Synsepalum dulcificum is a shrub that grows up to 10 feet in cultivation. Leaves are 5 to 10 centimeters long, 2 to 3.7 centimeters wide, glabrous below, and clustered at the end of branchlets. Fruit is orange- colored containing one seed. Seeds are the size of coffee beans.
- Introduced to the Philippines.
- Native to West Africa.
- Proximate and nutrient analysis of pulp yielded 7.75% protein, 59.55% moisture, 4.36% ash, 6.24% crude fiber, 3.26% fat and 18.84% carbohydrate. Mineral analysis yielded 100 ppm calcium, 24.20 ppm iron, 9.49 ppm zinc, 6.22 ppm copper, 0.01 ppm chromium, and 0.01 ppm cobalt. Vitamin analysis yielded 0.04% vitamin A, 22.69% vitamin C, 0.01% vitamin D and 0.02% vitamin K.
(see study below) (4)
- Fruit contains a glycoprotein molecule called miraculin. (see study below / Miraculin)
- In a study on amino acid profile of the berry, the highest essential amino acid was leucine (2.35 g/00g), the lowest was methionine (o,31 g/100g protein). Non essential amino acid was highest with glutamic acid (3.43 g/100g protein) and lowest was glycine (0.38 g.100g protein). (7)
- Leaves yielded lupeol, lupenone, and lupeol acetate.
- Study showed the leaves to be rich in protein, fiber, and polysaccharide. Total amino acid 8.65 g/100g, with 41.5% essential amino acid. Leaf essential oil showed major compounds of spathulenol, limonene, diisooctyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, palmitic acid and linalool. (see study below)
- Stems yielded a new amide, dihydro-feruloyl-5-methoxytyramine (1),
together with 13 known compounds, including (+)-syringaresinol (2), (+)-epi-syringaresinol (3), 4-acetonyl-3,5-dimethoxy-p-quinol (4), cis-p-coumaric acid (5), trans-p-coumaric acid (6), p-hydroxybenzoic acid (7), syringic acid (8), vanillic acid (9), veratric acid (10), N-cis-feruloyltyramine (11), N-trans-feruloyltyramine (12) and N-cis-caffeoyltyramine (13). (see study below) (14)
- Study evaluated the amino acid profile and oxidizable vitamin content of the berry. Among the essential amino acids, leucine (2.35g/100g protein) was highest and among non-essential fatty acids, glutamic acid (3.43 g/100g protein) was highest. Among oxidizable vitamins, vitamin C (1.33 mg/100g) was more abundant than vitamin A (2.54 µg) and vitamin E (0.78 mg/100g). (see study below) (16)
- Study of leaf essential oil yielded 44 components with major chemical compounds, viz. spathulenol (24.194%), limonene (15.805%), diisooctyl phthalate (12.402%), dibutyl phthalate (10.326%), palmitic acid (4.865%) and linalool (2.139%). (see study below) (18)
- Quantitative phytochemical analysis of the pulp yielded flavonoids 57.01%, tannins 7.12%, saponins 3.45%, alkaloids 0.0001%, glycosides 0.0001%, resins 0.0003%, terpenoids 0.0002%, steroids 0.0001%, and cyanogenic glygosides 0.0003%. (22)
- Antinutrient analysis of the pulp yielded 5.6% oxalate, 0.03% phytates and 0.02% hemagglutanin.
- Amino acid composition of the pulp yielded
8.055% tryptophan, 1.35% phenylalanine, 0.7% isoleucine, 0.5% tyrosine, 1.05% methionine, 0.4% proline, 0.69% valine, 1.1% threonine, 0.4% histidine, 0.5% alanine, 1.02% glutamine, 1.6% glutamic acid, 0.7% glycine, 0.3% serine, 1% arginine, 0.1% aspartic acid, 1.23% asparagine, 0.6% lysine and 0.6% leucine. (22)
- Study of miracle berry flesh identified and quantified 12 phenolics at levels from 0.3 kaempferol to 17.8 mg/100 g fresh weight for epicatechin. Total phenolics and total flavonoid contents were 1448.3 GA and 9.9 QR equiv/100 g FW for the flesh, respectively, and 306.7 GA and 3.8 mg QR Equiv/100 g FW for the seeds. (see study below) (27)
- Phytochemical screening of fruit showed tannins, flavonoids, steroids, and cardiac glycosides, with an absence of alkaloids and saponins. Total phenolic and flavonoid content were 0.262 mg/g tannic acid equivalent and 0.672 mg/g quercetin equivalent, respectively. (see study below) (30)
- Study isolated ficumone, a 2-oxetanone, from the fruits of S. dulcificum, characterized as (R*)-4-hydroxy-2-oxetanone. (32)
- It has the unique effect on taste receptors, making acidic and bitter fruits taste sweet. When held in the tongue, strong sweetness is sensed for over 1 hour each time a sour solution is tasted. This property is attributed to a glycoprotein called "miraculin." (see study below) (14)
- Studies have suggested antidiabetic, antioxidant, antiproliferative, hepatoprotective, anticancer , antibacterial, antihyperuricemic properties.
