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Phalsa fruit: Uses, Benefits and Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode 

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

“With the changing times, not only the country’s policymakers but the whole world is realising the importance of Ayurveda. Who would’ve thought that people in the upcoming generations would prefer a bottle of gooseberry or bottle gourd juices over carbonated drinks?” Despite this realisation of the health benefits of plants and fruits, there are fruits like Phalsa which, although are high in nutrients but low in popularity. Phalsa is a plant that originates in Southeast Asian countries like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and is mainly grown for its fruit. The scientific name of the Phalsa fruit is Grewia asiatica, also known as the Indian Sherbet berry. It is a seasonal plant and the fruits are generally obtained in the summer. Phalsa fruit resembles grapes in its shape and size. They are purple in colour with a sour-sweet taste. The fruit is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and offers many health benefits; let us know more about those benefits.1 

Nutritional Value of Phalsa fruit: 

Phalsa fruit is rich in carbohydrates, fibres, proteins, vitamins A, B3 and C and minerals like potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorus. The phytochemicals present in Phalsa fruit include anthocyanins, tannins, phenols and flavonoids. The nutritional chart of this fruit is given in the table below.  


Nutritional components Value per 100 gram 
Carbohydrates 21.1 g 
Vitamin A 16.1 g 
Fibres  5.53 g 
Protein 1.57 g 
Fats 0.1 g 
Potassium 372 mg 
Calcium 136 mg 
Phosphorus 24.2 mg 
Sodium 17.3 mg 
Vitamin C 4.3 mg 
Iron 1.08 mg 
Vitamin B3 0.8 mg 

Table 1: Nutritional value of Phalsa fruit1 

Properties of Phalsa fruit: 

Phalsa fruit shows numerous scientifically proven properties; some of which are mentioned below: 1 

  • It may have antioxidant properties. 
  • It has the property to reduce inflammation. 
  • It may have properties to reduce blood glucose levels. 
  • It may have the potential to halt the abnormal multiplication of cells. 
  • It may have protective properties for the heart.  
  • It may have properties to reduce the sensation of pain. 

I’ve discovered that Phalsa fruits have a cooling effect on the body. Phalsa fruit is rich in phenols. This property makes it a potential natural remedy for excessive body heat.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Potential Uses of Phalsa fruit for Overall Health: 

Some of the potential benefits of Phalsa fruit are described below. 

Potential use of Phalsa fruit in diabetes 

Diabetes (Type I & II) is characterised by an increase in blood glucose due to a reduction or resistance to insulin (a hormone that regulates blood glucose). Literature shows that fruits rich in polyphenols may positively impact diabetes. Parveen et al. conducted a study on diabetic rabbits in 2013 to assess the effect of Phalsa fruit on blood glucose. This study showed a reduction in rabbits’ blood glucose after administering Phalsa fruit. Additionally, this fruit has a low glycemic index and the presence of polyphenols may help reduce blood glucose levels. This indicates that Phalsa fruit may help manage diabetes. However, to claim these results in humans, we need more studies. It is further advised not to self-medicate and consult your physician for proper management of diabetes.2,3 

Potential uses of Phalsa fruit in dyslipidemia 

Dyslipidemia is characterised by an increase in total cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies have shown that Phalsa fruit may potentially control the altered parameters in dyslipidemia. An animal study conducted by Parveen et al. in 2013 showed a positive relationship between the consumption of this fruit and lipid levels. Rabbits administered Phalsa fruit extract (200mg/kg) showed reduced total cholesterol and triglycerides. This may indicate that this fruit’s consumption may help manage dyslipidemia. However, more studies on humans are needed to support these claims. Additionally, it is advised not to rely on Phalsa fruit as a remedy for managing dyslipidemia and kindly consult your physician for the proper management of dyslipidemia.4 

