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The young shoots and stripped leaves, often together with the flowers and fruits, are consumed raw as well as cooked. When eaten raw, they have a strong characteristic odour and taste sweet. When cooked, they have a very agreeable, slightly acid flavour, and tend to retain a dark green colour and firm texture. In Malaysia, very young shoots without mature leaves are offered for sale as a delicacy. The small, white fruits are sometimes comfited into a sweetmeat.

In India, sauropus leaves are also used as a cattle and poultry feed.

In traditional medicine, a decoction of the roots is used against fever and urinary problems, and to relieve congestion. The leaves, prepared as a vegetable, are recommended for women after childbirth to stimulate milk production and recovery of the womb. A poultice made of the roots and leaves is applied to ulcerations of the nose and yaws. The leaf-juice is used in Peninsular Malaysia to treat eye infections and in Vietnam to treat thrush of the tongue in children, and the leaves are reputedly also effective against erythema, measles and dysuria.

Star gooseberry is often planted in home gardens as a living fence, serving as a source of vegetable and medicine. The leaves are also used for dyeing foodstuffs, in particular to transfer a green colour to pastry, rice and preserves. The green colour is obtained by rubbing and squeezing the leaves.