How to Use

Home Page

SEARCH ENGINES on this page provide you with several options. You can use a plant`s Botanical (Scientific) name or its Common names in English, Hebrew and Arabic to search for its ethnobotanical uses.
Or you can select a specific Complaint/ Use, Body System/ State, or an Activity to find out which species are described in the web site. (See Ethnobotanical page).

Species Page

On this page you will find a photo of each plant in the web site together with its botanical details including:

1. Nomenclature

This includes a plant’s current scientific name (genus, species), authority, family, synonyms & infra-specific rank and epithet (i.e. sub species or variety if present).

2. Common/ Vernacular names

These are shown in English, Hebrew & local Arabic (other Middle Eastern names when available can be found in NOTES).


This mentions any debate about whether a species is Flora Palaestina or an introduced/ alien species, or if there is some controversy about an accepted name and/ or an unresolved scientific name or synonym. Sources for this information are given by abbreviations in parenthesis (See ABOUT 4B).

4. Habitat and Life Form

This information is based on FLORA OF ISRAEL ONLINE (FOIO) the most extensive documentation of Israeli flora and native Flora Palaestina species.
Explanations of Habitat & Life Form are described in GLOSSARY.
Further information on the distribution, ecological status (frequent, common, occasional, rare, endangered, invasive) & other botanical details can also be found at FLORA OF ISRAEL ONLINE (FOIO) .

Ethnobotanical Page

On this page you will find ethnobotanical descriptions of each plant in the FLORAPALE web site. These descriptions include both historical/ traditional information provided by the Zaitschek collection & BERC sources as well as updated information & explanations compiled by the authors of FLORAPALE.

1. Traditional Medical Complaint/ Use

This field describes the historical/ traditional medical applications of a Flora Palaestina species. We have tried to preserve here the old fashioned medical terms and descriptions (e.g. dropsy, ischia etc.) used in the original Zaitschek data as far as possible, but with added modern medical terminology and explanations provided either in parenthesis or in the explanatory NOTES on this page.
This approach generally is not necessary with the BERC data which was collected more recently and tends to employ only current medical terms when describing a plant`s use.

2. Other Uses

If present these other Non-Medical uses/ applications are described in a separate box and include; animal care (veterinary), food, spices, soaps, dyes, cleaning products, preservatives, ceremonial or ritual uses etc.

3. System/ State

This field represents an updating of the traditional/ historical information by the authors of FLORAPALE. Each Medical Complaint/ Use is placed either within a modern Body System State e.g. Gastrointestinal / Neurological/ Respiratory/ Dermatological etc. or as part of a standard Health/ Disease State e.g. Women`s Health/ Oral Health/ Wound Healing etc.
For Non-Medical Uses the traditional/ historical information is placed in a specific category e.g.Culinary/ Ritual/ Veterinary etc.
All the terms used in System/ State are defined in GLOSSARY and can also be used to search for specific plants on the HOME PAGE .

4. Activity/ Interpretation

This field represents an interpretation of a plant’s activity based on its traditional Complaint/ Use using various terms described below:

A. Pharmacopeial terms: these historical descriptions of a plant`s activity are commonly used in herbal medicine and were once widely used in pre-modern medicine. While most of these terms e.g. Carminative, Cholagogue, Demulcent, Hepatic, Bitter, Alterative etc. are no longer used in modern medicine some e.g.Analgesic have survived.

B. Bioactivity terms: these modern terms derived from pharmacology are used in the FLORAPALE web site to suggest how a plant might effect the body based on possible or potential activity e.g. plants traditionally used to treat back pain may be described as having a possibly anti-inflammatory & analgesic effect, for cancer as having anti-cancer activity, for heart burn as antacid, for diabetes as hypoglycemic (i.e. lowering blood glucose levels) etc.

C. Consumer health terms: these modern descriptive self care terms are used in FLORAPALE to suggest possible or potential applications e.g. Mouth freshener, Deodorant, Hair restorer, Freckle remover etc.

D. Non-Medical terms: these are used in FLORAPALE to suggest possible or potential non-medical applications e.g.Cleaning product, Dye, Tobacco, Seasoning etc.

All the terms used in Activity/ Interpretation are defined in GLOSSARY & can also be used to search for specific plants on the HOME PAGE.

Users of FLORAPALE should note that while scientific studies have been carried out on some plants mentioned in this web site (See SCIENTIFIC STUDIES), the terms used to describe System/ State and Activity/ Interpretation are only speculative & have not been validated for the web site.
They are NOT intended as scientific evidence nor a recommendation for use. (See DISCLAIMER).

5. Traditional Preparation/ Administration

This field describes for each Complaint/ Use, the traditional /historical ways a plant was prepared (decoction, infusion, cooking etc.) and administered (oral, topical etc.). When several different “recipes” for a specific complaint are described they are numbered consecutively 1, 2, 3, etc.
Although in the original Zaitschek & BERC data the terms Boiling/ Decoction are both commonly used, often interchangeably, we have tended to use only “Decoction” where we believe the process refers to simmering a plant mixture after bringing it to the boiling point.
Boiling” on the other hand is occasionally used to describe bringing a plant mixture to the boiling point for a period of time (often stated) not followed by simmering.
Some preparations described also involve the addition of a variety of different ingredients including other plants (often not Flora Palaestina species), minerals, animal parts and various substances considered therapeutic.
These ingredients sometimes described in Arabic by Zaitschek have been identified as far as possible with explanations provided in NOTES.
Poisonous and/or “hazardous”
substances e.g. animal dung/ scorpions etc. sometimes used as additional ingredients are explained in both NOTES and CAUTIONS.
The types of preparations used for each recipe are described in GLOSSARY.

6. Plant part

This field describes the part of the plant used in the various preparations.
Explanations of plant parts are found in the GLOSSARY.

7. Source

This field describes the source of the information for each Complaint/ Use. It is designated as either “Z ” (Zaitschek collection) or “B” (BERC). When the same Complaint/ Use appears in both data sets then the source is designated as “ ZB ”.

8. Notes

This section includes any additional information about a species & its Complaints/ Uses including; other Middle Eastern common names (e.g. Persian); anecdotal details provided by Zaitschek; identification of various additional ingredients in recipes; warnings about addition of poisonous and hazardous substances in some preparations e.g. animal parts, dung, minerals, etc.

9. Cautions

This provides a limited summary of toxic, adverse and allergic effects of specific plants with data derived (but not individually accredited) from various sources in the public domain including:
James Duke “Handbook of Medicinal Herbs (CRC PRESS 2002)

FDA Poisonous Plant Database

Web MD


European Food Safety Authority


CSU GUIDE to Poisonous Plants

Safe and Poisonous Garden Plants University of California, Davis October 2012

Users of FLORAPALE should note that the information provided in CAUTIONS is neither comprehensive nor error free. Any copyrighted or privately owned material inadvertently included will be removed as soon as possible The FLORAPALE web site does not recommend the use of these herbal preparations. If herbal preparations are taken you should first seek advice from your physician or pharmacist. If you have concerns about the toxicity of plants, contact the local Poison Control Centre in your area.
The web site does not take responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of these plants and no liability exists against FLORAPALE or any member of FLORAPALE. Nor can they be held responsible for any allergy, illness or injurious effect that any person or animal may suffer as a result of information in this website or through using any of the plants mentioned by FLORAPALE (See also DISCLAIMER)