Upright perennial herb growing to 32 in (80 cm) or more. Has narrow, lance-shaped leaves and large, delicate, fragrant pink or lilac flowers.
Habitat & Cultivation
Fringed pink is native to Europe and northern Asia (including China and Japan) growing at altitudes of up to 7,900 ft (2,400 m). It grows in clumps on hillsides and crevices, and is cultivated from seed in eastern China. It is only harvested when in flower.
Fringed pink contains saponins, dianthins, tannins and flavonoids.
History & Folklore
Fringed pink is first mentioned in the Chinese herbal known as the Divine Husbandman’s Classic (Shen’nong Bencaojing), which was written in the 1st century CE.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Although fringed pink is common in Europe, there is little indication that people there have used it as anything other than a vegetable (the young leaves are best boiled or steamed). In Mongolia, it is used to promote contractions and childbirth, and is considered a diuretic, hemostatic, and anti-inflammatory. In Chinese medicine it is widely used for “damp-heat” conditions, and prescribed for kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Research, mostly conducted in Korea and China, indicates that fringed pink has marked anti-inflammatory activity and possible cancer-fighting properties.
The gillyflower (D. caryophyllus), of Mediterranean origin, has similar constituents and is traditionally prescribed in European herbal medicine for coronary and nervous disorders.