A plant that scientists in the 16th century believed had magical powers could prove to be an effective treatment for osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease.
The 'vegetable lamb' plant (Cibotium barmoetz) still plays an important role in Vietnamese folk medicine - and now researchers believe it could help osteoporosis sufferers develop strong bones.
In one study, the plant blocked bone-destroying cells from developing without harming other cells. But it is not the first time that 'vegetable lamb' plants have been credited with magical properties - in the 16th and 17th centuries scientists believed its fruit turned into baby sheep.
(Source: Journal of Natural Products, 2009; 72: 1673).