Potential uses of Phalsa fruit in breast cancer 

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide; different ayurvedic treatments are being tested for their effectiveness towards breast cancer. A review by Muhammed et al. in 2013 states that Phalsa fruit contains smart molecules called anthocyanins which help reduce the multiplication of abnormal cells and the risk of cancers. Thus, it may be concluded that Phalsa fruit may reduce breast cancer risk. However, we need more human studies to claim these results accurately. Also, it is advised not to consider Phalsa fruit as an alternative to modern medicine; you should always consult your doctor for proper management of breast cancer.2 

Potential uses of Phalsa fruit as an antibacterial agent 

Traditionally, herbs, spices, leaves and fruits obtained from plants were used for managing bacterial infections. Muhammed et al. conducted a review in 2013 to test the efficacy of Phalsa fruit on different bacteria. The presence of polyphenols in Phalsa fruit inhibited the growth of S.typhi bacteria; thus, it may have the potential to manage bacterial infections like Typhoid caused by S.typhi bacteria. However, we need more studies to confirm these results in humans. Additionally, you should not consider Phalsa fruit as a remedy for managing Typhoid; it is always advised to consult a physician for proper management of Typhoid.2 

Potential uses of Phalsa fruit in Depression  

Depression is a mood disorder that results in sadness and loss of interest and may affect everyday activities. Previous studies have shown that healthy nutrition may help in managing various ailments. A study conducted by Imran et al. in 2021 stated that Phalsa fruit, due to the presence of antioxidants like phenols, anthocyanins, flavonoids, etc., may help in managing depression. Additionally, this fruit can potentially reduce anxiety (anxiolytic effect). Therefore, Phalsa fruit may have the potential to manage depression. To claim these results for humans, we need more studies. It is further advised not to consider Phalsa fruit as an alternative to modern medicine; kindly consider your doctor for proper management of depression.4,5 

Also Read: What is Breadfruit? Exploring Its Origins and Nutritional Benefits

Other potential uses of Phalsa fruit:  

  • Traditionally, Phalsa fruits are used for managing indigestion.2 
  • Phalsa fruit may also help in reducing fever.2 
  • Traditionally, these fruits were also used to manage asthma.2 
  • Phalsa fruit has also been used for managing tuberculosis.2 
  •  It may help in improving wound healing.6 
  • It may help in managing anemia due to the presence of iron in Phalsa fruit.6 
  • It may help in purifying blood.6 
  • It may help in controlling nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.2,6 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of Phalsa fruit in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of Phalsa fruit on human health.  

Let me give you a tip! Phalsa fruit might take care of your skin. Phalsa fruit is rich in antioxidants and numerous vitamins and minerals, which makes Phalsa a potential contributor to achieving flawless skin.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Phalsa fruit?  

  • Phalsa fruit is consumed raw or ripe or as a juice. 
  • Phalsa fruit is also used to prepare jams, jellies, squash and chutneys.1 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Side Effects of Phalsa fruit: 

Phalsa fruit is considered safe when eaten in minimal amounts. A few side effects related to the consumption of Phalsa fruit include: 

  • Parveen et al. in 2013 stated Phalsa fruit helps reduce blood glucose levels. However, excessive consumption may cause your blood glucose level to drop too low. 
  • Phalsa fruits are rich in tannins, a review by Chung et al. in 1998 stated excessive consumption of foods rich in tannins may result in oesophageal cancer. Although, Phalsa fruit has a property to reduce the risk of certain cancers, the type of tannins and the amounts present is extremely important. Hence, overconsumption of Phalsa fruit should be avoided. 
  • Skibola et al. in 2000 stated that high levels of flavonoids in the body may result in the free radical generation and can increase the risk of certain cancers. Phalsa fruit is also rich in flavonoids, therefore it is advised to consume it in the right amounts and avoid overconsumption. 

However, if you experience any adverse reactions to Phalsa fruit, it is advised to discontinue its intake and immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms.2,7,8 

Also Read: Camu Camu: Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More! 

