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The red berries of the winter cherry plant possess an exquisite sweet-and-sour flavor, and some people preserve them in syrup or vinegar. In some places, wine is fermented with these berries to give it medicinal properties. However, it is better to take these berries directly and not mix them with wine.

winter cherry fruit on the tree with leaves

Winter Cherry Scientific Facts

  1. Other names – Alkekengy
  2. French – Alkekenge
  3. Spanish – Alquequenje, capuli, tomatillo ingles
  4. Environment – It grows in central and southern Europe and warm climate regions of Central and South America. It is rare to find and prefers borders of vineyards and woods.
  5. Description – Plant of the Solanaceae family, growing up to one meter high, its fruit is a berry, orange or red, the size of a cherry, and covered by a scarlet-red calyx which swells, forming a kind of bladder.
  6. Parts of the plant used medicinally – The fruit (berries)

Healing Properties and Uses

The berries of winter cherry are rich in vitamin C (they contain a higher proportion than lemon), organic acids (malic and citric), carotene (provitamin A), physalien (a red coloring substance), and traces of alkaloids. They have diuretics, depurative, and uricosuric properties (they promote the elimination of uric acid). They make a good remedy for people suffering from the following ailments:

  1. Urinary lithiasis promotes the dissolution of uric salt calculi and sand, preventing urinary sediments from precipitating and forming new calculi.
  2. Gout and uric arthritis promote the elimination of uric acid (uricosuric properties).

How to use Winter Cherry

  1. Fresh or dried berries, taking 10 or 20 in the morning, and the same amount at noon.
  2. Decoction with 50-100 g of berries per liter of water. Drink three or four cups daily.


George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 585. Print.

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