Edibility / Culinary
- In tropical West Africa, fruit pulp is used to sweeten palm wine.
- In India, used as vegetable. In Rajasthan, leaves used in preparing bread by mixing with Bajra. In Tamil Nadu, leaves and tender shoots cooked and eaten as vegetable. (19)
- No folkloric medicinal use reported in the Philippines.
- Leaves have been used for heartburn, indigestion, poor appetite, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- In Japan, popular among patients with diabetes and dieters.
- In India, poultice of plant applied to stomach in abdominal complaints, erysipelas.
- "Psychedelic" berry: A non-narcotic ingredient in social soirées referred to as "flavor tripping" parties.
- Taste Improvement: Study shows improvement of taste in chemotherapy patients. While miracle fruit doesn't work for everyone, study shows it improved the metallic taste from chemotherapy in about 70% of participants. (see study below) (8) (12)
• Improvement of Insulin Resistance / Anti-Diabetic: Study employed miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) to investigate the effect of insulin resistance induced by fructose-rich chow in rats. A single oral dose of miracle fruit powder decreased the plasma glucose in a dose dependent manner. Results suggest miracle fruit can be a adjuvant for treating diabetes mellitus with insulin resistance because of its ability to improve insulin sensitivity. (3)
• Antioxidant Vitamin Composition: Study for antioxidant vitamins composition of S. dulcificum pulp yielded vitamin A 0.04%, vitamin C 22.69%, vitamin D 0.01%, vitamin K 0.02%. (see proximate and micronutrient study above). (4)
• Miraculin: Miraculin (MCL) is a homodimeric protein isolated from the red berries of Richadella dulcifica. A cell-based assay quantitatively evaluated the acid-induced sweetness of MCL and found that MCL activated hT1R2-hT1R3 pH-dependently as pH decreased and receptor activation occurred every time an acid solution was applied. Study suggests MCL binds hT1R2-hT1R3 an an antagonist at neutral pH and functional changes into an agonist at acidic pH, the mechanism for its taste modifying activity. (5)
• Molecular Mechanisms of Sweet Taste Enhancers: Positive allostric modulators of human sweet taste have been developed as a new way of reducing dietary sugar intake. Study showed the sweet taste enhancers work at the molecular level, with a similar mechanism as the natural umami taste enhancer molecules. Whereas sweeteners bind to the hinge region and induce closure of the Venus flytrap domain of T1R2, the enhancers bind close to the opening and further stabilize the close and active conformation of the receptor. (6)
• Improvement of Food Palatability in Chemotherapy Patients: A pilot study of the S. dulcificum fruit in 8 patients with cancer evaluated if consumption of the miracle fruit could improve chemotherapy-associated taste changes. All participants reported positive taste changes with the supplement. (8)
• Essential Oil / Leaves / Flavonoids / Antibacterial / Anti-Tumor: Study of essential oil of leaf displayed varying degrees of antibacterial activity against tested bacteria except for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It showed dose dependent antitumor activity against human K562 cancer cell line. Leaf total flavonoids can reduce BUN, LD, and MDA, enhance mice liver glycogen and activity of CAT, SOD, and antitumoral activity. (10)
• Effect of Pulp on Biochemical Parameters: Study of methanol extract of pulp showed no negative effect on some biochemical parameters in albino rats. No toxicity was seen up to 5,000 mg/kg. There was reduction in total serum cholesterol and LDL, with an increase in HDL concentration. A glucose lowering effect was attributed to modifications in glucose uptake in the intestine. (11)
• Treatment of Taste Alteration in Chemotherapy: A pilot study reported on a single institution trial that assessed whether MF improved dysgeusia in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Patients were randomized in a crossover fashion. At baseline, 20 (87%) complained of metallic taste and 78% of no taste. Of 24 patients who completed the study, 30% reported improvement in taste, 35% thought MF was helpful, with a 52% response when considering stabilization of taste. Furthermore, study concludes MF is safe for use in patients undergoing chemotherapy. (12)
• Antioxidant / Phenolics and Flavonoids in Skin, Pulp, and Seeds: Study showed the free phenolic content in the skin was 3 times that of the pulp and 4 times that in seeds. Antioxidant activities in skin and pulp were comparable, and significantly higher in seeds. (13)
• Antioxidant / Inhibition of Human Melanoma Proliferation: Study evaluated the properties of 13 pure constituents isolated from the stems. Compounds 2 ad 3 showed significant inhibition effects on human melanoma cells. Results also showed moderate DPPH, ABT radical scavenging, metal chelating and reducing power. (14)
• Amino Acid and Oxidizable Vitamin Profile: Study evaluated the amino acid profile of Synsepalum dulcificum berry. Among the essential amino acids, leucine (2.35g/100g protein) was highest while methionine (0.31 g/100g protein) was lowest. Among non-essential fatty acids, glutamic acid (3.43 g/100g protein) was highest while glycine (0.38 g/100g protein) was lowest. Among oxidizable vitamins, vitamin C (1.33 mg/100g) was more abundant than vitamin A (2.54 µg) and vitamin E (0.78 mg/100g). (16)
