Winter Cherry

Winter Cherry
Winter Cherry

Uses of Winter Cherry

Winter Cherry is a ripened fruit used as a diuretic and anti-arthritic treatment in traditional medicine. It should not be confused with Ashwagandha (the powdered root of Withania somnifera).

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness of herbal supplements based on scientific evidence from “effective” to “insufficient evidence to rate.” The Database ratings for Winter Cherry are as follows:

Possibly effective for…

  • Stress. Taking 300 mg of a specific root extract (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed) twice a day after food or 240 mg of a different extract (Shoden, Arjuna Natural Ltd.) each day for 60 days may improve symptoms of stress.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Aging. A root extract may improve well-being, sleep quality, and mental alertness in those aged 65 to 80 years.
  • Anxiety. Winter Cherry may reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Athletic performance. The supplement may increase the amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise, but its effects on athletic performance remain unknown.
  • Bipolar disorder. Taking a specific extract (Sensoril, Natreon, Inc.) for 8 weeks may improve brain function in those suffering from bipolar disorder.
  • Diabetes. Winter Cherry may reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics.
  • Fatigue in cancer patients. Taking 2000 mg of a given extract (Himalaya Drug Co, New Delhi, India) during chemotherapy may decrease fatigue.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder or GAD (persistent anxiety characterized by exaggerated worry and tension). Winter Cherry may reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
  • High cholesterol. The supplement may reduce cholesterol levels in those with high cholesterol.
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Taking Winter Cherry may lower thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and increase levels of thyroid hormone in people with mild hypothyroidism.
  • Male infertility (conditions that prevent a man from impregnating a woman within a year of trying to conceive). It is unknown if Winter Cherry can improve male infertility, though some evidence suggests that it may improve sperm quantity, though not sperm quality.
  • Metabolic side effects caused by antipsychotic drugs. Taking 400 mg of a specific extract (Cap Strelaxin, M/s Pharmanza Herbal Pvt. Ltd.) three times per day for one month may reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood in people being treated schizophrenia with antipsychotics.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD (anxiety characterized by repetitive behaviors and recurrent thoughts). A root extract taken for 6 weeks alongside prescription medications may reduce OCD symptoms.
  • Sexual problems that prevent sexual satisfaction. Counseling combined with an extract taken each day for 8 weeks may increase sexual interest and satisfaction in women better than just counseling.

More evidence is also needed to rate the effectiveness of Winter Cherry for the following:

Side Effects Of Winter Cherry

  • When taken orally: Winter Cherry is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken for no longer than 3 months. Long-term safety remains unknown. Large doses may cause diarrhea, stomach upset,  and vomiting. Liver problems may occur, but are rare.
  • When applied topically: There is not enough reliable information to determine if topical application is safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to use Winter Cherry when pregnant, as it may induce a miscarriage. It should be avoided while breastfeeding due to lack of reliable information regarding safety.
  • Auto-immune diseases [e.g.,  multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA)]: Winter Cherry may increase immune system activity, thereby exacerbating the symptoms of auto-immune diseases.
  • Diabetes: Winter Cherry may interfere with diabetes medications and lower blood sugar levels too much.
  • High or low blood pressure: Winter Cherry may decrease blood pressure too much in those with low blood pressure or those taking medications for high blood pressure.
  • Stomach ulcers: Do not use Winter Cherry if you have a stomach ulcer.
  • Surgery: Winter Cherry may interfere with anesthesia and medications during/after surgery. Do not take it for at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
  • Thyroid disorders: The supplement should be used cautiously by people who have thyroid conditions or are taking thyroid hormone medications.

Warnings & Precautions

  • Medications for diabetes [e.g., chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, limepiride (Amaryl), metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), tolbutamide (Orinase)]

Taking Winter Cherry alongside diabetes medications may lower blood sugar too much.

  • Medications for high blood pressure [e.g., amlodipine (Norvasc), captopril (Capoten), diltiazem (Cardizem), enalapril (Vasotec), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan)]

Taking Winter Cherry alongside high blood pressure medications may cause blood pressure to drop too low.

  • Medications that decrease the immune system [Immunosuppressants; e.g., azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), sirolimus (Rapamune), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf)]

Winter Cherry may decrease the effective of immunosuppressants by increase immune system activity.

  • Sedative medications [Benzodiazepines; e.g., alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed)]

Taking Winter Cherry alongside sedatives may cause excessive drowsiness.

  • Sedative medications [CNS depressants; e.g., clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), zolpidem (Ambien), phenobarbital (Donnatal), ]

Taking the supplement with sedatives may cause excessive sleepiness.

  • Thyroid hormone

Taking Winter Cherry with thyroid hormone pills may cause the body to produce too much thyroid hormone.

  • Herbs and supplements that may lower blood pressure (e.g., Andrographis, L-arginine, casein peptides,coenzyme Q-10, cat’s claw, fish oil, lyceum, stinging nettle, theanine]

Taking multiple herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure may cause blood pressure to drop too low.

  • Herbs and supplements with sedative properties (e.g., catnip, California poppy, calamus, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, St. John’s wort, skullcap, valerian, yerba mansa, 5-HTP)

Using multiple herbs and supplements that act as sedatives may cause excessive sleepiness.

Dosage Of Winter Cherry


For stress: Take 300 mg of a given root extract (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed) twice a day after food or 240 mg of a different extract (Shoden, Arjuna Natural Ltd.) each day for 60 days.