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The help that man needs to cure his illnesses and his illnesses can also be found in simple field herbs. Among the humble stubble, among the forgotten woodland plants nature hides its best remedies for the well-being and health of individuals. Almost all medicinal plants act on the kidneys, since the diuretic action enhanced by the water contained in the teas produces a significant increase in the amount of urine. The alchechengi is extremely diuretic, this property facilitates the elimination of waste substances, contributing to the cleaning of the blood and to the purification of the whole organism. Uric acid and urea are among the most toxic substances that our intestines produce continuously and must be eliminated by urine. The plants that facilitate the elimination of these metabolism residues are numerous and very effective, because they increase the solubility of mineral salts, hindering the formation of urinary calculi. The alchechengi is able to dissolve urinary calculi if they were formed and not only, in addition to the waste substances, the urine also conveys the active ingredients of this plant, which possessing an antiseptic action fights very effectively the infections of the plant. whole urinary tract.

Physalis alkekengi and Peruvian physalis

The genus physalis is very broad and includes more than 80 species originating in Europe, Asia and the American continent. All are part of the great family of Solanaceae and are therefore closely related to tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and potatoes.
In our country the most widespread are some varieties cultivated purely for the decorative purpose of physalis alkekengi. In autumn they fructify spectacularly and lend themselves to drying and creating compositions for home decoration, to be exhibited during the winter months. Their fruits, however, have a very acid taste and, although they are edible, they are very unpleasant.
For this purpose, another species is cultivated, the Peruvian physalis. The crop cycle is very similar to that of the tomato. The "lanterns" it produces do not take on spectacular colors, but the fruit contained is decidedly sweeter and this is why it is highly sought after by the confectionery industry.
Both products are valuable from the health point of view because they are an excellent source of vitamins.

Type of plant Annuals (Peruvian) or Perennials (Alkekengi)
Culture Simple
Water needs Medium-high
Growth fast
Propagation Seed, division
Exposure Sun-shade
Ground Indifferent, better rich and read. clay

Physalis alkekengi

The plant Physalis alkekengi commonly called alchechengi it is part of the Solanaceae family such as potato and tomato. It reaches up to 1 meter in height. The flowers are white with the characteristic bell shape and appear on the plant in July and August. The fruit is an orange or red berry, as big as a cherry, covered with a scarlet red calyx that swells forming a kind of bladder similar to a small lantern. The leaf is oval and about 8 cm long. Unfortunately, like the rhizome, the leaf is also poisonous because it contains solanine and if ingested it causes vomiting, headache and diarrhea. The parts used are the fruits (berries). The berries are the only edible part of the plant. Its flavor is similar to that of raspberry. Also in the kitchen, the alchechengi finds different uses, in fact from the berries you get a good jam, you can eat in addition to salads, or you can keep them in brine or in vinegar. It is a plant of Asian rigine, which grows in central and southern Europe as well as in the temperate regions of Central and South America. It is infrequent, but is sometimes found on the edge of vineyards and woods. The alchechengi prefers a temperate climate, it can live up to 10 years, it is also resistant to drought, its ideal habitat is a moist soil and an exposure to the shade.

Features Physalis alkekengi

It is a very rustic perennial plant probably originating from Southeast Asia, although today it is naturalized in many parts of the world.
It develops through collated roots and for this reason, in the short term, it manages to spread and occupy a rather large area. The stems are not very branched and range in height from 20 to 80 cm depending on the specific variety. Initially they have an erect habit, but as the season progresses they become more prostrate. The leaves, equipped with petiole, are medium green, oval, deciduous. The axillary flowers are white, in mid-summer, rather insignificant. In autumn they evolve into fruits surrounded by a bright orange “cage”, long and up to 5 cm wide. Its shape is very similar to that of Chinese lanterns, and from this comes the popular nickname. As the season progresses, only the ribs remain and you can see the fruit inside, a red-orange round berry.

