Miracle Fruit May Help Cancer Patients Fight Malnutrition
Food enthusiasts have been taste tripping on miracle fruit for some time. The berry, synsepalum Dulcificum has the ability to turn sour foods sweet, making it a novelty at gatherings.
Researchers suggest that the “magic berries” might help diabetics, and patients who experience a metallic taste and loss of appetite from cancer treatment, leading to malnutrition. The protein called miraculin in “miracle fruit”, or “magic berries” could serve as an alternative to sugar.
The effect of rubbing miracle fruit on your tongue, or chewing it, makes everything taste sweet, for about thirty minutes – “miracle fruit” might be a good way to get your kids to eat their spinach.
Linda Bartoshuk, a professor at the University of Florida's Center for Smell and Taste says, though synsepalum dulcificum has been around for centuries, miracle fruit has become a novelty…”but the other part is the mystery of learning what more can be done with it.''
Other names for miracle fruit are flavor berry, miracle, miraculous, and magic. The berries from Synsepalum dulcificum were first discovered in West Africa in 1725. The ability of miracle fruit to turn everything eaten sweet, including pickles and lemons, is thought to be caused by distortion of the receptors on the tongue.
Miracle fruit is now undergoing studies that might show miracle fruit can benefit cancer patients who stop eating from chemotherapy.
According to researcher Dr. Mike Cusnir, an oncologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Most of the patients undergoing chemotherapy have weight loss. Then they cut further into their diet and then this furthers the weight loss. It causes malnutrition, decreased function of the body and electrolyte imbalance." Dr. Cusnir is awaiting FDA approval to use miracle fruit on patients. “A few patients felt there wasn’t much change. The feedback is mixed as it usually is in any situation. It’s been encouraging, but we haven’t analyzed the data so far.”
The FDA banned miracle fruit in the 1970’s, perhaps from pressure from the sugar industry to stifle the competition.
Miracle fruit can be purchased in tablets, or freeze-dried. The seeds can be planted and grown in containers using acidic soil, and grown in partial shade. Miracle fruit can also be grown indoors in a bright room.