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Miracle berry

April 24, 2012

The ‘Miracle Berry’, Synsepalum dulcificum (Sapotaceae), may save your wallet and party! Buy the cheapest, sharpest and most awful wine you can get, eat a miracle berry and enjoy an exquisite and smooth vine!

The compound miraculin attaches to the sweet receptors of your tongue. At low pH (when it is sour) the miraculin will trigger the sweet receptor and electrical signals goes to your brain which erroneously declares a sweet sensation. In a small proportion of the population the miraculin attaches to the salt receptors, not so good if you like wine. We have even had the rare occasion of a visitor to Dokmai Garden declaring a mixed salty and sweet sensation, i.e. the miraculin attached to both receptors.

The plant is native to West Africa where it enabled local people to enjoy foods that were normally too sour to enjoy. A lemon, a bilimbi and even carbonated water will taste sweet.

Its fantastic properties has made it a common plant in tropical gardens, and you will find it without problems at the Chiang Mai Khamtieng flower market if you ask for ‘miracle’. We grow it as a small bush in full sun and water moderately. It does not like water logging. You can grow it in a pot too. The fruits come in flushes many times a year, and should be eaten when fully red. Beware of the stone, and do not swallow to quickly, but let the tongue soak itself in the pulp. The effect lasts for about 45 minutes so do not eat this fruit before lunch or dinner.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Phil Wylie permalink
    December 10, 2013 8:33 PM

    Hi, do you sell miracle berry? I visited your gardens a few months ago with my parents, best wishes, Phil

    • December 16, 2013 4:55 PM

      Dear Phil,

      We no longer sell plants but you can probably find a specimen downtown at the Khamtieng Flower Market behind Tesco Lotus, north of Chiang Mai. Ask for ‘miracle’.

      Cheers, Ketsanee

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