The dried roots of kantakari (Solanum virginianum) are good for your respiration. They help the airways relax and make breathing easier when you have a cold or flu. They target certain immune cells to suppress the production of key inflammatory signaling molecules. Kantakari chemicals further activate immune cells called macrophages and neutrophils that eat up viruses. They also nudge the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas to remove excess glucose from the blood.

Growing wild with yellow and green berries and yellow thorns, the kantakari herb is home to a number of health-promoting compounds. The whole plant often proves useful; however, the dried roots are especially of value.

The compounds diosgenin and solasodine gain the most credit for kantakari’s health benefits, though being a herb, it’s probably a more complex network of compounds working in unison.

Why It’s So Great

1. Helps with Respiration

Kantakari helps your airways relax, which allows you to breathe with greater ease, especially when you have a cold or flu. The herb’s approach is threefold:

  • Fewer inflammatory signals: Kantakari targets certain immune cells to suppress the production of key inflammatory signaling molecules – the same molecules that cause swelling and discomfort. The antibody IgE produced by plasma cells takes a hit along with TNF-α produced by macrophages and monocytes.
  • Contained inflammatory signals: Another target is histamine in lung tissue. Histamine is necessary for inflammatory molecules to access the bloodstream. Its inhibition means less inflammation.
  • No viruses: Kantakari also takes care of viruses that may be interfering with your breathing. It does this by activating certain immune cells – those that can “eat” viruses (macrophages and neutrophils) and those that can cause virus-infected cells to kill themselves (natural killer cells). The chemical behind the scenes here is IFN-γ, produced by T cells. In the presence of kantakari, there’s more IFN-γ to go around.

2. Stabilizes Blood Glucose

In the course of a single day, your blood glucose level fluctuates several times in response to your food intake and activities. Thankfully, your body has a meticulous system in place that makes sure none of the fluctuations are extreme or harmful for you. Kantakari can integrate itself into this system and help reduce blood glucose.

  • It encourages your body’s cells to take up glucose through its insulin-like action. It may even nudge your pancreatic beta cells to produce more insulin. With your blood glucose more in control, you may feel a lot more energetic too.

3. Manages Lipids

In a healthy body, the amounts of lipids (triglycerides and several types of cholesterol) and their ratio are strictly monitored. A number of kantakari components toil together with your body’s cholesterol management system to keep the lipids in balance.

  • It increases the “good” HDL cholesterol while decreasing total cholesterol production. The HDL cholesterol helps drive out the “bad” LDLs that are linked with heart disease.

Lifestyle Tip

Have about 1–3 gm of the powdered herb every day. Try rationing that out over the course of the day, perhaps 300 mg–1 gm thrice a day.

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