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Family Solanaceae
Jerusalem cherry
Solanum pseudo-capsicum Linn.

Scientific names Common names
Solanum pseudo-capsicum Linn. 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.

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

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.

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.

(1) Methanolic extract reported to have cytotoxic activity. (2) In vitro cytotoxic properties of O-methylsolanocapsine isolated from Solanum pseudocapsicum leaves. (3) 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.
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 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.
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.
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)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
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


In vitro antioxidant properties of Solanum pseudocapsicum leaf extracts.


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

Antitumor activity of total alkaloid fraction of solanum pseudocapsicum leaves /
Shrishailappa Badami et al / Phytotherapy Research / Volume 17 Issue 9, Pages 1001 - 1004
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 10.1076/phbi.41.6.443.17827
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.
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
The Cytotoxic Activity of the Total Alkaloids Isolated from Different Parts of Solanum pseudocapsicum / Pottekkad Vijayan et al / Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin Vol. 27 (2004) , No. 4 528
Chemical and nutrient characterization of Solanum pseudocapsicum berries / A. A. Aliero, D. S. Grierson and A. J. Afolayan / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 4 (11), pp. 1300-1303, November 2005

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