What is the winter cherry?

The winter cherry is the fruit of withania somnifera belonging to the family Solanaceae. It is  native to Asia, and produces berries with a diameter of about 17 mm. The berries are individually wrapped in a paper like cup. They can be eaten both raw and cooked and they represent the only edible part of the plant.


What are the nutritional properties of winter cherries?

A portion of winter cherry provides about 70 calories, most of which are in the form of carbohydrates (about 77%).  The remaining are divided almost equally between protein and fat. Among the nutritional properties of this fruit what stands out is the content of Vitamin C, roughly twice that of lemons. Inside there is also calcium, carotenoids and flavonoids.


When you should not eat winter cherries

The winter cherry could enhance the effect of diuretics, exposing to risk of changes in fluid and electrolyte levels. It also seems that it can exercise antiestrogenic effects .


Possible benefits

Winter cherry consumption appears to have beneficial effects on the performance of the eyes and digestive system. It also helps to detoxify the blood, fight infections in the mouth and throat and to manage problems with prostate and diabetes.

Folk medicine uses the winter cherry as a diuretic and anti-arthritic, in the form of a decoction or extract of the berries. It is traditionally used in the treatment of urinary tract disorders and those of the skin, gout, and fever. Its anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties are also added to it being used as a laxative, antitussive and expectorant. Finally, its flavonoids seem to be a perfect ingredient for an infusion with a relaxing effect.


Winter cherry possible contraindications

Consumption of winter cherry is contraindicated in cases of hypersensitivity and allergy. It is also not recommended in pregnancy and during breastfeeding. It seems that improper intake can increase the risk of a miscarriage.


Seasonality of winter cherries

The fruits are typical of autumn. In addition to being consumed fresh, they can be dried or processed to obtain the juice and maintain longer.