Goldenberries (Physalis peruviana), also called aguaymanto, originated in South American high-altitude regions of what are today Chile and Peru. Over the past few hundred years, it has been introduced in regions all over the world. It easily adapted to a wide variety of climates, doing well not only at tropical high altitudes, but in subtropical and temperate regions. There are records of goldenberries being grown in England in 1774, where they were called cape gooseberries. They were also grown by the early settlers of the Cape of Good Hope, and it is believed that the name ‘cape gooseberries’ came from there. The French call the plant amour en cage – ‘love in a cage’ – referring to the fact that each berry is encased in a papery calyx. This covering, or calyx, resembles a lantern, so ‘lanterne chinoise’ is also used by the French to identify the plant and its fruit. In the United States, we most often use the name goldenberries, but occasionally one might see it referred to as Pichuberry, referring Machu Pichu in Peru.
These days, goldenberries are consumed fresh, dried, in juices, and in powdered form. They can be found in gourmet desserts (sometimes used as a garnish, still in their little papery cages), as well as in energy bars and drinks, in jams, and in candied form. Raw consumption occurs primarily in South America. First cultivated in South America during pre-Incan times, it was traditionally used to combat intestinal parasites. It is also used in folk medicine to treat asthma, hepatitis, malaria, rheumatism and diuretic maladies.
Goldenberries are very low in calories. With only 53 calories per 100 grams, goldenberries can be a satisfying snack without the risk of being blown off course in a weight control diet!
Another factor making these berries so interesting and sought-after is their very rich content of antioxidants, polyphenols and carotenoids. The anti-inflammatory properties may help toward relieving painful conditions such as gout, muscle aches and arthritis. Heart health is supported by reduction of inflammation of the arteries and blood vessels, and in turn helping to reduce blood pressure. Further, oleic and linoleic acids help lower bad cholesterol and recover a cholesterol balance.
Research has strongly suggested that extract of the goldenberry can be helpful in the treatment of liver cancer and lung cancer, as well as breast cancer, melanoma and leukemia, thanks to withanolides which can cause automatic cancer cell death, slowing down the spread of the disease.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology
What are Goldenberries?
Golden Berry-Derived 4β-hydroxywithanolide E for Selectively Killing Oral Cancer Cells by Generating ROS, DNA Damage, and Apoptotic Pathways
9 Wonderful Benefits Of Golden Berries
Golden Berry, High in Antioxidants and Unique Plant Compounds