“With the changing times, not only the country’s policymakers but the whole world is realising the importance of Ayurveda. Who would’ve thought that people in the upcoming generations would prefer a bottle of gooseberry or bottle gourd juices over carbonated drinks?” Despite this realisation of the health benefits of plants and fruits, there are fruits like Phalsa which, although are high in nutrients but low in popularity. Phalsa is a plant that originates in Southeast Asian countries like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and is mainly grown for its fruit. The scientific name of the Phalsa fruit is Grewia asiatica, also known as the Indian Sherbet berry. It is a seasonal plant and the fruits are generally obtained in the summer. Phalsa fruit resembles grapes in its shape and size. They are purple in colour with a sour-sweet taste. The fruit is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and offers many health benefits; let us know more about those benefits.1
Phalsa fruit is rich in carbohydrates, fibres, proteins, vitamins A, B3 and C and minerals like potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorus. The phytochemicals present in Phalsa fruit include anthocyanins, tannins, phenols and flavonoids. The nutritional chart of this fruit is given in the table below.
|Nutritional components||Value per 100 gram|
|Vitamin A||16.1 g|
|Vitamin C||4.3 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.8 mg|
Table 1: Nutritional value of Phalsa fruit1
Phalsa fruit shows numerous scientifically proven properties; some of which are mentioned below: 1
Some of the potential benefits of Phalsa fruit are described below.
Diabetes (Type I & II) is characterised by an increase in blood glucose due to a reduction or resistance to insulin (a hormone that regulates blood glucose). Literature shows that fruits rich in polyphenols may positively impact diabetes. Parveen et al. conducted a study on diabetic rabbits in 2013 to assess the effect of Phalsa fruit on blood glucose. This study showed a reduction in rabbits’ blood glucose after administering Phalsa fruit. Additionally, this fruit has a low glycemic index and the presence of polyphenols may help reduce blood glucose levels. This indicates that Phalsa fruit may help manage diabetes. However, to claim these results in humans, we need more studies. It is further advised not to self-medicate and consult your physician for proper management of diabetes.2,3
Dyslipidemia is characterised by an increase in total cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies have shown that Phalsa fruit may potentially control the altered parameters in dyslipidemia. An animal study conducted by Parveen et al. in 2013 showed a positive relationship between the consumption of this fruit and lipid levels. Rabbits administered Phalsa fruit extract (200mg/kg) showed reduced total cholesterol and triglycerides. This may indicate that this fruit’s consumption may help manage dyslipidemia. However, more studies on humans are needed to support these claims. Additionally, it is advised not to rely on Phalsa fruit as a remedy for managing dyslipidemia and kindly consult your physician for the proper management of dyslipidemia.4
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide; different ayurvedic treatments are being tested for their effectiveness towards breast cancer. A review by Muhammed et al. in 2013 states that Phalsa fruit contains smart molecules called anthocyanins which help reduce the multiplication of abnormal cells and the risk of cancers. Thus, it may be concluded that Phalsa fruit may reduce breast cancer risk. However, we need more human studies to claim these results accurately. Also, it is advised not to consider Phalsa fruit as an alternative to modern medicine; you should always consult your doctor for proper management of breast cancer.2
Traditionally, herbs, spices, leaves and fruits obtained from plants were used for managing bacterial infections. Muhammed et al. conducted a review in 2013 to test the efficacy of Phalsa fruit on different bacteria. The presence of polyphenols in Phalsa fruit inhibited the growth of S.typhi bacteria; thus, it may have the potential to manage bacterial infections like Typhoid caused by S.typhi bacteria. However, we need more studies to confirm these results in humans. Additionally, you should not consider Phalsa fruit as a remedy for managing Typhoid; it is always advised to consult a physician for proper management of Typhoid.2
Depression is a mood disorder that results in sadness and loss of interest and may affect everyday activities. Previous studies have shown that healthy nutrition may help in managing various ailments. A study conducted by Imran et al. in 2021 stated that Phalsa fruit, due to the presence of antioxidants like phenols, anthocyanins, flavonoids, etc., may help in managing depression. Additionally, this fruit can potentially reduce anxiety (anxiolytic effect). Therefore, Phalsa fruit may have the potential to manage depression. To claim these results for humans, we need more studies. It is further advised not to consider Phalsa fruit as an alternative to modern medicine; kindly consider your doctor for proper management of depression.4,5
Though there are studies that show the benefits of Phalsa fruit in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of Phalsa fruit on human health.
You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.
Phalsa fruit is considered safe when eaten in minimal amounts. A few side effects related to the consumption of Phalsa fruit include:
However, if you experience any adverse reactions to Phalsa fruit, it is advised to discontinue its intake and immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms.2,7,8
Consuming Phalsa fruit is okay if taken in moderate amounts. However, general precautions must be followed in the following conditions:1
However, you must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic physician about the possible interaction of Phalsa fruit with other drugs and follow the prescription thoroughly, as they will know your health condition and other medications you are taking.
Phalsa fruit resembles grapes in its shape and size. They are purple in colour and sour to sweet in taste.1
Phalsa fruit is called Grewia asiatica.1
In Hindi, Phalsa fruit is called Sherbet berry.
No, there are no proven results on the efficacy of the Phalsa fruit for reducing weight.
The safety of Phalsa fruit consumption in pregnancy is not well-established; it is therefore advised to consult your doctor if you plan to add Phalsa fruit to your diet.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.