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1Family Solanaceae
Jerusalem cherry
Solanum pseudocapsicum Linn.

Shan hu yin

Scientific names Common names
Pseudocapsicum undulatum Moench Christmas cherry (Engl.)
Solanum capsicastrum Link ex Schauer False capsicum (Engl.)
Solanum capsicastrum var. caaguazuense Chodat Jerusalem cherry (Engl.)
Solanum capsicastrum variegatum J.J.Veitch Jerusalem cherry nightshade (Engl.)
Solanum compactum Anon Madeira cherry (Engl.)
Solanum diffusum Link ex Roem. & Schult. Madeira winter cherry (Engl.)
Solanum diflorum Vell. Natal cherry (Engl.)
Solanum diflorum var. angustifolium Kuntze Winter cherry (Engl.)
Solanum diflorum var. hydrophilum Kuntze  
Solanum diflorum var. pulverulentum Chodat  
Solanum diphyllum Forssk.  
Solanum dunnianum H.Lév.  
Solanum eremanthum Dunal  
Solanum hendersonii Neubert  
Solanum hermannioides Schinz  
Solanum hyemale Salisb.  
Solanum hygrophilum Schltdl.  
Solanum ipecachuana Chodat  
Solanum ipecachuana var. calvescens Chodat  
Solanum ipecachuana var. obovata Chodat  
Solanum ipecacuanha var. calvescens Chodat  
Solanum ipecacuanha var. obovata Chodat  
Solanum jaliscanum Greenm.  
Solanum karstenii Dunal  
Solanum linkianum Roem. & Schult.  
Solanum mexiae Standl.  
Solanum microcarpum Vahl.  
Solanum montevidense Spreng.  
Solanum plurifurcipilum Bitter  
Solanum pseudocapsicum Linn.  
Solanum singuliflorum Steud.  
Solanum tucumanense Griseb.  
Solanum ulmoides Dunal  
Solanum uniflorum Vell.  
Solanum validum Rusby  
Solanum pseudocapsicum L. is an accepted name.  KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
AFRIKAANS: Jerusalemkersie.
CHINESE: Shan hu yin.
GERMAN: Falsche Jerusalemkirsche, Korallenstrauch.
SWEDISH: Korallbär.

Gen info
- Solanum pseudocapsicum is a nightshade species, with mildly poisonous fruit. Jerusalem cherry is a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants.
- They are congeners of tomatoes and the fruit is extremely similar to cherry tomatoes in taste and texture, and easily confused with them.
- Etymology:
The genus name 'Solanum' derives from Latin 'solamen', meaning comforting or soothing
- If ingested, Jerusalem cherry is toxic to children, dogs, cats, and horses.  (see toxicity below) (24)

Jerusalem cherry is a small to medium-sized, erect, bushy, perennial evergreen, branched and non-spiny shrub growing to a height of one meter.  Stems are green and wiry. Leaves are alternate, oblong to lanceolate, glossy green above, elliptical to lanceolate in shape, with wavy margins, 2-8 cm long, 1.5-2 cm wide, hairless or covered with short hairs. Flowers are nodal, white or light purple, solitary or occasionally in clusters. Fruit is globose, yellow or orange red, 1.2-1.5 cm in diameter. Seeds are disk-like 2-3 mm wide.

- Introduced. (10)
- Ornamental cultivation in Philippines.
- Common in commercial botanical gardens in Baguio.
- Native to South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Juan Fernandez Is., Paraguay, Uruguay.


- GC-MS study of root for volatile components yielded 41 compounds
, representing 50% of the oil. Major components were fatty acids (26.8%), terpenoids (7.6%), and aldehydes (5.3%). Dominant compounds were hexadecanoic acid (24.1%), 2-methoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine (2.8%), and 15-methylhexadecanoic acid (2.1%). Other notable components were ß-elemene and δ-elemene. (6)
- Phytochemical studies have yielded alkaloids, glycosides, tannins and flavonoids.
- Berries contain substantial amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen.

- Analysis of berries yielded 25 components, constituting 99.8% of extract composition. The major components were alkaloids (38.55%), hydrocarbons (22.18%), fatty acid (19.38%), alcohol (13.27%), and carboxylic derivatives (3.73%). Mineral nutrient analysis yielded substantial amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen. (11)
- Study of essential oil of unripe berries yielded twenty-one compounds, constituting 69.24% of total oil components. Major compounds were homologous series of alkanes, alcohol, aldehyde and terpenoids. The dominant components were decane (41.06%), undecane (29.26%), monoterpenoids (14.79%), sesquiterpene (3.21%) and a diterpene phytol (5.94%). (12)

