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Health benefits of Physalis minima



Physalis minima (Country gooseberry), is a plant from the Solanaceae family that has been used since centuries ago in Ayurvedic traditional medicine. 

In Ayurveda, this plant is known as Chirpoti, and it is used to treat some well-known ailments and health problems. The fruit of this plant has a characteristic orange color and is covered by paper-like leaves resembling Japanese paper lantern lights.

In spite most of the investigations and research made on this wonderful fruit are focused on its anti-cancer properties, Physalis minima have other important properties, among which we can mention its diuretic, laxative, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial [2] and anti-bacterial properties [3]. Image: See credits under reference [15] below.


Family: Solanaceae

Genus: Physalis

Common name: Native gooseberry, Country gooseberry, Wild cape gooseberry and Pygmy ground cherry [1], Physalis parviflora, Physalis pubescens, Chinese lantern



PHYSALIS MINIMASince years ago, Physalis minima was thought to possess anti-microbial and anti-neoplastic properties [2,4], mainly due to the presence of two active constituents found on the plant known to exert those properties, the phenolics and alkaloid active constituents [15].

However, it wasn't until recently that those anti-microbial properties of Physalis minima were proven. Image: Physalis minima by John Tann under CC license (CC by 2.0).

Studies have been done with native gooseberry extracts against all the bacterial strains, either gram-positive or gram-negative, including:

  • Bacillus cereus,
  • Bacillus pumulis,
  • Bacillus subtilis,
  • Bordetella bronchiseptia,
  • Enterococcus faecalis,
  • Escherichia coli,
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae,
  • Micrococcus luteus,
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 
  • Staphylococcus aureus,
  • Staphylococcus epidermis

In all of them, extracts of Physalis minima exerted activity against both, gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial strains.

These properties were possibly exerted by the phenolics and alkaloids active constituents found in the plant, responsible for its powerful anti-infective properties.

NOTE: The use of fruits, herbs and natural remedies against bacterial infections has the added value of having less adverse side-effects and contraindications, as they are products found in nature which in most cases do not cause the undesired hypersensitivity and allergic reactions caused by antibiotics, another reason to give a chance to natural remedies.



PHYSALIS MINIMAApart from the already mentioned phenolics and alkaloids compounds found in Physalis minima, the fruit and plant contain also physalins [10], steroids and flavonoids.

Dihydroxyphysalin B, a new physalin, was also extracted from Physalis minima leaves [12].

Finally, the Physalis minima root has been used to obtain Solanoside glycosides (BEC), an active constituent found also in:

  • Solanum linnaeanum (devil's apple) and
  • Solanum melongena (Eggplant),

and known to be very effective in the treatment of malignant and benign human skin tumors [11].



Another type of Physalis, the Physalis longifolia (Common name: Common Groundcherry, Long-leaved Groundcherry), had additionally withanolides and acetylated derivatives [7].

The withanolides extracted from the aerial parts of Physalis longifolia exerted a powerful cytotoxicity against human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (JMAR and MDA-1986), melanoma (B16F10 and SKMEL-28), and normal fetal fibroblast (MRC-5) cells [13].





Several of the active constituents of Physalis longifolia showed a potent cytotoxicity against human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (JMAR and MDA-1986), melanoma (B16F10 and SKMEL-28), and normal fetal fibroblast (MRC-5) [7].

Physalis minima extracts exerted inhibitory properties against human T-47D breast carcinoma cells, inducing apoptotic cell death [8]. These anti-cancer properties and cytotoxic activities were also noticed on NCI-H23 (human lung adenocarcinoma) [9]. Some studies suggest of Physalis minima could be used in future to develop anti-cancer drugs [9]. 



The phenolic and alkaloids active constituents of Physalis active constituents found in this plant exerted antibacterial properties on the strains tested with the extract of this plant [2].

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to prescribe or give in any way or form medical advice, recommend or diagnose. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page for more info.



[1] Wikipedia article on Physalis minima
[2] Study on the antibacterial potential of Physalis minima linn.Patel T, Shah K, Jiwan K, Shrivastava N.Department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, B. V. Patel Pharmaceutical Education and Research Development (PERD) Centre, S. G. Highway, Thaltej, Ahmedabad - 380 054, India.
[3] Kirtikar KR, Basu BD. Vol. 3. Allahabad: Lalit Mohan Basu Publications; 1991. Indian Medicinal Plants.
[4] Shariff N, Sudarshana MS, Umesha S, Hariprasad P. Antimicrobial activity of Rauvolfia tetraphylla and Physalis minima leaf and callus extracts. African J Biotech. 2006;5:946–50.
[5] P-Z. Vol. 2. New Delhi: The Controller of Publications; 1996. Indian Pharmacopoeia; pp. C103–4.
[6] Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activities of Physalis minima Linn.Khan MA, Khan H, Khan S, Mahmood T, Khan PM, Jabar A.Department of Chemistry, Kohat University of Science and Technology, Kohat, 26000, Pakistan.
[7] Cytotoxic Withanolide Constituents of Physalis longifolia. Zhang H, Samadi AK, Gallagher RJ, Araya JJ, Tong X, Day VW, Cohen MS, Kindscher K, Gollapudi R, Timmermann BN. Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of Kansas , Lawrence, Kansas 66045, United States.
[8] Apoptotic effects of Physalis minima L. chloroform extract in human breast carcinoma T-47D cells mediated by cmyc-, p53-, and caspase-3-dependent pathways. Ooi KL, Tengku Muhammad TS, Lim CH, Sulaiman SF. School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.
[9] Cytotoxic Activities of Physalis minima L. Chloroform Extract on Human Lung Adenocarcinoma NCI-H23 Cell Lines by Induction of Apoptosis. Leong OK, Muhammad TS, Sulaiman SF. School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Minden, Penang, Malaysia
[10] Antileishmanial physalins from Physalis minima. Choudhary MI, Yousaf S, Ahmed S; Samreen, Yasmeen K; Atta-ur-Rahman. H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, International Center for Chemical Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi- 75270, Pakistan.
[11] Solasodine glycoside production by hairy root cultures of Physalis minima Linn. Putalun W, Prasamsiwamai P, Tanaka H, Shoyama Y. Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand.
[12] Dihydroxyphysalin B: a new physalin from Physalis minima leaves. Alluri RR, Miller RJ, Shelver WH, Khalil SK.
[13] Cytotoxic withanolide constituents of Physalis longifolia. Zhang H, Samadi AK, Gallagher RJ, Araya JJ, Tong X, Day VW, Cohen MS, Kindscher K, Gollapudi R, Timmermann BN. Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA.
[14] Picture: Scott Liddell via Morgue File. http://www.scottliddell.net
[15] Pixibay image under Public Domain License CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) License.