Marasi is the miracle fruit of Indonesia. Is it possible lemon becomes sweet without sugar? When we eat Marasi (Curculigo latifolia) fruits just before we eat lemon, we will taste the sweet lemon. No matter how sour it is, your lemon will be sweet.  That is why we called it miracle fruit.

So far “the miracle fruit” is always related to Synsepalum dulcificum.  But Marasi is more worthy for that title.  The reason is the level of sweetness.  The sweet taste manipulation caused by Miraculin protein from Synsepalum dulcificum is less sweet than Curculin protein from Curculigo latifolia.

Utilizations Of Marasi The Miracle Fruit

Marasi is one of the Indonesian native species.  The distribution is wide.  From Africa to tropical Asia.  In fact, in Indonesia, Marasi has been known as a useful medicinal plant. 

marasi the miracle fruit

Natural fiber

In some Kalimantan regions, people use Marasi leaves as a natural fiber source for traditional handcrafting. For your information, they also have unique clothes made from Marasi fibers have known as Lemba.  The leaves are used as food wrappers. 

Food from marasi the miracle fruit

In certain conditions, Marasi leaves are also useful as an emergency soap. The tuber is edible in fresh or cooked as vegetables.   The fruit is unique.  Marasi fruit contains curculin which can manipulate the taste to become sweet.  People who love outdoor activities use the Marasi fruit as an energy booster while they are in the jungle.

Medicinal plant

In some Sumatra regions, people boil the Marasi flowers and root and use the decoction as medicine to treat stomach problems and as a diuretic drink.  Some peoples also use the roots for kidney problems and an aphrodisiac.  The fruits are uses as medicine to relieve fever, cough, inflammation, and immunomodulator.

Landscape plant

Marasi is also popular for landscaping.  The attractive color of the foliage and the performance of the plants is the reason for border ornamental plants in the garden.

Curculin manipulate the taste

In general, our gustatory system/ sense of taste will activate when the receptor binds to the specific molecules as a ligand, such as sugar and aspartame.  Curculin is a protein as a natural sweetener from Marasi fruits.  The Curculin protein act as a ligand that binds and activates our sweet taste receptor.  If sugar and aspartame will work in any condition, curculin will only work in acid conditions.  That is why after we eat Marasi fruit and then followed by lemon, the taste sensation will become sweet. And this is the reason why we called Marasi the miracle fruit.

Description

Molineria latifolia is synonym of Curculigo latifolia.  The leaves grow from the stem in the ground. The shape of the leaves is elongated and textured like small folds. Plant height can reach 1 meter. Naturally, grows wild at the base of the forests, shaded from direct sunlight.

Marasi propagate by the rhizome. The flowers are white and transparent.  But mostly the petals are yellow. The flower stalks appear separate from the main stem. Marasi fruit itself is clear whitish. The seeds are small but many. seed size is about 1 cm.

Local names from Marasi the miracle fruit

Some references mention that the origin of Marasi is West Africa.  But then spread to all parts of tropical Asia, China, and the pacific islands. In Indonesia, Marasi is found in the forests of the middle plains. It is also found in the valley forests at an altitude of about 1000 meters above sea level.  In fact, There are many local names of Marasi.  Singkut (North Sumatra), Lentahi (South Sumatra), Marasi (West Java), Lemba (Kalimantan), Cua Mok (Papua).


Muryanto Paiman

always love to learn from nature.  Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses