Family • Solanaceae - Physalis angulata L. - CHINESE LANTERN

Scientific names

Physalis angulata L.
Physalis esquirolii Lévl. & Vant.
Physalis ramossisima

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Deng long cao, Deng long pao.
DUTCH: Klap.
FRENCH: Petit poc poc (Africa).
SPANISH: Jua-de-capote.

Common names

Assiyu (Bis.)
Putokan (Tag.)
Tutulaka (Tag.)
Cow pops (Engl.)
Chinese lantern (Engl.)
Cut-leaved ground cherry (Engl.)
Mullaca (Engl.)
Tooth-leaved bladder cherry (Engl.)
Wild gooseberry (Engl.)


Taxon confusion
Physalis, a genus of the family Solanaceae consists of about 100 species. Among these, Physalis minima (pantug-pantugan) has been confused with P. angulata. Some compilations list them as synonyms, as other list them as separate species. In Bangladesh, the two have long been misidentified. A critical examination separates them as species. (See below: sources)


Putokan is an erect and branching herb with angled and much branched stems, growing to 1 meter high. Petioles are 1 to 5 centimeters long. Leaves are alternate, oblong-ovate, up to 9 centimeters long with pointed tips and acute and unequal base with margins that are more or less entire. Flowers are solitary, campanulate, pale yellow, up to 6 millimeters long. Fruit is a berry, 1.5 to 2 centimeters diameter surrounded by an inflated and ovoid calyx.


– Native to tropical America.
– Introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish times, now widely distributed.
– Propagated by seeds.

– Methanol extract of fruits yielded alkaloids, saponins, phenols, etc.
– Phytochemical screening yielded steroids, flavonoids, and alkaloids.

– Phytochemical studies yield plant steroids Physalins with activity against numerous type of human andanimal cancer cells.

Parts utilized
Whole plant, leaves, roots.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Mullaca : Physalis angulata / Tropical Plant Database

(2) Genotoxic effect of Physalis angulata L. (Solanaceae) extract on human lymphocytes treated in vitro / Biocell (Mendoza) v.32 n.2 Mendoza jun./ago. 2008

(3) Studies on antimicrobial activity, in vitro, of Physalis angulata L. (Solanaceae) fraction and physalin B bringing out the importance of assay determination / Melissa TG Silva et al / Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Vol. 100(7): 779-782, November 2005

(4) Activity of physalins purified from Physalis angulata in in vitro and in vivo models of cutaneous leishmaniasis / Elisalva T. Guimarães et al / Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, doi:10.1093/jac/dkp170

(5) Effect of some medicinal plants on plasma antioxidant system and lipid levels in rats / Eun-Mi Choi, Jae-Kwan Hwang / Phytotherapy Research Vol 19 Issue 5, Pages 382 – 386

(6) Molluscicidal Activity of Physalis angulata L. Extracts and Fractions on Biomphalaria tenagophila (d’Orbigny, 1835) under Laboratory Conditions / José Augusto A dos Santos et al / Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Vol. 98(3): 425-428, April 2003

(7) Abortifacient Plants of the Buea Region, their participation in the sexuality of adolescent girls / Emmanuel Noumi and Claudette Djeumen / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge / Vol 6 (3), July 2007, pp 502-507

(8) Sorting Physalis names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 – 2020 The University of Melbourne.

(9) Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils of Physalis Angulata. L / A Osho, T Adetunji, S O Fayemi, and DO Moronkola / Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2010; 7(4): 303–306.

