Jerusalem cherry

Family • Solanaceae - Solanum pseudo-capsicum Linn.

Scientific names

Solanum pseudo-capsicum Linn.

Common names

Jerusalem cherry (Engl.)
Madeira winter cherry (Engl.)
Christmas cherry (Engl.)
Coral bush (Engl.)

An erect, branched and nonspiny shrub growing to a height of one meter. Leaves are alternate, oblong to lanceolate, up to 10 cm long, wavy, glossy green above. Flowers are nodal, white and solitary. Fruit is globose, yellow or reddish, up to 1 cm in diameter.

Jerusalem cherry

In the Philippines, grown in gardens for ornamental interest.
Common in commericial botanical garden in Baguio.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) 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

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

(3) Antitumor activity of total alkaloid fraction of solanum pseudocapsicum leaves / Shrishailappa Badami et al / Phytotherapy Research / Volume 17 Issue 9, Pages 1001 – 1004

(4) Hepatoprotective Effect of the Total Alkaloid Fraction of Solanum pseudocapsicum Leaves / P. Vijayan, H.C. Prashanth et al / Summary Pharmaceutical Biology 2003, Vol. 41, No. 6, Pages 443-448 / DOI


(5) 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): 557-558. doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.230.

(6) In vitro antioxidant properties of Solanum pseudocapsicum leaf extracts / S Badami, Om Prakash, SH Dongre, B Suresh / RESEARCH LETTER Year : 2005 | Volume : 37 | Issue : 4 | Page : 251-252

Jerusalem cherry2

Parts used
Bark, fruit, leaves and seeds.

Constituents and medicinal properties
Antimicrobial, antiviral, antispasmodic, antihypertensive, antioxidant and hepatoprotective.
The roots yielded a high percentage of fatty acids with 41 compounds; the dominant compound was hexadecanoic acid (24.1%).
Phytochemical studies have yielded alkaloids, glycosides, tannins and flavonoids.
Berries contain substantial amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen.

Jerusalem cherry3

No reported medicinal use in the Philippines.
In India, used in homeopathy medicine to treat acute lower abdominal pain and somnolence.
In South Africa, reportedly used for treatment of boils and gonorrhea; orally, as a male tonic and for abdominal pain.

Study Findings
• Cytotoxicity: Methanolic extract reported to have cytotoxic activity. In vitro cytotoxic properties of O-methylsolanocapsine isolated from Solanum pseudocapsicum leaves. 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 sensivitivty. The most potent was found in the fraction of leaves.
• Antioxidant: In vitro antioxidant properties of Solanum pseudocapsicum leaf extracts: Crude methanolic extracts exhibited potent antioxidant activity. However, it exhibited no activity in the scavenging of hydroxyl or superoxide radicals.
• Antitumor: 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.
• Anti-cancer: 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.
• Hepatoprotective: 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.
• Volatile Compounds: 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.
• 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.

Toxicity concerns!
Studies have implicated the berries in causing central anticholinergic syndrome chanracterized 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)