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Family Solanaceae
Jerusalem cherry
Solanum pseudo-capsicum Linn.

CHRISTMAS CHERRY
Shan hu yin

Scientific names Common names
Solanum pseudo-capsicum Linn. False capsicum (Engl.)
Solanum diflorum Vell. Jerusalem cherry (Engl.)
Solanum dunnianum H.Lev. Madeira winter cherry (Engl.)
Solanum eremanthum Dunal Christmas cherry (Engl.)
Solanum hygrophilum Schltdl. Coral bush (Engl.)
Solanum ipecacuanha Chodat  
Solanum mexiae Standl.  
Solanum validum Rusby  
Solanum pseudocapsicum L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
AFRIKAANS: Jerusalemkersie.
CHINESE: Shan hu yin.
GERMAN: Falsche Jerusalemkirsche, Korallenstrauch.
SWEDISH: Korallbär.

Botany
Jerusalem cherry is an erect, branched and non-spiny shrub growing to a height of one meter. Leaves are alternate, oblong to lanceolate, up to 10 centimeters long, wavy, glossy green above. Flowers are nodal, white and solitary. Fruit is globose, yellow or reddish, up to 1 centimeter in diameter.

Distribution
- Ornamental cultivation in Philippines.
- Common in commercial botanical garden in Baguio.


Constituents

- 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.

- Analysis of berries yielded 25 components, constituting 99.8% of extract composition. The major components were alkaloids (38.55%), hydrocarbons (22.18%), fatty acid (19.38%), alcohol (13.27%), and carboxylic derivatives (3.73%). Mineral nutrient analysis yielded substantial amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen. (11)
- Study of essential oil of unripe berries yielded twenty-one compounds, constituting 69.24% of total oil components. Major compounds were homologous series of alkanes, alcohol, aldehyde and terpenoids. The dominant components were decane (41.06%), undecane (29.26%), monoterpenoids (14.79%), sesquiterpene (3.21%) and a diterpene phytol (5.94%). (12)

Properties
- Antimicrobial, antiviral, antispasmodic, antihypertensive, antioxidant and hepatoprotective.

Caution / Toxicity concerns
- Poison: Considered a poisonous plant. The poisonous ingredient has reported as solanocapsine, found throughout the Jerusalem cherry plant, but especially in the unripened fruit and leaves. Symptoms of poisoning include coma, delirium, diarrhea, drowsiness, dilated pupils, hallucinations, headache, low blood pressure, slow breathing, slow pulse, stomach pains, and vomiting. (13)
- Studies have implicated the berries in causing central anticholinergic syndrome characterized 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)

Parts used
Bark, fruit, leaves and seeds.

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

Studies
Cytotoxicity / O-methylsolanocapsine / Leaves:
Study evaluated the in vitro cytotoxic properties of O-methylsolanocapsine isolated from Solanum pseudocapsicum leaves. Several steroidal alkaloids including solanocapsine, solacasine, solacapine, episolacapine, isosolacapine, and O-methylsolanocapsine were isolated from the arboreal part of the plants. Study confirmed O-methylsolanocapsine is more cytotoxic to the HeLa cell lines. Results indicate the steroidal alkaloids possess strong cytotoxic and antitumor properties. (1)
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. (2)
Antitumor / Leaves:
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. (4)
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. (3)
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. (5)
Volatile Compounds / Roots:
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. (6)
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. (7)

Cytotoxic Activity of Alkaloids: 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 sensitivity. The most potent was found in the fraction of leaves. (8)
Chemical and Nutrient Analysis of Berries: Analysis of berries yielded 25 components, constituting 99.8% of extract composition. The extract was dominated by alkaloids, hydrocarbons, fatty acids, alcohols and the derivatives of carboxylic acid. The presence of other components such as aramines, phentamines, dopamine, fluoxotine and amphetamines are noteworthy. (see constituents above) (11)
Antifungal / Leaves and Roots: Various extracts of leaves, fruits, and roots of S. pseudocapsicum were investigated for antimycotic activities. Acetone and methanol extracts showed significant growth inhibition of Aspergillus niger and Penicillium notatum and marked suppression of growth of Fusarium oxysporum. Results suggest a potential application as a fungicide. (14)

Availability
Wildcrafted.

Last Update July 2015

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

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)

In vitro antioxidant properties of Solanum pseudocapsicum leaf extracts.
http://www.cababstractsplus.org/google/abstract.asp?AcNo=20053150268

(3)

Solacasine, a new steroidal alkaloid fromSolanum pseudocapsicum possessing antimicrobial activity / Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences / L. A. Mitscher et al / DOI 10.1007/BF01920766
(4)

Antitumor activity of total alkaloid fraction of solanum pseudocapsicum leaves /
Shrishailappa Badami et al / Phytotherapy Research / Volume 17 Issue 9, Pages 1001 - 1004
(5)
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
(6)
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.
(7)
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
(8)
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
(9)
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
(10)
Solanum pseudocapsicum L. / Synonyms / The Plant List
(11)
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
(12)
Chemical Composition of the Essential Oil from Solanum pseudocapsicum / A.A. Aliero, D.S. Grierson and A.J. Afolayan / Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 9: 1175-1177 / DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2006.1175.1177
(13)
Jerusalem Cherry Poisoning / Health Guide / New York Times
(14)
Antifungal Activity of Solanum pseudocapsicum / A.A. Aliero, D.S. Grierson and A.J. Afolaya / Research Journal of Botany, 1: 129-133 / DOI: 10.3923/rjb.2006.129.133
(15)
Solanum pseudocapsicum / Common names / USDA Taxonomy for Plants

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Potential Herbal Medicines and Drug Interactions

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