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Black bryony (Tamus communis,Dioscorea communis)

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Also listed as: Tamus communis, Dioscorea communis
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Calcium oxalate crystals, dihydrophenanthrene, dioscin, Dioscoreaceae (family), Dioscorea communis, gracillin, histamine, phenanthrenes, Tamus communis.
  • Note: Black bryony should not be confused with bryony species of the Bryonia genus. Byronia species, such as white bryony (Bryonia alba), are members of the Cucurbitaceae family and are unrelated to black bryony and other members of the Dioscoreaceae family.

Background
  • Black bryony (Tamus communis) is a flowering, herbaceous vine in the yam family (Dioscoreaceae) that grows 2-4 meters tall and bears bright red berry fruit. Native to Europe, northwestern Africa, and western Asia, black bryony has twining stems and spirally arranged heart-shaped leaves that grow up to 10 centimeters long and 8 centimeters wide. The greenish-yellow flowers grow to be 3-6 millimeters in diameter, with six petals per bloom. The male flowers produce then 5-10 centimeters racemes; female flowers are arranged in shorter clusters.
  • There is currently insufficient available evidence in humans to support the use of black bryony for any indication.
  • Black bryony (Tamus communis) is not currently listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "Everything Added to Food in the United States" (EAFUS) database, and its generally regarded as safe (GRAS) status is currently not available.
  • According to secondary sources, all components of the black bryony plant, including the tubers, are poisonous due to saponin content. Therefore, it is not typically used internally; however, it has been used as a poultice for bruises and inflamed joints. It has been suggested that black bryony be used topically with caution, due to a tendency for the plant to cause painful blisters.
  • Studies have isolated calcium oxalate deposits and histamines in the berry juice and rhizomes, which may contribute to skin irritation and contact dermatitis associated with black bryony.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Analgesic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, bruises, granuloma annulare, joint inflammation.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for black bryony.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for black bryony.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with known allergies or sensitivity to black bryony, any of its constituents, or members of the Dioscoreaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Limited information about the adverse effects of black bryony is available.
  • According to plant and herbal textbooks, all parts of the plant are poisonous when ingested, presumably due to its saponin content.
  • Black bryony should be applied to the skin cautiously, as contact dermatitis, skin lesions (toxidermia), and skin irritation have been reported.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Black bryony is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
  • Avoid ingestion due to potential poisonous content. According to plant and herbal textbooks, all parts of the black bryony plant are poisonous when ingested, presumably due to saponin content.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Black bryony may have anti-inflammatory effects comparable to the steroid hydrocortisone.
  • Compounds in black bryony may have anticancer effects against cervical cancer cells.
  • Compounds in black bryony may have antiviral effects against vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and human rhinovirus type 1B.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Black bryony may have anti-inflammatory effects comparable to the steroid hydrocortisone.
  • Compounds in black bryony may have anticancer effects against cervical cancer cells.
  • Compounds in black bryony may have antiviral effects against vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and human rhinovirus type 1B.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Capasso, F, Mascolo, N, Autore, G, et al. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity in alcoholic extract of Tamus communis L. J Ethnopharmacol 1983;8(3):321-325.
  2. Kovacs, A, Forgo, P, Zupko, I, et al. Phenanthrenes and a dihydrophenanthrene from Tamus communis and their cytotoxic activity. Phytochemistry 2007;68(5):687-691.
  3. Rethy, B, Kovacs, A, Zupko, I, et al. Cytotoxic phenanthrenes from the rhizomes of Tamus communis. Planta Med 2006;72(8):767-770.
  4. Mascolo, N, Autore, G, and Capasso, F. Local anti-inflammatory activity of Tamus communis. J Ethnopharmacol 1987;19(1):81-84.
  5. Aquino, R, Conti, C, De Simone, F, et al. Antiviral activity of constituents of Tamus communis. J Chemother 1991;3(5):305-309.
  6. Schmidt, RJ and Moult, SP. The dermatitic properties of black bryony (Tamus communis L.). Contact Dermatitis 1983;9(5):390-396.
  7. Kashchenko, VB. and Kozhukhar', GS. [Toxidermia caused by Tamus communis]. Vestn Dermatol Venerol 1986;(5):50-51.
  8. Miliavskii, AI. [Contact dermatitis caused by black bryony]. Vestn Dermatol Venerol 1979;(7):49-50.
  9. Capasso, F, De Simone, F, and Senatore, F. Sterol constituents of Tamus communis L. J Ethnopharmacol 1983;8(3):327-329.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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