Eggplants, like tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes are members of the nightshade family.
All eggplants contain certain amounts of the toxin Solanine but younger fruit has higher concentrations. Reactions to this poison are usually gastrointestinal and range from mild nausea to severe and convulsive vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms have been reported such as burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, headache and dizziness. Hallucinations, loss of sensation, paralysis, fever, jaundice, dilated pupils and hypothermia have been reported in more severe cases. In large quantities, solanine poisoning can cause death. One study suggests that doses of 2 to 5 mg per kilogram of body weight can cause toxic symptoms, and doses of 3 to 6 mg per kilogram of body weight can be fatal. Symptoms usually occur 8 to 12 hours after ingestion, but may occur as rapidly as 30 minutes after eating high-solanine foods.
The lowest dose to cause symptoms of nausea is about 25 mg solanine for adults, a life-threatening dose for a regular-weight adult ranges about 400 mg solanine.
The first post to this answer was completely erroneous as it stated that heat neutralises Solanine. This was dangerously misleading and I have deleted it. Heat has absolutely no effect on solanine. The best way to avoid poisoning is to 1)choose only very ripe eggplants/aubergines, 2)soak for a couple of hours in very salty warm water, rinse and soak again in tap water, 3)cook until the eggplant is very well-done (this has nothing to do with exposure to heat but rather to the breakdown in fibers and leeching out of poison this causes). Another precaution is to peel the skin.
Solanine is also present in large quantities in potatoes which appear green below the skin. Some people are fine with peeling away this green bit but the safest thing is to not use them at all. It has been reported that deep frying causes solanine to leech out of the food and into the oil. So if you insist on eating green potatoes, frying is perhaps the best option. Solanine is also present in tomatoes but recordings of reactions are very limited.
Some interesting Solanine trivia...
Sir Walter Raleigh brought potatoes to Ireland and gave a potato plant to Queen Elizabeth I as a present. However the cooks at the royal banquet, unfamiliar with the plant, threw out the edible tubers and cooked the stems and leaves which contain high volumes of Solanine. Everyone fell deathly ill, prompting potatoes to be banned from the court. It would be two centuries before Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, gave potatoes to the poor who (with the help of Prussian soldiers) agreed to eat them.
Eggplants carry a small level of solanine, which is poisonous in large doses. The younger eggplants carry the highest doses of solanine. Only use very ripe eggplants to reduce consuming high levels of solanine.
I hope not, considering that I've had eggplant in three different forms over the last couple of days.
No, they are almost always eaten with the flesh of the plant. They are perfectly healthy.
The above statement is not true. Eggplant seeds contain nicotine, an addictive poison.
If you are allergic to them and you eat enough of them then yes.
Yes. They are from the nightshade family.
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nothing what so ever
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