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Posted on 15 November 2020

The miracle fruit got this name from its unique ability to reverse sour food (such as lemon, lime) to sweet. Commonly known as miracle berry (Synsepalum dulcificum), a tropical evergreen plant in western Africa that produces small, ellipsoid, large seed bright red berries and white flowers, usually, the shrub grows around 15 to 20 feet high.

The reason behind taste modification

The unusual property of this fruit is because of the presence of a glycoprotein called miraculin in its pulp. A scientific article, reveals that yet the mechanism behind it is not known, the taste modifying activity is based on pH. Miraculin itself does not taste sweet. At neutral pH, it tastes flat, and at acidic pH, it changes to agonist, meaning the protein here binds the sweetness receptor and thus, changes the taste from sour to sweet.

Besides, miraculin the fruit is rich in terpenoids (74.4%). The skin and pulp contain a higher amount of phenolic compounds, and flavonoids resulting in greater antioxidant activity. 

In Africa, people use it is a traditional remedy for diarrhea.

Health benefits

Additionally, the in vitro antioxidant activity of the fruit, leaves, and seeds, it has been reported about the anti hyperuricemia in butanol extracts of miracle fruit, and which may be an effective treatment for acute gouty arthritis.

T. Obafemi studied the effect of folk medicine in diabetes. He examined the in vivo effects of administering methanol and flavonoid rich leaf extract of Synsepalum dulcificum (MSD and FSD) to rats after inducing type II diabetes. His study determines the role of MSD and FSD as an anti-diabetic agent, and also explains the mechanisms causing it.

Furthermore, a study investigated the cholesterol-lowering activity potential of S. dulcificum. The leaves, pulp, and seed were screened and found that the ethanolic extract of the seeds showed the best activity and triterpenoid (lupeol acetate and β-amyrin acetate) was one of the cholesterol-lowering components in the seed. They also say further investigation is necessary to identify other potent compounds in the extract of seed.

Miracle fruit was also tested for hair fall and reports the MFSO hair oil product is a safe and effective option for the treatment of women suffering from hair breakage and damaged hair.

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