7 Benefits of Jamaican Susumba (Turkey Berries)

Susumba, also known as Jamaican Gully bean, is a wild plant that is filled with beneficial nutrients.

People across the globe, including Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, use both the leaves and berries of Susumba for its culinary and medicinal purposes.

Solanum torvum is the botanical name for the Susumba plant. However, it is recognized by various names in different regions.

Some common names for Susumba include Turkey berry, Susumber, and Wonder berry. In certain areas, it is also referred to as Devil’s fig, Pea eggplant, Sundakkai plant, and Plate bush.

susumber, turkey berry and susumba are common names for this plant
Jamaican Susumba

Susumba Benefits

Researchers who examined different sections of the Susumba identified several active compounds that make up Solanum torvum.

Susumba leaf is one section of the Turkey berry plant that contains a number of potential health benefits.

In this article we will take al ook at some the potential health benefits of Susumba. These benefits of Susumba are based reports made by experts who studied the plant.

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  •  Liver Protection: One Phenolic compound was extracted from Susumba leaf and tested on mice with liver damage. The test reports confirm that the chemical extracts taken from Susumba leaves could potentially be used as an agent for protecting and treating liver damage caused by Acetaminophen.
  • Treat Anemia: Susunba is rich in Iron. Because Susumba contains so much Iron it may be useful in helping treat iron dificiency in humans. Because of its low cost, Turkey berries are consumed by pregnant women to supplement the iron needs.

Important Note: But some studies found that the body may not easily absorb the Iron in Susumba. Therefore, it may be necessary to take the berries with some foods that contain Vitamin C to help the body absorb the Iron inTurkey berries.

  •  Reduce Oxidative Stress: Several serious diseases such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Blood disorder, Chronic fatigue and Heart disease have been linked to oxidative stress. Studies of the Solanum torvum fruit and leaf samples found that they contain natural chemicals that may help reduce Oxidative stress.
  • Repair Kidney Damage: Some investigations found that some medication used for treating some diseases may cause kidney damage. An animal study was done to see whether Subumba extracts could repair Kidney damage caused by these medications. Reports confim that Susumba may repair tubular enecrosis, renal lesions and glomerular congestion caused by medication.
  • Preserve Vision: Vitamin A is one of the important micronutrients found in the Turkey berry. Vitamin A is essential for good eyesight.  The vitamin also helps organs such as the heart and lungs function properly. Because Turkey berries are rich in Vitamin A they are good for helping you preserve your vision.
  • Prevent Gastric Ulcers: A 2018 study of Solanum torvum leaves revealed that they may be potentially useful for preventing gastric ulcers. The study identified anti-ulcer properties that reduced gastric acid secretion thereby inhibiting the formation of gastric ulcers. 
  • Control Hypertension: Early research shows that Turkey Berry has natural compounds that may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. Bio-Active compounds identified in Susumba plant inclue include gallic and ferulic acid which demonstrate great potential for helping blood pressure control.
dried susumba leaves for making susumba leaf tea
Dried Susumba Leaves

Jamaican Susumba

Susumba: How is Susumba used In Jamaica. One popular way to consume Jamaican Susumba is to cook the berries as a stew. 

Young Susumba berries are cooked and combined with salted mackerel or some other form of cured protein. Coconut milk, onions and tomatoes are added to the mixture.  It is then served of white rice or with dumplings.

Susumba Leaf Uses: Fresh or dried leaves are brewed to make an herbal tea. This Jamaican bush tea is used as treatment for coughs, colds and upper respiratory conditions.

Here is how Turkey berries and other sections of the plant are used in other areas:

The Wider CaribbeanIn other Caribbean islands it is also used in stews, soups, chutneys, and teas.
Sierra LeoneSusumba leaf tea is given to children for sore throats and stomach aches.
IndiaIn some areas in India, dried Turkey berries and leaves are ground into a powder which is used to make a paste that is consumed in Indian cuisine.
The powder is consumed as diabetes medicine as well.
The PhilippinesThe Susumba plant root is dried and used to make a syrup for treating stomach aches, indigestion and gas.
SenegalTea made from ripe Turkey berres is given to children as a cough suppressant.

Turkey Berry Side Effects

Solanum torvum has some compounds which can cause problems if you eat too much of it. 

Some users report nausea and confusion, dizziness, stomach ache and diarrhea after using Susumba.

Solanum torvum belongs to the Nightshade family of plants. People who are allergic to Nighshade may not tolerate this plant.

Safety Precaution

Is Susumba Poisonous? A poisonous variety of Susumba has been identified in Jamaica. The plant appears almost identical to the non-toxic Turkey berry plant.  

There have been reports of people experiencing serious effects after consuming this variety of Jamaican Susumba.

Investigation show that the poisonous variety contains larger amounts of Solamargine, and other steroidal glycoalkaloids than the non-toxic variety. 

Reports of say severe reactions such as dizziness, slurred speech and upper body weakness have been experienced by persons after they consume the toxic variety Turkey berries.


Susumba is the Jamaican name for the plant known as Turkey berry in many other locations.

Susumba berries are used in Jamaican cooking while Susumba leaves are used to brew a an herbal tea that is used to treat upper respiratory issues

Turkey berries have been subjected to several animal studies. And results show that Susumba plant may have medicinal benefits.

However, these tests are preliminary. Much more through examination of the plants benefits need to be done.

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated here should be viewed as medical advice. Please consult with a Professional Healthcare Provider about your medical care.