Precautions to take with Phalsa fruit: 

Consuming Phalsa fruit is okay if taken in moderate amounts. However, general precautions must be followed in the following conditions:1 

  • The safety of consumption of Phalsa fruit by special groups like pregnant and lactating women, children and the elderly is not studied in detail. Therefore, necessary precautions must be taken. It is advised to consult a physician if you belong to these special groups and are planning to add Phalsa fruits to your diet. 
  • Like other fruits and vegetables, it is always advised to wash Phalsa fruit under running water to get rid of dirt and microbes. 
  • It is also necessary to clean and sanitize the surface in the kitchen where you will store Phalsa fruits. 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

  • Phalsa fruit may interact with your diabetic medicines and cause blood glucose to drop too low. Avoid taking both of them together.2 
  • There may be an interaction between Phalsa fruit and your lipid-lowering medication, this may cause lipid levels to fall too low. It is advised to avoid this combination.2 

However, you must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic physician about the possible interaction of Phalsa fruit with other drugs and follow the prescription thoroughly, as they will know your health condition and other medications you are taking. 

Also Read: 10 Health Benefits And Recipes Of Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What does Phalsa fruit look like? 

Phalsa fruit resembles grapes in its shape and size. They are purple in colour and sour to sweet in taste.1 

2) What is the scientific name of Phalsa fruit? 

Phalsa fruit is called Grewia asiatica.1 

3)  What is Phalsa fruit in Hindi? 

In Hindi, Phalsa fruit is called Sherbet berry.

4) Does the Phalsa fruit benefits weight loss? 

No, there are no proven results on the efficacy of the Phalsa fruit for reducing weight.

5) Is it okay to eat Phalsa fruit during pregnancy? 

The safety of Phalsa fruit consumption in pregnancy is not well-established; it is therefore advised to consult your doctor if you plan to add Phalsa fruit to your diet. 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.

References: 

  1. Mehmood, Arshad et al. “Nutraceutical perspectives and value addition of phalsa (Grewia asiatica L.): A review.” Journal of food biochemistry vol. 44,7 (2020): e13228. doi:10.1111/jfbc.13228. available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32320069/ 
  1. Muhammad et al. “Grewia asiatica L., a food plant with multiple uses.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 18,3 2663-82. 28 Feb. 2013, doi:10.3390/molecules18032663. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6270019/ 
  1. Khattab, Hala A H et al. “Antihyperglycemic Potential of Grewia asiatica Fruit Extract against Streptozotocin-Induced Hyperglycemia in Rats: Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Mechanisms.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity vol. 2015 (2015): 549743. doi:10.1155/2015/549743. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542021/ 
  1. Imran et al. “Grewia asiatica Berry Juice Diminishes Anxiety, Depression and Scopolamine-Induced Learning and Memory Impairment in Behavioral Experimental Animal Models.” Frontiers in nutrition vol. 7 587367. 15 Jan. 2021, doi:10.3389/fnut.2020.587367. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7844311/ 
  1. Chand, Suma P. and Hasan Arif. “Depression.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 18 July 2022. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28613597/ 
  1. Khan, Rao & Asghar, Waqas & Khalid, Nauman & Nazir, Wahab & Farooq, Muhammad & Ahmed, Iftikhar & Syed, Qamar Abbas. (2019). Phalsa (Grewia asiatica L) fruit berry a promising functional food ingredient: A comprehensive review. Journal of Berry Research. 9. 10.3233/JBR-180332. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329936198_Phalsa_Grewia_asiatica_L_fruit_berry_a_promising_functional_food_ingredient_A_comprehensive_review 
  1. Chung, K T et al. “Tannins and human health: a review.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition vol. 38,6 (1998): 421-64. doi:10.1080/10408699891274273. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9759559/ 
  1. Skibola, C F and M T Smith. “Potential health impacts of excessive flavonoid intake.” Free radical biology & medicine vol. 29,3-4 (2000): 375-83. doi:10.1016/s0891-5849(00)00304-x. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11035267/ 

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