Cultivation Physalis alkekengi

The cultivation of the "Chinese lantern" is very simple. It is in fact a very tolerant plant.
Land and exposure
The alchechengi adapts to almost all soils, even the poor ones or those with a very bad texture. In any case, it particularly likes rich and slightly humid soils and slightly sunny exposures (in the South the luminous shadow is better).
Sowing, propagation and planting
Sowing takes place indoors, at the end of March or outdoors when 20 ° C is reached during the day. After about a month from germination thinning can be carried out.
If we already have the plant, we can also proceed with the division, at the end of winter. The ideal is to work when you see the first sprouts appear. The clod is extracted and divided into parts, leaving for each a few roots. We replant by covering with at least 10 cm of earth. We leave at least 80 cm between one specimen and another.
It is a potentially very invasive plant. If we want to limit its growth it is good to immediately insert metal or plastic resistant barriers into the ground, up to at least 35 cm deep.
Cape gooseberry can also be kept in large pots with a rather clayey substrate and good drainage at the bottom.
Crop care
To have a vigorous growth it is good not to skimp the irrigation. The soil must always be slightly damp.
To encourage flowering and fruiting, it is useful to distribute a liquid fertilizer with a high potassium content every 15 days, from March to September. Tomato products are very suitable.
The stems tend to take a slow growth over time. If we want to avoid it, it is good to immediately put tutors to link them. The hazel branches are very beautiful for this use.
The ideal is to put this plant in the last row in the borders: for almost all the vegetative period it has, in fact, an uninteresting aspect and it is good to surround it with other flower essences.
At the end of autumn we can decide whether to let it dry (it will still be very decorative when the winter frost appears) or cut the stems to create dry compositions.
Creation of compositions
The stems are harvested at the end of summer, when the lanterns become orange. They are dried upside down, in the shade, in a cool and airy environment.
Sheltered from the sun and dust, this composition can last for several years. The pairing with the annual lunaria (the Pope's coin) is very beautiful.

Snowflakes properties

The berries are very rich in vitamin C (more than lemon), as well as organic acids (citric and malic) and carotene (provitamin A). They also contain iron in high quantities, potassium, tannins, flavonoids, niacin, pectin and lycopene. They also have traces of alkaloids. They have diuretic, purifying and uricuric properties (they favor the elimination of uric acid) and are particularly indicated in the case of urinary lithiasis. Urinary lithase consists of the appearance of stones. The calculations are formed for physical-chemical reasons, due to precipitation and concretion of substances that are normally dissolved in the liquid itself. The cape gooseberries they exercise a notable preventive action on the formation of the calculations, succeeding in some cases even to dissolve those that are already formed. In order for the berries to fully exercise their function, they must be taken for a certain period ranging from one to six months, interrupting the treatment for a week a month. The alchechengi is indicated for the treatment of gout and gouty arthritis, in fact the inflammation in the joints is caused by deposits of uric acid, the berries facilitate the elimination of this substance because diuretic. The presence of tannins gives the alchechengi astringent properties, in fact for this particularity it is used in the treatment of influences affecting the intestinal tract.

Use alchechengi

For internal use, take 10 or 20 fresh or dried berries in the morning and as many at noon. The decoction is prepared with 50-100 grams of berries in a liter of water to drink in 3 or 4 cups a day, while the tincture is obtained using three grams of berries and leave them for 10 days to macerate in 100 ml of white wine. Tincture should be taken in small quantities every day preferably in the morning on an empty stomach. For external use the compound of alchechengi is used to fight skin redness. In the market there are cosmetic creams that serve as a treatment for the eye area. Before taking any natural remedy it is necessary to seek the advice of an expert especially when dealing with the alchechengi for its presence of inedible and poisonous parts. Use in pregnancy is not recommended, as overuse may result in abortion. 100 grams of cape gooseberries they contain 85% water, 0.7 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, 11 grams of sugar and 53 calories.

Buy cape gooseberries

For those interested in buying this fruit, it is on the market from October to January. Before moving on to the cash register, you need to keep an eye on a few things. The external casing that wraps the berry must be intact, dry and closed. If it is not consumed immediately, it can be kept in the fridge for a week and stored in a paper bag to prevent moisture from causing mold to form on the fruit. As previously stated some parts of the plant are harmful to the body, the German toxicologist Otto Gessner for this reason has included the cape gooseberry in the list of toxic plants. Cape gooseberry has some contraindications, hypersensitivity to one or more substances contained in the berries has been ascertained on some subjects, also care must be taken not to use alchechengi based preparations combined with diuretic drugs, in order not to incur hydro-electrolytic alterations. Today, unfortunately, it remains a little-known plant. Despite its beneficial effects, the alchechengi is used either as an ornamental plant, or in the kitchen especially in pastry shops where the berries are presented covered with dark chocolate.

Recipes with cape gooseberries

The alchechengi, these small exotic fruits with an intense orange color, are today widely used in the creation of particular and delicious recipes. From sweet to savory dishes, from delicate risottos and a refined taste to chocolate desserts ... this small fruit is used to make the most varied dishes and the most bizarre dishes. If you fancy novelty, eccentric tastes and letting yourself be carried away by unknown flavors, start cooking and try new recipes with this orange-colored ingredient! If you want some suggestions, here are some of the most popular recipes: chocolate alchechengi, risotto with apples and cape gooseberries, salads, fruit salads and marmalades with alchechengi, alchechengde semifreddo ... what are you waiting for? Put yourself in the kitchen and try your dishes!