• Antitumor / Antibacterial / Leaf Essential Oil: Antibacterial assay of leaf essential oil showed varying degrees of activity against all tested bacteria except for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Antitumoral activity using MTT assay exhibited dose dependent activity against human K562 cancer cell line. (see constituents above) (18)
• α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity / Antioxidant /
Seeds and Leaves: Study evaluated the monosaccharide composition, molecular weight, and in vitro bioactivities (antioxidant, α-glucosidase inhibition) of polysaccharides from seeds and leaves. The antioxidant and α-glucosidase inhibition of leaf polysaccharide were significantly greater than seed polysaccharides. MFL-P showed remarkably better α-glucosidase inhibition than acarbose. Results suggest miracle fruit leaf polysaccharide has potential as a functional factor with both antioxidant and antidiabetic activities in food applications. (19)
• Herb-Drug Interactions: Compounds isolated from Synsepalum dulcificum have antioxidant activity which may, theoretically, interfere with the actions of chemotherapeutic drugs, such as doxorubicin and platinum compounds. (20)
• Antidiabetic Potential / Methanolic and Flavonoid-Rich Leaf Extracts: Study investigated the antidiabetic potentials of both methanolic and flavonoid-rich leaf extracts of S. dulcificum in type 2 diabetic Wistar albino rats. Biochemical parameters such as liver and kidney functions, lipid profile, lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzymes and histopathology were assessed. Administration of the extracts for 21 days significantly (p<0.05) improved observed pathologic changes associated with type 2 diabetes. (21)
• Anti-Hyperuricemic / Inhibition of Xanthine Oxidase: Extracts isolated from miracle fruit exhibited potential for reduction of uric acid and inhibited xanthine oxidase activity in vitro and in monosodium urate (MSU)-treated RAW264.7 macrophages. Butanol extracts attenuated oxonic acid potassium salt-induced hyperuricemia in mice by lowering serum uric acid and activating hepatic xanthine oxidase. Effects were comparable to allopurinol and suggests a potential for the butanol extract as a novel anti-hyperuricemic agent. (23)
• Acute Toxicity Study
/ Benefit on Biochemical Parameters: Study evaluated the beneficial effects of methanol extract of S. dulcificum on some biochemical parameters in a rat model. Acute toxicity study showed the methanol extract was not toxic up to 5000 mg/kbw per day for 28 days. 100 mg/kbw doses of ME significantly reduced (;<0.05) serum levels of bilirubin, LDL, ALT, and glucose after 14 days. HDL was significantly increase (p<0.05). (24)
• Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the total phenols, total flavonoids, and total antioxidant content of a methanol leaf extract of S. dulcificum. HPLC confirmed the presence of polyphenols and carotenoids. Extract yielded flavonoids, saponins, terpenoids, and cardiac glycosides. IC50 of the extract for DPPH, NO, OH-, and ABTS radical scavenging assays were 139.45 µg/ml, 119.17 µg/ml, 147.65 µg/ml, and 135.83 µg/ml, respectively. Results showed potential in preventing and ameliorating diseases associated with free radicals. (25)
• Effect of Seed Oil In Women with Damaged Hair: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of a hair oil containing MSFO (miracle fruit seed oil) and its effects in long-haired women with excessive hair breakage. Results showed increased levels of unbroken hairs by reducing hair breakage. The MDSO showed to be a safe and effective option for treatment of women suffering from hair breakage and damaged hair. (26)
• Free Radical Scavenging / Phenolic and Flavonoid Content / Flesh and Seed: Free radical scavenging and reducing percentage of the flesh extract was 96.3% and 32.5% in DPPH and ABTS assays, respectively, along with a high FRAP of 22.9 mmol/100g for the flesh extract. Results suggest the miracle berry as an antioxidant-rich food. (see constituents above) (27)
• Methods for Early Fruiting: Study reports on the beneficial effect of water supply and fertilization on both vegetative and reproductive growth in S. dulcificum. Water supply is the most important factor unlocking flowering, while a combination of N, P, and K at dose of 1.5 g for all consistently resulted in highest performance for growth and yield traits. Study results will intensity breeding and horticultural development. (28)
on Human Colorectal Cancer Cells / Stem and Berry: Study showed cytotoxicity of S. dulcificum stem methanolic extract, stem EtOH, berry EtOH extracts on human colon cancer (HCT-116 and HT-29) cell lines via induced apoptosis caused by up-regulation of expression of early apoptotic genes, c-fos and c-jun. (29)
/ Antioxidant / Fruit: Study evaluated the effect of S. dulcificum on oxidative stress and hepatotoxicity markers in rats. Results showed the berry fruit extract at lower dose range of <100 mg/kg may boost antioxidant defense and exert hepatoprotective properties while higher doses may be pro-oxidative. (see constituents above ) (30)
- Fruit available commercially as actual berries (frozen because of high moisture and perishability), freeze-dried fruit granules and fruit tablets.
- Berries, fruit extracts and fruit seed oil in the cybermarket.