Miracle Berry The Beginings
of the Miracle Berry.
It is true that humans rely very much on their sense of taste to be able to distinguish which foods he wants to eat and which ones he will dislike. Though taste is not always a determinant of the nutritional value of the food item, people would see it as a higher priority than the latter. This is why not too many people enjoy eating greens and some types of fruits, primarily because these plant products don't contain the taste or flavors they prefer.
But what if you were told that there is a type of fruit that has the ability to modify these unsavory flavors, and transform them into tastes that are more familiar and of course, more delicious to your tongue? The answer lies in a special fruit called the miracle berry, which has had its origins from its homeland of West Africa. The discovery of this fruit and its introduction to the Western world was attributed to Chevalier de Marchais, a cartographer and explorer who traveled to West Africa during the early 1700's. Having tasted this miracle berry, he was able to enjoy his meals more, and flavors were somehow enhanced.
What is the miracle fruit or the miracle berry, actually? From the taxonomic family of Sapotaceae comes the species Synsepalum dulcificum with the synonym Richidella dulcifica. This plant adores warm tropical climates, and was abundant in Africa as well as some parts of Asia and America. The plant can grow as high as 18 feet, and bear sweet red berries that are rich in the miracle protein called miraculin.
It has been said that miraculin is responsible for changing the conformation of taste receptors on the tongue, which is why tastes like sour, bitter, and tangy became sweeter and more delicious after chewing on the miracle berry. It was in the 1970's when many laboratories from Japan and America attempted to isolate and further investigate miraculin from the miracle berry. Even animals were tested to determine how they would react to eating sour fruits after their tongues were coated or treated with miraculin.
During this time, the marketing potential of miraculin as a sugar substitute was also being examined. A smart entrepreneur named Robert Harvey actually founded a company called Miraculin, now known as BioResources International, which aimed to harvest the medicinal and health potential offered by the miracle fruit. During this time, there were even miracle berry parties being held, where people who enjoyed the sensational flavors offered by miraculin gathered together for food tasting and flavor tripping.
Robert Harvey's company was able to advertise the benefits of using miraculin as a sugar substitute, create powdered and tablet forms of the extract, and even manufactured popsicles that rivaled the competition. It was in 1974 when the Food and Drug Administration advised Harvey's company to stop manufacturing the miracle berry tablets, because of the lack of research to support its health claims. At the present time, BioResources International in New Jersey continues to conduct studies on the health potentials of miraculin as well as other plant extracts in the field of pharmaceuticals.