With its golden hue and tomato-like appearance, the goldenberry is eaten as a snack in some regions. There is evidence that this fruit may have some potential health benefits as well. Read on to learn about the potential benefits and side effects of goldenberries.
Goldenberries, also known as Physalis periviana, or cape gooseberry, is a fruit that closely resembles the tomatillo .
Goldenberries originate from the Andes but are also currently grown in places like California, Taiwan, India, and Great Britain. This fruit is commonly eaten fresh or dried. They can also be made into jams, chutneys, and puddings .
- Phytosterols, which may act as antioxidants 
- Linoleic acid, which may also as an antioxidant 
- Oleic acid 
- Palmitic and stearic acid 
- Tocopherols, which may have antioxidant activity and act as a source of vitamin E 
- Beta-Carotene, which is a source of vitamin A 
- Vitamin K 
- Withanolides, which are a group of naturally occurring steroids that may have anti-inflammatory effects 
Research suggests that the components inside goldenberries have antioxidant activity .
No clinical evidence supports the use of goldenberries for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
Animal research suggests that this antioxidant activity can potentially help prevent oxidative damage to tissues in the body. The sections below detail some of the specific organs that may benefit, based on animal studies .
A study on rats found that goldenberry juice may protect the liver and kidneys against tissue scarring (also known as fibrosis) .
A study of rat brain cells suggests that gooseberry juice may decrease tissue damage and neurotoxicity .
Pterygium, also known as surfer’s eye, is a disease involving excessive growth on the cornea, which is linked to the growth of cells called fibroblasts. In a rabbit study, goldenberry juice helped prevent excessive eye tissue growth due to aging .
The calyx of the goldenberry, or the outer protective casing it grows in, may have anti-inflammatory properties. In a study of rat colon cells, goldenberry extract decreased inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, and IL-1B) and COX-2 transmission .
A guinea pig study found that goldenberry leaf supplementation may reduce blood sugar levels .
Goldenberries have not been shown to treat or prevent cancer. The potential effect of goldenberries in cancer has only been studied in animals and cells.
It’s important to note that many substances have anti-cancer effects in cells, even toxic chemicals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have medical value. On the contrary, most substances (natural or synthetic) that are researched in cancer cells fail to pass further animal studies or clinical trials due to a lack of safety or efficacy.
With that in mind, researchers have found that a compound in goldenberries called 4beta-Hydrozywithanolide E may have anti-cancer properties. This effect has been studied in animals and cells on the following types of cancer:
The safety of goldenberries is unknown due to a lack of clinical trials. The research that is available suggests that certain forms and doses of goldenberries may be unsafe.
There is some evidence that unripe fruits may be poisonous .
Based on animal studies, a very high dosage of goldenberries (specifically the leaves) may lead to toxicity of the gut, potentially leading to vomiting, headaches, and in rare cases, death. A guinea pig study focused on solanine, a component of goldenberries, and found that a dosage of 400 or 800 mg/kg dosage instead of the usual 100 mg/kg dosage led to toxicity .
A rat study found that an extremely high dosage of 5,000 mg/kg can cause heart damage .
Goldenberries have not been studied in strong clinical trials. The safety and effectiveness of this fruit for use in humans is unknown.
Goldenberries are often sold in dried fruit form, and are also sold under the name of “Incan berries.”
The leaves of goldenberries and unripe goldenberries may be toxic, so proceed with caution if consuming fresh goldenberries as opposed to dried, processed forms.
There is currently insufficient evidence to determine what a safe and effective supplementation dose of goldenberries is.