- Alkaloids identified in S. pseudocapsicum are solanocapsine; solacasine; solateinemine; 2-fluoro-2',4,5 benzenethanamine; hexatriacontane; 3-ethoxyamphetamine; 2,2,2-trichloroacetamide; O-methylsolanocapsine; episolacapine; and isosolacapine. (16)
- GCMS analysis of hexane extractable fraction of leaves of S. pseudocapsicum yielded 35 compounds, of which 26 were identified accounting for 40-81% of the composition. Fraction 1 (F1) was dominated by alkanes (74.8%) with decane (44.1%), undecane (24.6%) and nonane (6.1%) as main constituents. F2 was dominated by alkanes, decane, undecane, tetradecane, and hexadecane. F3 showed a high proportion of nonane, terpenes, ketones, and an alcohol. F4 showed a high proportion of terpenes. dominated by acyclic diterpene phytol (35.8%). The presence of diterpene phytol in fraction 4 was reported to be toxic and lethal and reported to activate the peroxisome proliferator=activated receptor α (PPARα) and regulates gene expression involved in lipid metabolism in PPARα-expressing HepG2 hepatocytes. (19)

- All parts of the plant are considered poisonous, especially unripe fruits.
- Studies have suggest anticancer, biopesticidal, antitumor, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, cytotoxic, antibacterial properties.

Caution / Toxicity concerns
- Poison / Solanocapsine: Considered a poisonous plant. The poisonous ingredient was reported as  primarily solanocapsine, found throughout the Jerusalem cherry plant, but especially in the unripened fruit and leaves. Symptoms of poisoning include altered mental status, coma, delirium, diarrhea, drowsiness, dilated pupils, hallucinations, headache, low blood pressure, slow breathing, slow pulse, salivation, stomach pains, and vomiting. (13)
- Studies have implicated the berries in causing central anticholinergic syndrome characterized by thought impairment, recent memory disturbance, hallucinations, hyperpyrexia, ataxia, drowsiness, tachycardia, coma among others. Extract studies were predominated by alkaloids (38.55%). Other plant components detected were aramines, phentamins, dopamine, fluoxotine and amphetamine derivatives – potent psychostimulant in humans. Many of the compounds have pharmacological and toxicological importance in humans and the berries present of source of raw materials for drug development. (Research Paper)

- Historically, induced emesis was recommended for Solanum ingestion, especially in children, but that does not coincide with current decontamination recommendations. Prolonged observation may be necessary for children in context of high likelihood of ingestion.  Management includes intravenous fluids, antiemetics for nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Physostigine is a consideration for obvious anticholinergic presentation.  A case report of rare anticholinergic effects was attributed to dulcamarine, an atropine-liked compound. The anticholinergic syndrome was successfully treated with physostigmine. (21)

Parts used
Bark, fruit, leaves and seeds.

- No reported medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In India, used in homeopathy medicine to treat acute lower abdominal pain and somnolence.
- In South Africa, reported topical use for treatment of boils and gonorrhea; orally, as a male tonic and for abdominal pain.
- In the Newar community of Pharping village in Kathmandu, Nepal, reported use of raw fruit for diabetes. (17)

Cytotoxicity / O-methylsolanocapsine / Leaves:
Study evaluated the in vitro cytotoxic properties of O-methylsolanocapsine isolated from Solanum pseudocapsicum leaves. Several steroidal alkaloids including solanocapsine, solacasine, solacapine, episolacapine, isosolacapine, and O-methylsolanocapsine were isolated from the arboreal part of the plants. Study confirmed O-methylsolanocapsine is more cytotoxic to the HeLa cell lines. Results indicate the steroidal alkaloids possess strong cytotoxic and antitumor properties. (1)
Antioxidant / Leaves:
Study evaluated various extracts of S. pseudocapsicum leaves for in vitro antioxidant activity. A crude methanolic extract showed potent antioxidant activity with IC50s of 49.57 ± 0.15 and 79.00 ± 0.08 mg/ml on DPPH and nitric oxide assays, respectively. The extracts exhibited no activity in the scavenging of hydroxyl or superoxide radicals. Also, none of the extracts were more active than standards (ascorbic acid and rutin). (2)
Antitumor / Leaves:
Antitumor activity of total alkaloid fraction of solanum pseudocapsicum leaves was tested against Dalton's Lymphoma Ascites model in mice and revealed increase in mean survival time and life span of tumor-bearing mice. The observed activity may be due to its cytotoxic properties. (4)
Study on leaf extracts has isolated 0-methylsolanocapsine with in vitro cytotoxic properties against some cancerous cell lines and merits in vivo studies to confirm its antitumor activity.
Solacasine / Antibacterial:
Systematic fractionation of alcohol extracts showed solacasine, a new steroidal alkaloid, to be the main antibacterial constituent. (3)
Alkaloid fraction of the methanol extract of Solanum pseudocapsicum was tested for hepatoprotective activity against CCl4 induced toxicity in rat hepatocytes and showed antihepatotoxic effect at very low concentrations and suggests further studies of the alkaloid fraction to identify the active principles. (5)
Volatile Compounds / Roots:
Hydrodistillation yielded 41 compounds (50% of the oil) from the roots of Solanum pseudocapsicum. The dominant compounds were hexadecanoic acid (24.1%), 2-methoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine (2.8%) and 15-methylhexadecanoic acid (2.1%). The high proportion of the fatty acids was considered to be contributory to its medicinal properties. (6)
Antioxidant: Of the six extracts of SP tested for antioxidant activity, the crude methanolic extract showed potent antioxidant activity. The extract also showed potent scavenging activity against ABTS free radical, however, in a degree less than the standards used. (7)

