in light green color and turn red when ripe.
Thoothuvalai is quite a commonplace in Tamil households as a remedy for cough and cold but that is just the tip of the medicinal iceberg it is. The best thing about Thoothuvalai is that the herb, a widely used and effective home remedy, is well known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-cancerous properties.
Thoothuvalai is widely used in the treatment of tuberculosis, bronchial asthma, difficulty in breathing, sinus, chest congestion and other respiratory problems. Thoothuvalai with its anti-inflammatory properties and anti-microbial activity helps asthma patients with a fresh breath of life.
In Ayurveda, Thoothuvalai is considered as a natural steroid that could improve one’s strength, stamina and mental abilities. It is also known to improve memory and hearing.
In an average human life cycle subject to the modern lifestyle choices, diabetes has become a common problem. Thoothuvalai has been found to be helpful in the management of diabetes. The anti-oxidant property of the plant comes to play here as the ethanolic extract of the plant helps manage levels of blood glucose.
For any normal person, there is no escaping these very common diseases. It is just a matter of how frequent and how severe it is. Consuming thoothuvalai could help treat cough, cold and throat irritation in both kids and adults. And never mind if it is acute or chronic, it is equally good for both.
Cancer undoubtedly is the most dreaded disease of the time and Thoothuvalai has anti-cancerous properties too. Based on scientific findings, Thoothuvalai possesses the ability to slow down the development of cancer cells and tumor.
In Siddha system of medicine, Thuthuvalai is used as a medicine to treat liver diseases.
Research had also proven that Thuthuvalai have potential hepato protective activity.
S.trilobatum extract tested on rats subjected to ccl4 induced hepatic damage had proven that the extract has enhanced the recovery by its liver protecting properties and antioxidant activity
Thuthuvalai leaf extracts can be an ideal eco-friendly approach for controlling mosquitoes.
Leaf extracts of this plant had exhibited potential larvicidal and pupicidal activity against Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus and Anopheles stephensi that can carry dangerous diseases like Dengue and Malaria (16).
The leaf extracts also exhibited oviposition deterrent and skin repellent activities against Anopheles stephensi
Thoothuvalai is traditionally used to treat diseases like sinus, tuberculosis and other lung diseases. It is rich in calcium, good for the bones.
Thoothuvalai Kashayam, Rasam and Thuvaiyal are some of the popular ways of taking this herb. It can also be taken in powder form.
Ayurvedic and Siddha practitioners had used this herb for prevention and also for treating several health ailments. Solanum trilobatum also has huge importance as medicine across several ethnic groups in India (18,19).
Fruits of this plant are used for treating cough, hiccups, and fatigue. It is also used for improving the quality of semen.
Tender leaves of this plant are considered as a remedy for cough, intestinal worms and are even believed to improve memory.
Thuthuvalai is used as a leafy vegetable in some regions of South India, where people prepare curries and chutneys using these leaves. One can also avail the benefits of this herb even in its powdered form which are available online.
Take care while plucking the Thuthuvalai leaves or fruits, as the plant is fully covered with thorns.
Also, please be careful while preparing recipes or remedies using the leaves of this plant and avoid using the thorn areas if at all present.
As per Ayurveda consuming Thuthuvalai may cause an increase in body heat and thirsty.