The Wonder of “Physalis Alkekengi”

This sounds strange for its unfamiliar name. It is “Tino Tino” as we call it in our local dialect. Its origin is traced in Japan. In China, this is called as Chinese Lantern berry due to its figure and shape which look like a small lantern. This is grown in Asia and our country Philippines which is part of Asia. It is also grown in Southern Europe.



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Childhood Plant Berry

This berry had played so much on the way we were growing up especially when we were in our childhood days. In the weekend since we didn’t have classes, my peer group gathered around in a place where we used to meet late in the afternoon. When we were completed we proceeded to our hangout in vacant land just a stone-throw from our residence.

We rolled to the grassy ground then got up and chased each other. When we got tired we looked around for a tall grasses, pulled them and threw or scattered around. Then we rested. While resting, we picked the berries of “Tino Tino“, pressed them to our forehead to let its covering burst. Or we collected a handful of them, rolled its shiny green rounded fruits or berries like a marble. Its ripen one, we ate them for it tasted like a sweet-sour as it broke into our mouth. We couldn’t forget this kind of plant berry in our life. It contributed a lot on how we grew up as we played in the prairie or in the meadow. These berries grew all over.

Nowadays, you could hardly find them. A week ago while I was taking a 30-minute walk to the nearby farm, I came across with these berries growing along the grassy road near the canal. They were hardly seen for they were covered by a tall cogon grass. I had spotted them for I had seen its fruits shaped like a lantern. Everyday I kept on checking it up until I was able to harvest some of its ripen berries.

Its Uses and benefits

As adopted by Chinese, it has a medicinal benefit to human. As a plant bearing berry, it is rich in vitamin A and C. It gives a small amount of phosphorous, calcium and iron. It improves metabolism. It has a diuretic and laxative effect for it is rich in pectin which prevents constipation.

It is also a good source of antioxidant superoxide dismutase, an anti-inflammatory property which treats arthritis according to study. It is also studied that it could inhibit female fertility.

This berry may use as fruit desserts, savory sauce for turkey, pork, fish or other meat. It could also be used for a pie filling.



Tino Tino“, Chinese lantern berries, or Physalis Alkekengi is a plant-bearing berry which has contributed much of my growing up. It is a reminiscence of my childhood friends.






  • Comments

    1. Profile photo of Jo Pin
      Jo Pin

      I vividly recognized this plant. Growing up, we used to play this a lot and could hardly realized they have certain benefits too. This definitely brings back childhood playtime memories.
      Thanks for sharing. Now I know its name.

      1. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
        Gil Camporazo Post author

        Yap. That is why I call it childhood fruit berry. It reminds how happy we were when we were kids before playing with this plant.

    2. Profile photo of Lee Ka
      Lee Ka

      I am not sure but I think I have seen these fruits before, but small ones. I didn’t know it has so many benefits, I just thought they look cute. Thanks for telling me the name, I always thought of finding out what it’s called but I haven’t seen these plants for many years.

      1. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
        Gil Camporazo Post author

        I even found it hard to look for this plant in our place. Some local dialect people call this “Bulay Bulay” in the Western Visayas.

    3. Bhushavali

      I know that feel. I felt the same way when the fireflies and sparrows started missing from my locality! I used to feed the sparrows and watch the fireflies from my terrace in my school days!!! Not to be seen anymore!!! 🙁

      1. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
        Gil Camporazo Post author

        It pays to recall our childhood days. And it is too sad to find nothing of our childhood days memoirs especially those birds, trees, plants and anything that we used to play, see and admire.

      1. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
        Gil Camporazo Post author

        It could be or it is not grown in your place. It is only found in Asia and in Southern Europe.

    4. Saminu Abass

      Great post with remind of memories. It is a pleasure reading this post. Thanks for sharing

      1. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
        Gil Camporazo Post author

        You’re absolutely right Franc. Those childhood memories could compel you to go back when you were kids, alive and kicking or full of energy.

    5. Fred

      Thanks for showing the picture so I now I know I’ve seen this plant before. Never knew it was edible or medicinal. Interesting to learn facts about this.

      1. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
        Gil Camporazo Post author

        Remote or unknown realities couldn’t remain as they are. By sharing them, others may appreciate and could benefit much of them.

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