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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Physalis peruviana

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Physalis peruviana
Physalis peruviana


  • Perennial
  • Branched soft-wooded perennial with velvety heart-shaped, nearly opposite leaves.
  • Bears yellow bell-shaped, nodding flowers from in the leaf axils, with dark purple-brown spots in the throat.
  • The fruit is a berry the size of a marble with smooth, waxy, orange-yellow skin and juicy pulp containing numerous very small yellowish seeds.
  • It is covered in a straw-coloured husk and takes 70 to 80┬ádays to mature.
  • As the fruits ripen, they begin to drop to the ground, but will continue to mature and change from green to the golden-yellow of the mature fruit.
  • Annual in temperate regions (dies back in winter and start to grow out again in spring), perennial in the tropics.
  • Easily grown in pots

Culinary Uses

  • Unique flavour.
  • Cape gooseberry can be eaten fresh, added to fruit salads and fruit cocktails, dipped in chocolate and other glazes, pricked and rolled in sugar or combined with avocado.
  • For desert it can be cooked with apples or ginger and stewed with honey.
  • Has a high pectin content - can be canned whole, preserved as jam, made into sauce, used in pies, puddings, chutneys and ice cream.
  • The berries can be dried into tasty "raisins" or used as a garnish.

Parts Used

  • Fruit and leaves.
  • Harvest when it falls to the ground (not all fallen fruits may be in the same stage of maturity - must be held until they ripen.
  • If fruit is left inside the husks, its shelf life at room temperature is over 30-45 days. Can be freezed.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Cape gooseberry is a good source of Vitamin P, A, C, plant sterols and flavonoids.
  • It is high in protein (16%) and has antihistamine (allergies), anti-carcinogenic (cancer), antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • In folk medicine it has been used for cancer, malaria, asthma, hepatitis, dermatitis and rheumatism.
  • Today it is used within European herbal medicine to treat kidney and bladder stones, fluid retention, gout and urinary tract disorders.
  • In Colombia a leaf decoction is used as a diuretic and anti-asthmatic and in Spain a wine is made with the fruit to treat excess fluid retention and problems of the urinary tract.
  • In South Africa the heated leaves are applied as poultices on inflammations.
  • The Zulus administer the leaf infusion as an enema to relieve abdominal ailments in children.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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