(10) Genotoxic effect of Physalis angulata L. (Solanaceae) extract on human lymphocytes treated in vitro / Raquel Alves dos Santos, Teresinha Rosa Cabral, Isabel Rosa Cabral, Lusânia Maria Greggi Antunes, Cristiane Pontes Andrade, Plínio Cerqueira dos Santos Cardoso, Marcelo de Oliveira Bahia, Claudia Pessoa, José Luis Martins do Nascimento, Rommel Rodríguez Burbano, Catarina Satie Takahashi / Biocell v.32 n.2 Mendoza jun./ago. 2008

(11) Physangulidine A, a Withanolide from Physalis angulata, Perturbs the Cell Cycle and Induces Cell Death by Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cells / E. Merit Reyes-Reyes, Zhuang Jin, Abraham J. Vaisberg, Gerald B. Hammond, and Paula J. Bates * / J. Nat. Prod., 2013, 76 (1), pp 2–7 / DOI: 10.1021/np300457g

(12) Antibacterial activity of the fruit extract of Physalis angulata and its formulation / A-M. Donkor, R.L.K. Glover, J.K. Boateng and V.Y. Gakpo / Journal of Medical and Biomedical Sciences (2012) 1(4): 21-26


(14) In Vitro Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Arthritic Activity of Leaves of Physalis angulata L / Shravan Kumar N, Kishore G, Siva Kumar G, Sindhu Priya E S / Indian J. Pharm & Ind. Res, Vol 01, Issue 3, Jul-Sep 2011

(15) EFFECTS OF ETHANOLIC ROOT EXTRACT OF Physalis angulata ON ALLOXAN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS / Oladele,G.M., Ode, O.J., Akande, M.G.,Ogunbodede, M.A. and Simon, M.K / Int.J.A.PS.BMS , Apr‐Jun.2013, Vol.2.(2) ,095‐100.

(16) Evaluation of In-vitro vector control activity of Physalis angulata. / Sandhya S*, Jafferi S.A.H, Vinod K.R, Ottilia Banji, David Banji, Chaitanya R.S.N.A.K.K, Chandrasekhar J, Venkataramana.K / Hygeia.J.D.Med .vol.2 (2), 2010, 14-21


– No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
– In the Amazon, leaf infusion used as diuretic.
– In Colombia, some tribes consider the fruits and leaves to be narcotic: decoction of leaves used as antiinflammatory and skin disinfectant.
– In the Amazon, leaf juice used for worms.
– In the Solomon Islands, a decoction of fruit used for infertility.
– In the West Indies and Jamaica, leaves used to prevent miscarriages.
– In Peru, leaf infusion used for postpartum infections.
– In Peru and Brazil, roots are sliced, macerated in rum, honeyed, and used for diabetes.
– In Brazil, used for asthma, malaria, hepatitis, dermatitis and rheumatism.


• Fruits are edible; sweet-tart.
• Roots and epigeal parts used for tea or infusion.
• In Cameroon, Physalis angulata is used in herbal recipes for pregnancy termination. A dangerous practice uses seeds which are dried, ground, wet with saliva and rolled into a ball and inserted into the vagina with expected fetal expulsion in a week. However, it is commonly accompanied by abdominal pains, severe bleeding, anemia, and sometimes, death.

