Busting Herbal Myths: The Facts on 7 Herbal Remedies

These seven herbs have historically been used medicinally, but all have failed the scientific test of time: Chinese lantern, cinquefoil, dandelion, great burdock, hemp dogbane, sorrel and vervain.

| October/November 1999

  • 176-018-01-chinese_lantern
    Chinese lantern, also know as ground cherry, is commonly thought to act as a diuretic, but no scientific studies to date back up that assertion.
    PHOTO: MICHAEL VIARD/PETER ARNOLD, INC.
  • 176-018-01-fivefingers
    One herbal myth floating around is that cinquefoil reduces fever, but studies don't support such an indication.
    KLAUS PAYSAN/PETER ARNOLD, INC

  • 176-018-01-chinese_lantern
  • 176-018-01-fivefingers

Do these herbs actually treat the ailments for which they are commonly prescribed? We bust these herbal myths and show you the facts.

1. Chinese Lantern

Botanical name: Physalis alkekengi 

Other names: Bladder Cherry, Winter Cherry, Strawberry Tomato, Ground Cherry

Family: Nightshade



Description: A perennial plant with upright branched stems growing to approximately two feet. Its leaves are oval and pointed, usually two to three inches long. Whitish flowers appear from June to August and then drop off as the calyxes (lanterns) appear. The lantern contains a red cherrylike fruit.

Indications: Despite the fact that many herbalists suggest the use of Chinese lantern as a diuretic, there are no scientific studies to date that validate such beliefs. While no solid evidence exists for the herb's medicinal use, the fruit can be made into jams and jellies.

cody.westendorf
5/4/2013 1:26:45 PM

Ah just noticed that this was written by a Ph.D. That explains it. They have absoloutly NO training in herbal medicine unless they have persued it themselves. 


cody.westendorf
5/4/2013 1:24:00 PM

It's kind of ridiculous that you say you are debunking herbal myths when all that you have to debunk them is a lack of scientific studies. There is a lack of scientific studies on herbs because they are not profitable like pharma. These plants  have been used since the beginnings of time to help support healing processes. When one experiences the effects directly that plants can have on the healing process then there is no more denial. I do agree that some plants should be used with caution and can cause severe reactions in some people. Certainly no more than the massive amounts of bad reactions and deaths caused by pharma. Always best to consult an experienced herbalist! I expect more  from Mother Earth news. 







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