Rhus coriaria

Rhus coriaria L.

Anacardiaceae

  • Elm-leaved Sumach
  • Sicilian Sumach
  • Tanner`s Sumach
  • سماق
  • summaq
  • אוֹג הַבֻּרְסְקָאִים
  • og ha-burseqa'im

Phanerophyte shrub

  • Mediterranean maquis and forest
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distribution and other botanical details.

Medicinal Complaints / Uses

Rhus coriaria L.

System/StateTraditional
Complaint/Use
Activity / Interpretation Traditional
Preparation/Administration

Parts Used

Source
Endocrine/ Metabolic

Diabetes

Hypoglycemic

1. Decoct ground epicarp (See NOTES 2) & drink daily. (B)
2. Mix fruit + few coffee beans + "hilbeh" (Trigonella foenum-graecum) + Cinchona bark. Roast mixture, grind into fine powder & add small amount of "luban" (resin of Boswellia sp. see NOTES 3). Prepare a drink without sugar & take x1 full cup/day for 40 days. (Z)

Epicarp, FruitB, Z
Gastrointestinal

Abdominal pain

Carminative

Prepare infusion of fruits by soaking in boiling water for 30 min & drink x1 cup as needed.

FruitB
Gastrointestinal

Diarrhea (B) Diarrhea/ dysentery (Z)

Anti-Infective, Anti-diarrheal

1. Mix 1 teaspoon ground epicarp (see NOTES 2) + 1 teaspoon starch + 2 teaspoons water & drink � teaspoon mornings before breakfast. (B)
2. Mix epicarp + rose water & drink x1-2 cups as needed.(B)
3. Mix ground epicarp + 1 cup yougurt & drink x1 cup/day for 2 weeks. (B)
5. Steep fruit in warm water & drink on empty stomach. (Z)
6. Cook fruits in water + Majorana syriaca or gallnuts from oak (Quercus sp.) & eat. (Z)
8. Cook red meat from goat's neck in water in which fruits have been steeped & eat. (Z)
9. Decoct fresh or dried fruits in water for 15 min, cool, filter through gauze, mix + egg yolk & drink 1 cup x3/day for 3 days (can also be drunk without egg & sugar). (Z)
10. Steep small amount of karshina seeds (Vicia ervilia) overnight. Next day, boil for 15 min, cool & filter. Crush 3 pealed garlic cloves + 1 small teaspoon of Rhus fruits & mix all ingredients together; drink mixture every morning for 3-7 days. (Z)
11. For diarrhea following a cold: decoct leaves & drink. (Z)

Epicarp, Fruit, LeafB, Z
General

Reduce swelling

Anti-hydropic

Grind fruits to powder, cook + honey, spread on cloth & apply to swollen area.

FruitZ
Infectious Diseases

"White" gonorrhoea (i.e. with a white discharge)

Anti-Infective

Decoct flowers & drink.

FlowerZ
Kidney & Urinary Tract

Kidney inflammation /nephritis

Anti-inflammatory

Decoct flowers & drink.

FlowerZ
Kidney & Urinary Tract

Urinary retention

Deobstruent

Soak fruit in hot water & drink. I cup x2/day according to response.

FruitB
Nervous system

Headache

Analgesic

Soak fruits in boiling water for � hour, filter & drink x1 cup as needed.

FruitB
Opthalmic

Excess tearing

Anti-tearing

Steep fruit in cold water & apply as eye drops; also drink steeped water frequently.

FruitZ
Oral Health

Strengthen teeth

Anti-caries

Soak fruits in water to extract juice & gargle before meals.

FruitB
Oral Health

Toothache

Analgesic

Decoct ground fruits & gargle x1-2/day as needed.

FruitB
Women`s Health

Increase milk production for lacatation

Galactagogue

Eat fruits + honey.

FruitZ
Wound Healing

Wash wounds & burns

Anti-septic

Prepare infusion of fruit & wash affected area with it.

FruitZ

Other Uses

Rhus coriaria L.

System/StateComplaint / Use Activity / Interpretation Preparation and Administration
Parts Used

Source
Cosmetic

Hair colouring

Dye

Decoct leaves & apply to hair.

LeafB
Culinary

Spice

Seasoning

Mix fruits + "za'tar" (Origanum sp.) & add to food.

FruitZ

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 Rhus coriaria is also used in Kurdistan & its Kurdish name is "samuqa".
2. The epicarp (exocarp or flavedo) used in several recipes for Rhus coriaria is the tough outer skin of the fruit.
3. Use of this plant in diabetes (Z), includes "luban" a resin from Boswellia sp. mainly Boswellia sacra (Frankincense) which is dried in the sun & crushed.

The fruits & other parts of Rhus coriaria contain urushiols (3-alkyl pyrocatechol derivatives). These are powerful allergens causing painful dermatitis in sensitive people but can be effective in sub-microgram amounts. Lethal poisonings have been reported on ingestion or inhalation allowing urushiols to attack the mucous membranes of mouth, nose & intestines. Tannins in bark can cause a laxative effect.