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Botanical Roots: Why you should eat ‘Susumba’

Susumber, or ‘Susumba’ as we know it in Jamaica, or the Turkey Berry, is scientifically known as Solanum Torvum.

The berry is also known as Gully Bean, Plate Brush, Devils Fig, Pea Eggplant, Bhankatiya, Pea Aubergine, Wild Eggplant and many other names. It is native to Central and South America and currently found in those regions as well as India, Africa, China, Thailand, the Caribbean, and parts of the US.

It grows in a wide range of habitats throughout the tropics and subtropics. It grows best in warm moist fertile conditions, but once established it can withstand drought by shedding its leaves. This plant is seen on vacant lands, roadsides, pastures, river banks, and other such areas.

Susumber is an erect, branched, slender perennial shrub, two to three metres tall and two centimetre in diameter, and is sparingly armed, densely pubescent overall with many greyish stellate hairs. It is normally found growing in locations with full sunlight and does well in light shade or shade for part of the day, but cannot survive under a closed forest canopy. It is quite drought tolerant and is adaptable on a wide range of soils.

Susumber is used in household meals, giving it a somewhat bitter taste. Apart from that, the ‘gully beans’ are said to have some amazing healing benefits that are highlighted below:

1. Protection from Cancer

Susumber is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and helps to stop the excessive cell growth making it significant for cancer. Research shows that extract of Turkey Berry can help to protect against lung cancer.

2. Treatment of Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the lifelong conditions that cause a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. Dried powdered berries are used in meals to lower blood sugar.

3. Treatment of Indigestion and diarrhea

Regular consumption of gully beans is considered good for digestion and helps to treat indigestion, stomachaches, diarrhea as well as other digestion related problems. These berries are capable of neutralizing acid in the stomach making them significant for healing gastric ulcers.

4. Prevention of cardiovascular diseases and strokes

Turkey berries consist of saponins, flavonoids, torvosides, alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, cholorogenome, etc. which are actually powerful antioxidants that help to prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes and cancer. The dried berries made into a powder helps to lower blood pressure and prevent heart attacks. So including fresh or dried turkey berry is extremely beneficial for dealing with cardiovascular diseases and strokes problems.

5. Prevention of Pains, redness and gout

The berries help to flush out uric acid therefore helping to prevent or reduce pain, redness and symptoms of gout. Apart from that, Susumba leaves consist of a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and natural steroids called soasoline which is great for arthritis, lower back pain and swelling, and pain in general. Sumber is therefore very important for health since inflammation is the first step towards all diseases.

6. Prevention and healing of Colds and flu

Apart from its health promoting benefits, turkey berries are also said to help in preventing and healing colds and flu. Use the berries to prepare soup and consume frequently to overcome cold and flu symptoms.

7. Treatment of phlegm and mucus

Including turkey berries in your regular diet help to get rid of phlegm and mucus. Dry the berries and make into powder, this will dry up the mucus, helps with asthma, coughing, lung inflammation etc.

8. Prevention and treatment of kidney disease

According to Dr Paul Haider, research shows that the berries can also help to prevent and treat kidney disease and even reverse tubular necrosis and glomerular congestion, thus making it important for treating kidney disease.

9. Regulate menstruation

Frequent consumption of turkey berries help to regulate menstruation and so help with regular menstrual periods. So anyone with menstrual problems can include turkey berry in their regular diet to solve all the associated problems.

10. Treatment of Anaemia

Turkey berries contain lots of iron which is extremely beneficial for treating anaemia. They encourage production of red blood cells. Apart from that berries can also be used in soups and consumed on a regular basis to increase red blood cell production.

11. Prevents intestinal worms

Regular intakes of the berries help to prevent the development of worms within the intestine. Dried and powdered berries can also be added to gravies and eaten for better result.

Some of the information used in this article was taken from