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 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 yielded0.04% vitamin A, 22.69% vitamin C, 0.01% vitamin D and 0.02% vitamin K.
- 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 studies below)
- 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 vitamine 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)
- 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 properties.
Edibility / Culinary
- In tropical West Africa, fruit pulp is used to sweeten palm wine.
- 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.
- "Psychedelic" berry: A non-narcotic ingredient in social soirees referred to as "flavor tripping" parties.
• 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 improveds 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 vitamine 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 bactreria except for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Antitumoral activity using MTT assat exhibited dose dependent activity against human K562 cancer cell line. (see constituents above) (18)
- Fruit available commercially as actual berries (frozen because of high moisture and perishability), freeze-dried fruit granules and fruit tablets.
- Berries in the cybermarket.