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Miracle Fruit Berries | Synsepalum Dulcificum | Flavor Tripping Parties

Author C. Sanders. Published on May 25, 2011 - 8:16 am (2044 views — 650 words)

Synsepalum dulcificum, more commonly known as miracle fruit, miracle berry, miraculous berry, and sweet berry, is a fruit that when eaten causes what would normally be a sour taste to be 100% sweet.

In West Africa, where this species originates, common names also include agbayun, taami, asaa, and ledidi.

The berry itself has a very low sugar content, and is very mildly sweet. It almost has no flavor at all. Knowing that, one might wonder how it turns something sour into a sweet. Well, the fleshy part of the berry contains what is known as a glycoprotein molecule with some trailing carbohydrate chains. It is called miraculin.

But how does it work?

This molecule binds to the tongue's taste buds, tricking them into believing that the sour foods are actually sweet. The exact cause for the change is unknown. A theory is that miraculin works by distorting the shape of the sweetness receptors "so that they become responsive to acids, instead of sugars and other sweet things". The effect is not permanent, and not dangerous, and only lasts 15-60 minutes.


This particular plant is a shrub that grows up to 20 feet in height in it's native habitat. However, in cultivation, it usually does not grow higher than 10 feet in height.

Commercial Introduction Gone 'Sour'

In the 1970's, an attempt was made to introduce this berry into the commercial market, to turn non-sweet foods into sweet foods without a caloric penalty, but it ended up failing when the FDA classified this berry as a food additive. This introduction was believed to be sabotaged by the sugar industry to prevent loss of business caused by a drop in the need for sugar. The FDA has denied that pressure was put on by the sugar industry, but also refused to release any files on the subject.

Potential Uses

The possibilities for this berry are endless. It could help those with sugar addictions and junk food addictions lose weight, help diabetics, help children eat their veggies, etc.

Flavor Tripping Parties

In New York City, "flavor tripping" parties have been introduced. You pay at the door, eat the berry, and a huge table is laid out in front of you with tons of different types of foods and "drinks". What normally might be completely disgusting to consume alone is now an interesting thing to discuss the next day. When your friends asked you what you did last night, you simply say "Oh, i ate some lemons and cheese, and then I drank some vinegar". It doesn't make everything "good", but it does make everything sweet. At one event, a man drank a cocktail he created with tobasco sauce, mustard, and a little vinegar, to call it "not terrible", and defined it as a "tobasco sauce candy". Sounds awful, right? Seems like something like that would definitely trigger a gag reflex, but I suppose that's why they call it the miracle berry.


Considering the berry is next to impossible to find, since it is very rare, you might be asking where you can find seeds. You will not find these seeds at your typical garden center such a Walmart, Lowe's or Home Depot.

You can find them on eBay for approx. $2.00 per seed, just as the berry is around $2.00 a berry to purchase. The germination rate for these seeds is only about 23%, so purchasing a natural plant growth hormone called giberellic acid and spraying the seeds before planting is advised. This turns the germination rate around to 99%, so that you are not wasting money planting seeds that might not make it out of the soil.

There are a handful of other websites that have done their homework, planted hundreds of trees and now sell these berries to eat, as well as seeds to plant.

We reccommend eBay, as well as Miracle Fruit USA.

Happy fruiting!