Cytotoxic Activity of Alkaloids / Leaves, Ripe Fruits, Roots, Seeds, Stems: All five alkaloid fractions of the methanolic extracts of leaves, ripe fruits, roots, seeds and stems of SP showed potent cytotoxic activity with the HT-29 cell line showing the most sensitivity. The most potent was found in the total alkaloid fraction of leaves. In short-term toxicity studies, fractions showed 50% viability at 93-128 µg/ml for DLA cells and 141-189 µg/ml for human lymphocytes. (8)
Chemical and Nutrient Analysis of Berries: Analysis of berries yielded 25 components, constituting 99.8% of extract composition. Major components were dominated by alkaloids (38.55%), hydrocarbons (22.18%), fatty acids (19.38%), alcohols (13.27%) and the derivatives of carboxylic acid (3.73%). Mineral nutrient evaluation showed substantial amount of phosphorus and nitrogen. The presence of other components such as aramines, phentamines, dopamine, fluoxetine and amphetamines are noteworthy as these components can cause potent psychoactive stimulation in humans. (see constituents above) (9)
Antifungal / Leaves and Roots: Various extracts of leaves, fruits, and roots of S. pseudocapsicum were investigated for antimycotic activities. Acetone and methanol extracts showed significant growth inhibition of Aspergillus niger and Penicillium notatum and marked suppression of growth of Fusarium oxysporum. Results suggest a potential application as a fungicide. (14)
• Antitumor Activity / Total Alkaloidal Fraction / Leaves: Study evaluated a total alkaloid fraction of methanolic extract of S. pseudocapsicum leaves for in-vivo antitumor activity against Dalton's Lymphoma Ascites model in mice.
Results showed antitumor activity at total alkaloid fraction dose of 2.5 and 5.0 mg/kbw as evidenced by increase in mean survival time and percentage increase in life span of tumor bearing mice. The antitumor activity may be due to its cytotoxic property. However, treatment also caused a significant decrease in body weight below normal indicating toxicity of the treatment. (17)
• Anticancer / Total Alkaloid Fraction / Unripe Fruits: Study evaluated the total alkaloid fraction of methanolic extract of S. pseudocapsicum unripe fruits for in-vivo anticancer activity against Dalton's Lymphoma Ascites model in mice. The total alkaloid fraction at 5.0 and 10.0 mg/kbw showed significant increase in mean survival time and percentage increase in life span of tumor bearing mice. The treatment was found toxic at 20 mg/kbw and showed decrease in mean survival time and body weight. The antitumor activity was attributed to the cytotoxic activity of total alkaloid fraction. (20)
• Biopesticidal / Leaves and Seeds: Study evaluated the bioefficacy of hexane, dichloromethane and ethyl acetate extracts of leaves and seeds against black cutworm Agrotis ipsilon. Ethyl acetate extract of seeds showed significant antifeedant, insecticidal, and growth regulatory activities, with high percentage of deformed larvae, pupae, and adults. Preliminary phytochemical analysis yielded triterpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids and quinine in both leaves and seeds extracts. Results suggest potential as a biopesticidal plant to serve as alternate control of economically important pest. (22) Study of ethyl acetate extract of seeds showed promising antifeedant and insecticidal activities against S. litura and H. armigera. Percentage of deformed larvae, pupae, and adults were maximum in treatment of ethyl acetate extract. (23)

Ornamental cultivation.

