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Shoo Fly (Nicandra physaloides)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Shoo Fly
Nicandra physaloides

The plant is thought to repel flies[188].

  • Medicinal Use

    The plant is diuretic[240]. There is no evidence to suggest that the plant is purgative, though an alkaloid with mydriatic action is present[240].

    The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have an acrid taste and a cooling, very poisonous potency[241]. Analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge, regular use increases bodily vigour[241]. They are used in the treatment of contagious disorders, toothache, intestinal pain from worms and impotence[241]. A decoction of the seeds is used in the treatment of fevers[272].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit[177]. No more details are given. The fruit is a berry about 15mm in diameter[200].

    Young leaves – boiled[177]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a family that contains many species of poisonous plants so some caution is advised. It is normally the leaves and the unripe fruits that are most likely to be suspect, this family also includes many food plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers etc.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow in situ in late spring, preferably after the last expected frosts[200]. Young seedlings can be transplanted. The seed can remain dormant for several decades[200].
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1], but prefers a rich well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Plants withstand poor weather conditions well and do not usually require staking[200]. Plants are fast-growing[188] and often self-sow freely[200]. Individual flowers only live for one day, but the plant produces a succession of flowers from summer to early autumn[188].
S. America – Peru. Introduced and casual in Britain.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.