Peruvian Physalis

The Peruvian physalis is of South American origin and was brought to Europe by the Spaniards. Currently its cultivation is widespread also in India and throughout Asia.
Unlike physalis alkekengi, perennial, in our climates it can be grown only as an annual one since it is very sensitive to low temperatures.
It is considered mostly a nettle, even if you can decide to let it grow in a border enjoying the beauty of its fruits.

Features Physalis peruviana

This physalis assumes, at maturity, the shape of a bush of about 1 meter in height and width. The leaves and stems are slightly tomentous and, from the leaf axil, in summer, there is the production of flowers very similar to those of the tomato. Later in the season the fruits develop, orange berries of about 1 cm in diameter, enclosed in a thin, light brown calyx which, with time, dries up.
Once the fruit is fully ripe it falls to the ground with its wrapper.


The cultivation and the cycle of this horticultural plant are not different from those of the tomato.
Land and exposure
Because it has abundant growth and fruiting, it is necessary to insert the physalis in large, warm and sunny spaces. The vegetative period is in fact very long and usually it is necessary to wait at least three months between flowering and harvesting the fruit, in optimal conditions.
The soil must be rich in organic matter and macro and microelements. He must also be able to always keep himself slightly moist.
Sowing and planting
Sowing must take place very soon, possibly already in March, indoors. The vegetative cycle is in fact very long and there is a serious risk, especially in the North, that the fruits do not reach maturity before winter.
You can use heated boxes or single jars of 15 cm in diameter, in a mixture of soil and sand in equal parts. Germination at about 20 ° C occurs in 10 days.
Around May the plants can be planted leaving about a meter of space between one specimen and another. An addition of mature manure in the holes is certainly helpful.
Crop care
Irrigation must be frequent and never let the soil dry completely. This can be helped by a thick mulch made from straw or leaves at the foot of the plants.
Frequent fertilizations are also useful with slow-release liquid or granular products with a high potassium content.
Collection and storage
Harvesting usually begins about 6 months after sowing. It is scalar because only the fruits that have spontaneously fallen to the ground are taken; it is therefore important to monitor the area every 3-4 days.
They are kept outside the refrigerator for about 10 days, in their original wrapping.
The fruit has a very juicy, sweet and slightly acidulous pulp. It is an important source of vitamins and minerals. It is used a lot in confectionery for example with a covering of dark chocolate, with which it creates a beautiful contrast. Some varieties are also used for making jams.

Nutritional and curative properties

Peruvian physalis is a rich source of vitamins and minerals: provitamin A, vitamin C, group B, thiamine, niacin, vitamin E. It is therefore an excellent antioxidant and promotes digestion. In addition to all these, it provides active ingredients such as malic acid, glucides and citric acid. Some of them are crucial to fortify the optic nerve and to decrease the amount of albumin on the kidneys.
It is also used to treat throat ailments, to purify the blood, especially for diabetics, and to promote diuresis in those with prostate problems.
The juice extracted from the false fruits is used for the treatment of ocular cataracts.
  • Alchechengi

    The Alchechengi is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Solanaceae family. It is of oriental origin where it is col

    visit: cape gooseberries
  • Snowquake plant

    Name: Physalis alkekengi Family: Solanaceae Common names: chichingero, cherries, fiasche de corai, vingenze

    visit: plant alchechengi

Physalis alkekengi var. franchetii Very large orange lanterns Up to 60 cm Originally from Japan
Mainly ornamental
Very acid fruits
Physalis peruviana (sin. P. edulis) Yellow fruit, first green then beige.
Fruit diameter about 1 cm
Up to 1.50 m x 1
Large bush with erect branches, heart-shaped leaves, tomentose
Perennial for hot climates, annual in Italy
Physalis pubescens var. integrifolia (sin. P. pruinosa) Fruits smaller than Peruvian, but maturing faster (60 days). Small, yellow-orange berries.
You have to wait a few weeks after the harvest because they lose the bitter aftertaste
Height up to 60 cm x 100 in width. Annual plant, very suitable for Northern Italy, abundant and fast production.
It spreads easily and can become invasive.
Physalis ixocarpa Very large fruit, up to 7 cm in diameter, from green to purple Height up to 2 m Annual, suitable for the production of compotes