Updated October 2022 / October 2019 / July 2015

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Illustration / Solanum pseudocapsicum / A portfolio of illustrations of some plants known to be poisonous in S.F. Australia / © Australian Botanical Illustration
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph / Solanum pseudocapsicum in fruit / Paul Venter /  CC by SA 3.0 / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph / Solanum pseudocapsicum flower / Pancrat /  Licencia de documentacion libre GNU 1.2 / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
In vitro cytotoxic properties of O-methylsolanocapsine isolated from Solanum pseudocapsicum leaves
/ Santoshkumar H. Dongre et al / Indian Journal of Pharmacology / Vol. 39, No. 4, July-August, 2007, pp. 208-209


Solacasine, a new steroidal alkaloid fromSolanum pseudocapsicum possessing antimicrobial activity / Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences / L. A. Mitscher et al / DOI 10.1007/BF01920766

Antitumor activity of total alkaloid fraction of solanum pseudocapsicum leaves /
Shrishailappa Badami et al / Phytotherapy Research, 2003; 17(9): pp 1001-1004 / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.1229
Hepatoprotective Effect of the Total Alkaloid Fraction of Solanum pseudocapsicum Leaves / P. Vijayan, H.C. Prashanth, Preethi Vijayaraj et al / Summary Pharmaceutical Biology 2003, 41(6): pp 443-448 / DOI 10.1076/phbi.41.6.443.17827
Volatile Components from the Roots of Solanum pseudocapsicum / A.A. Aliero, O.T. Asekun, D.S. Grierson, A.J. Afolayan. / Journal of Medicinal Food, September 2007, 10(3): pp 557-558. / doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.230.
In vitro antioxidant properties of Solanum pseudocapsicum leaf extracts / S Badami, Om Prakash, SH Dongre, B Suresh / RESEARCH LETTER, 2005; 37(4): pp 251-252
The Cytotoxic Activity of the Total Alkaloids Isolated from Different Parts of Solanum pseudocapsicum / Pottekkad Vijayan, Preethi ijayaraj et al / Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2004; 27(4): pp 528-530 /
DOI: 10.1248/bpb.27.528
Chemical and nutrient characterization of Solanum pseudocapsicum berries / A. A. Aliero, D. S. Grierson and A. J. Afolayan / African Journal of Biotechnology, November 2005; Vol. 4 (11): pp 1300-1303
Solanum pseudocapsicum L. / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Chemical Composition of the Essential Oil from Solanum pseudocapsicum / A.A. Aliero, D.S. Grierson and A.J. Afolayan / Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 9: 1175-1177 / DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2006.1175.1177
Jerusalem Cherry Poisoning / Health Guide / New York Times
Antifungal Activity of Solanum pseudocapsicum / A.A. Aliero, D.S. Grierson and A.J. Afolaya / Research Journal of Botany, 1: pp 129-133 / DOI: 10.3923/rjb.2006.129.133
Solanum pseudocapsicum / Common names / USDA Taxonomy for Plants
Solanum Alkaloids and their Pharmaceutical roles: A Review / Jayakumar K, Murugan K / Journal of Analytical & Pharmaceutical Research, 3(6) / DOI: 10.15406/japlr.2016.03.00075
Antitumor activity of total alkaloid fraction of Solanum pseudocapsicum leaves / Shrishailappa Badami, S A Manohara Reddy, E P Kumar, P Vijayam, B Suresh / Phytotherapy Reserarch, Nov 2003; 17(9): pp 1001-1004 / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.1229


Chemical Composition of the Hexane Extract from the Leaves of Solanum pseudocapsicum / A A Aliero, O T Asekun, D S Grierson and A J Afolayan / Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, 2006; 5(6): pp 1054-1056
Anticancer Properties of Total Alkaloid Fraction of Solanum pseudoca[sicum Unripe Fruits / Shrishailappa Badami, Manohar SA Reddy, B Suresh / Advances in Traditional Medicine, 2004; 4(1): pp 49-52 / pISSN: 2662-4052 / eISSN: 2662-4060 / DOI: 10.3742/OPEM.2004.4.1.049
Holiday Plants with Toxic Misconceptions / Zabrina N Evens, Samuel J Stellpflug MD / West J Emerg Med, 2012; 13(6): pp 538-542 / DOI: 10.5811/westjem.2012.8.12572 / PMID: 23359840
Bio-efficacy of Solanum pseudocapsicum L. (Solanaceae) against black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon Hufnagel (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) / A Jeyasankar, S Premalatha S, S J Rami /   Journal of Biological Sciences, 2012; 12(3): pp 174-179 / ISSN: 1727-3048 / Record No: 20123255957
Biological activities of Solanum pseudocapsicum (Solanaceae) against cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera Hübner and armyworm, Spodoptera litura Fabricus (Lepido ptera: Noctuidae) / Alagarmalai Jeyasankar, Selvaraj Premalatha, and Kuppusamy Elumalai / Asian Pac J Trop Biomed, 2012; 2(12): pp 981-986 / DOI: 10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60010-6
Solanum pseudocapsicum / Wikipedia

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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