Health benefits of Physalis minima
PHYSALIS MINIMA USES
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  and anti-bacterial properties . Image: See credits under reference  below.
Common name: Native gooseberry, Country gooseberry, Wild cape gooseberry and Pygmy ground cherry , Physalis parviflora, Physalis pubescens, Chinese lantern
CHARACTERISTICS OF PHYSALIS MINIMA
Since 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 .
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 MINIMA ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS
Apart from the already mentioned phenolics and alkaloids compounds found in Physalis minima, the fruit and plant contain also physalins , steroids and flavonoids.
Dihydroxyphysalin B, a new physalin, was also extracted from Physalis minima leaves .
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 .
Another type of Physalis, the Physalis longifolia (Common name: Common Groundcherry, Long-leaved Groundcherry), had additionally withanolides and acetylated derivatives .
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 .
PHYSALIS MINIMA PROPERTIES
ANTI-CANCER PROPERTIES OF PHYSALIS MINIMA
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) .
Physalis minima extracts exerted inhibitory properties against human T-47D breast carcinoma cells, inducing apoptotic cell death . These anti-cancer properties and cytotoxic activities were also noticed on NCI-H23 (human lung adenocarcinoma) . Some studies suggest of Physalis minima could be used in future to develop anti-cancer drugs .
ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES OF PHYSALIS MINIMA
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 .
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