There’s an old saying, “the jasmine grown in your backyard will not smell as good as the one you buy from the market”. This is how I felt while researching Turkey berries. Turkey berries are found on a spiny, flowering shrub which produces clusters of pea-sized, yellow-green berries. Turkey berry is commonly known as Brihati marathi marang in Sanskrit, Bhankatiya and bhurat in Hindi and chunndakkai and Sundakkai in Tamil. Further, they are also called pokak, pea eggplant and devil’s fig. The scientific name of the turkey berry is Solanum torvum and it belongs to the family Solanaceae. It is a wild relative of eggplant and is commonly found in Asia, tropical Africa and South America.1 There are many health benefits of turkey berries; let us know more about these in this article.
Turkey’s berry is highly nutritious due to their various nutritional components. They are a good source of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals like potassium, sodium, iron, magnesium and copper. The phytochemicals in turkey berries include phenols, alkaloids, antioxidants, sterols and triterpenes.3
|Nutritional components||Value per 100 g|
Table 1: Nutritional value of Turkey berry3
Turkey berries may have numerous properties and some of them are mentioned below:
Turkey berries may have different potential uses and some of the health benefits of Turkey berry is:
Literature studies have found many natural substances that may help reduce pain and inflammation; one such discovery is turkey berries. A study by Ndebia et al. in 2006 stated that turkey berry consumption helped reduce inflammation and pain. This effect is attributed due to the inhibition of prostaglandins (natural substances which can cause chronic pain and inflammation). This indicates that turkey berry has the potential to manage pain and inflammation and may be used to treat conditions like arthritis. However, to support these claims, more studies are needed. Additionally, it is advised to consult a doctor for proper treatment of pain and inflammation and not rely on turkey seeds alone.4
The immune system helps in protecting the body against viruses, bacteria and fungi. George et al. conducted a review in 2011 which stated that consumption of turkey berries might increase white blood cells and neutrophils. Neutrophils effectively defend against pus-forming bacteria and are the first to fight against infection. Turkey berries also contain Vitamin C, which helps convert iron into a more readily absorbable form. This indicates that turkey berries may enhance immunity and help fight against infections. However, we need more studies to confirm these effects. Additionally, it is advised to consult your doctor for the proper treatment of diseases and not consider turkey berries as an alternative to modern medicine.5
Fruits and vegetables are packed with bioactive compounds, which may help manage blood glucose levels. These bioactive compounds may help in controlling blood glucose levels. Gandhi et al. 2011 conducted a study that showed that turkey berries might help reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic rats. This might be due to the phenols. These phenols act as antioxidants and may lead to insulin sensitivity and secretion. This indicates that turkey berry has the potential to lower blood glucose and thus may help in managing diabetes. However, to claim these results in humans, more studies are needed. If you have any complaints of diabetes, it is advised to consult your doctor and avoid self-medication.6
Cancer is a dangerous and fast-spreading disease with uncontrolled multiplication of cells. The abnormal cells divide rapidly and affect the other cells and organs. Balachandran et al. 2015 conducted a study on turkey berries and explained that turkey berries may inhibit the multiplication of cells and may reduce the progression of cancer. The methyl caffeate in the turkey berries may hinder the cancer cells and induce apoptosis. However, further studies are required to check the valuable properties of turkey berries on Humans. If you have any cancer symptoms or signs, consult your doctor and do not self-medicate.7
High blood pressure may lead to conditions like stroke and cardiac diseases. Mohan et al. 2009 conducted a study in rats to assess the effect of turkey berries on blood pressure. The results of this study showed that turkey berries have the potential to reduce blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. This indicates that turkey berries may positively impact blood pressure. However, we need more studies to claim these results in humans. Further, it is advised to consult your doctor for proper management of any blood pressure abnormality. Kindly do not consider turkey berries as a substitute for modern medicine.8
Though studies show the benefits of Turkey berries in different conditions, these are insufficient, still, more studies are needed to establish the true extent of the use of Turkey berries on human health.
This fruit can be used in the following ways:
You must consult the doctor before taking any higher quantities of herbal supplements or turkey berries. Only discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation by consulting a qualified doctor.
Following are the side effects related to the consumption of Turkey berries:
However, if you experience any reactions to turkey berries, it is advised to stop the intake and contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician for proper guidance.
Eating Turkey berries in moderate amounts is okay. However, general precautions must be followed:
There are limited studies on the interactions of turkey berries with other medicines or food. However, the following are some potential interactions of turkey berries that are not proven, but they may likely happen:
You must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic doctor about the possible interaction of turkey berries with other drugs.5,6
The scientific name of the turkey berry is Solanum turvum, which belongs to the family Solanaceae.1
In Hindi, turkey berry is called Bhankatiya and bhurat.1
Turkey berries can be consumed raw directly. Sometimes, the juice is extracted from the raw berries and consumed. Turkey berries are also cooked and consumed.3
It is advised to wash turkey berries thoroughly under tap water; this will help in removing germs and any soil-borne microbes. Additionally, there is limited data on the safety of turkey berries in particular groups like children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly. It is necessary to take caution if you belong to this group and are planning to add turkey berries to your dietary regimen.
Consumption of turkey berries in excess can cause gastrointestinal disorders like constipation.3
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.