Miracle berry/ Magic fruit – nutrition, proven health benefits and use

The scientific names of miracle fruit include Synsepalum dulcificum (Schumach. & Thonn.) Daniell, Bakeriella dulcifica Schumach. & Thonn, Pouteria dulcifica (Schumach. & Thonn.) Baehni , Richadella dulcifica (Schumach. & Thonn.) Baehni
and Sideroxylon dulcificum (Schumach. & Thonn.) A. DC.  It is also known as Synsepalum woodMagic fruit, Miracle berry, Miraculous berry , and Sweet berry.

Other names are:

CATALAN: Fruita miracle.

CHINESE: Bian wei guo, Qi ju guo, Qi ji shu, Shen me de, Shen mi guo, Shen qi guo.

CROATIAN : Čudotvorna bobica.

CZECH: Zázračné ovoce.

DANISH: irakelbær, Mirakelfrugt.

DUTCH: Mirakelbes.

ESTONIAN: Magustav imemari.

FRENCH: Fruit miraculeux.

GERMAN: Wunderbeere.

HUNGARIAN: Čudesno voće.

ITALIAN: Frutto dei miracoli, Frutto del miracolo, Frutto miracoloso, Miracolina.

JAPANESE: Mirakuru furuutsu.

MALAY: Buah ajaib, Pokok ajaib.

NORWEGIAN: Mirakelfrukt.

POLISH: Cudowny owoc, Synsepal słodki.

PORTUGUESE: Fruta de milagro, Fruta milagrosa, Fruto milagro.

RUSSIAN: Magicheskij frukt.

SLOVANIAN: Čudežne jagode, Jagoda čudež.

SPANISH: Baya mágica, Fruta maravillosa, Fruta milagrosa.

SWEDISH: Mirakelfrukt, Mirakelbär.

VIETNAMESE: Cay than ky, Qua than ky.

It is a shrub that grows up to 10 feet. Fruit is orange colored containing one seed. Seeds are the size coffee beans. It is native to West Africa but introduced in many other regions.

Miracle fruit nutrition value and facts

-Fruit contains a glycoprotein molecule called miraculin, that causes sour foods (such as lemons and limes) subsequently consumed to taste sweet.

Because miraculin is denatured by heating, the pulp must be preserved without heating. Freeze-dried pulp is available in granules or in tablets, and has a shelf life of 10 to 18 months.

-The shelf life of the fresh fruit is only 2–3 days.

– 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.

Medicinal properties of miracle berry

– It has the unique property of 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 miraculin.
– Studies have suggested antidiabetic, antioxidant, and antiproliferative ( prevent or retard the spread of cells, especially malignant cells- tumor/ cancer) properties.

Traditional uses of miracle fruit

In tropical West Africa, fruit pulp is used to sweeten palm wine.

Leaves have been used for heartburn, indigestion, poor appetite, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

In Japan,it is popular among patients with diabetes and dieters.

It is often referred as  “Psychedelic” berry, which contains a non-narcotic ingredient in social soirees referred to as “flavor tripping” parties. 

Scientific proven health benefits of miracle berry

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.

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%.
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.

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.

Pilot study showed miracle fruit is safe for use in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Of 23 patients analyzed, 7 (23%) had improvement in taste, 8 (35%) believed it was helpful; when considering stabilization of taste, 52% responded positively.

A preliminary study showed improvement in 70 % of participants complaining of metallic taste associated with chemotherapy.

• 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.

• 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.

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.

• 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.

Miracle fruit recipe ideas and uses

Substitute “sugar” or any other sweetener agent with this natural magic berry in all of your recipes- desserts, lemonade, syrup, jam, preserves, sauce, juice, tea, drinks, smoothies, ice cream etc.

Read about other interesting fruits

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Kiwi            Mangosteen             Plum          Quince                 Rambutan     

Santol            Sapota        Star gooseberry           Strawberry            Wood apple

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