Retama raetam

Flora Palaestina Ethnobotany

Retama raetam (Forssk.) Webb

Leguminosae (Fabaceae)

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

Phanerophyte shrub

  • Sand
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Medicinal Complaints / Uses

Retama raetam (Forssk.) Webb

System/State Traditional
Activity / Interpretation
Preparation/ Administration
Parts Used

Skin swelling & to open boils

Anti-Infective, Vulnerary

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

Aerial parts Z
Endocrine/ Metabolic

Diabetes; lowers blood sugar


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

Aerial parts Z

Gastrointestinal pain & inflammation

Anti-inflammatory, Carminative, Demulcent

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

Aerial parts Z
Musculoskeletal/ Joints

Back pain

Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory

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

Leaf B
Wound Healing



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

Leaf B

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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.