. In Western herbalism, cuscuta was traditionally used to treat liver, spleen, and gallbladder disorders such as jaundice ; and to support liver function. It is still used, although rarely, in that way by modern herbalists. It is also a mild laxative. Other traditional Western claims for cuscuta are that it is a mild diuretic, and that it can be used to treat sciatica and scurvy. Externally, it can be gathered fresh and applied to the skin to treat scrofuladerma. Extracts of the herb have a very bitter taste.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the seeds of cuscuta, called tu si zi, have been used for thousands of years. In the Chinese understanding of health, yin aspects inside the person and outside in the environment must be kept in balance with yang aspects. Ill health occurs when the energies and elements of the body are out of balance or in disharmony with nature. Health is restored by taking herbs and treatments that restore internal and external balance.