Study Findings
• Anti-inflammatory: Study showed inhibitory effects against acute and subacute inflammation and significant inhibition of type IV allergic reaction in mice.
• Genotoxicity: Study showed that although the Physalis extract was not cytotoxic, it exhibited important genotoxic effects under experimental conditions, suggesting caution with its use.
• Antimicrobial: Study yielded complex physalin metabolites from the fruit capsules. A mixture of physalins B, D, F, and G inhibited S aureus and Neisseria gonorrhea. Physalin B by agar diffusion inhibited S. aureus by 85% and may be considered responsible for the antimicrobial activity
• Antileishmanial / Physalins: Physalins B and F were able to reduce the percentage of Leishmania-infected macrophages and the intracellular parasite number in vitro without no cytotoxicity to macrophages. Physalin F significantly reduced the lesion size, parasite load, and histological alterations in Leishmania infected mice.
• Lipid Benefits / HDL Elevation: Study showed that the flower extract of Physalis angulata in rats showed a significant elevation of HDL-cholesterol.
• Molluscicidal / Leaves and Roots: Study showed the ethanolic extracts from the leaves and roots of Physalis angulata are mollusicidal; while the ethanol extracts from the stem and whole plant was inactive.
• Immunomodulatory: Study of different extract fractions of Physalis angulata in mice showed varied responses: a strongly enhanced blastogenesis response, stimulatory activity on B cells (less on T cells) and some augmentation of antibody.
• Anticancer / Breast Cancer Cycle Arrest: Study showed Physalis angulata inhibited cell proliferation and induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis in human breast cancer MAD-MB 231 and MCF-7 cells lines.
• Anti-Neoplastic / Fruit Capsule: Study on its anti-neoplastic activity showed the most significant inhibition from the fruit capsule fractions. The extract of roots of PA is most often used for human hepatic disorders, but the substance responsible for efficacy is still undefined. Physalin F has shown antitumor activity against five human cancer lines, the most potent, anti-hepatoma H A 22 T.
• Antimicrobial / Essential Oil: Study showed the essential oil extract to have both antifungal and antibacterial properties, with more of the former. The activities are more concentrated in the aerial parts of the plant.
• Genotoxic Effects on in-vitro Human Lymphocytes: Study evaluated the in vitro genotoxic effects of an aqueous extract in human lymphocytes from 6 healthy donors. Results demonstrated the genotoxic effects of P. angulata extract on human lymphocytes in vitro. Although the extract did not show cytotoxicity, the in vitro genotoxic effects requires caution since in vivo genotoxicity has not been evaluated.
• Physangulidine A / Withanolide / Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cells: Study evaluated the biologic effects of physangulidine A, one of three withanolides isolated in the study (physangulidines A-C). Physangulidine A significantly reduced of two hormone-independent prostate cancer cell lines. Results showed antimitotic and proapoptotic effects.
• Antibacterial / Anti-Staphylococcal Activity / Fruit: Study evaluated the inhibitory effect of zinc oxide ointment formulation and unformulated crude extract of fruits of Physalis angulata against clinical wound isolates of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Results showed significant inhibitory activity against S. aureus suggesting efficacy in treating staphylococcal infections.
• Anti-Ulcer / Leaves: Study evaluated the antiulcer effect of ethanolic extract of P. angulata leaves in different models of gastric ulceration in rats. Results showed a protective effect which might be mediated by anti-secretory and cytoprotective mechanisms.
• Topical Anti-Inflammatory / Physalin E / Experimental Dermatitis: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory effect of physalin E, a seco-steroid isolated from P. angulata on acute and chronic models of dermatitis induced by 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and oxazolone in mouse ear. Topically applied physalin E potently inhibited the induced dermatitis, with reversal of effects by mifepristone, a steroid antagonist.
• Anti-Diabetic / Fruit Extracts: Study evaluated the in vitro antidiabetic activity of P. angulata fruit extracts. The methanol extract showed inhibition showed prominent antidiabetic properties in vitro with inhibition of alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase.
• Inhibition of Tumor Metastasis and Angiogenesis: Study of ethyl acetate extracts of P. angulata against human oral squamous carcinoma (HSC-3) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells showed anti-metastatic and anti-angiogenic activity, with a potential for development of chemopreventive agent for cancer and inflammation.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Arthritic / Leaves: Study of various extracts and fractions of leaves showed in vitro anti-inflammatory activity by HRBC membrane stabilization method and in vitro activity by protein denaturation method. All extracts showed positive response compared to standard Diclofenac sodium.
• Anti-Diabetic / Lipid Benefits / Roots: Study evaluated the antidiabetic potential of ethanolic root extract in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction of blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL, with significanty increase in HDL.
• Anthelmintic / Larvicidal Leaves: A crude ethanolic leaf extract of P. angulata s0owed anthelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma. A crude ethanolic extract sowed larvicidal activity against Culex quinquefasciatus species of mosquito larvae.
• Anti-Asthmatic / Roots: Study evaluated the anti-asthmatic activity of an alcoholic extract of roots in ovalbumin induced experimental mice model. Results showed inhibition of ovalbumin induced asthma by decreasing the release of inflammatory mediators. The activity was probably through reduction of inflammatory mediator’s release.

– Wild-crafted.
– Mullaca powder in the cybermarket.