Retama raetam

Retama raetam (Forssk.) Webb

Leguminosae (Fabaceae)

  • White Broom
  • White Weeping Broom
  • رتم
  • ratam
  • רֹתֶם הַמִּדְבָּר
  • rotem ha-midbar

Phanerophyte shrub

  • Sand

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Medicinal Complaints / Uses

Retama raetam (Forssk.) Webb

Activity / Interpretation Traditional

Parts Used


Skin swelling & to open boils

Anti-Infective, Vulnerary

Decoct plant in water & use as hot or cold compress.

Aerial partsZ
Endocrine/ Metabolic

Diabetes; lowers blood sugar


Decoct plant in water & drink instead of water. (TOXIC See CAUTIONS.)

Aerial partsZ

Gastrointestinal pain & inflammation

Anti-inflammatory, Carminative, Demulcent

Decoct plant & drink x3 small cups/day. (TOXIC See CAUTIONS.)

Aerial partsZ
Musculoskeletal/ Joints

Back pain

Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory

Prepare paste of crushed leaves + wheat flour, apply to affected area & fix with a cloth.

Wound Healing



Soak leaves in boiling water, filter & use as a compress on wound; repeat several times until healed.


The authors of the Flora Palaestina Ethnobotany (FPE) web site do not take responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of the plants described here. Always seek advice from a health professional before using a plant medicinally or for other purposes

1. Z notes that large doses of this plant are dangerous (see CAUTIONS) but small quantities are used as a purgative & vermifuge.
2. Z also notes other uses of this plant including; small fruits eaten by sheep, wood used as an excellent source of charcoal by desert tribes & as an abortive in large doses.

Retama raetam contains alkaloids. Its fruit is considered toxic & is thought to provoke hallucinations. Deaths have been reported from the abortive effect of this plant.