Black bryony

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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.

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.

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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.