Rhus coriaria

Rhus coriaria L.


  • Elm-leaved Sumach
  • Sicilian Sumach
  • Tanner`s Sumach
  • summaq سماق
  • 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.

Medicinal Complaints / Uses
System/State Traditional
Activity / Interpretation Traditional
Preparation/ Administration
Parts Used Source
Endocrine/ Metabolic



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, Fruit B, Z

Abdominal pain


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

Fruit B

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, Leaf B, Z

Reduce swelling


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

Fruit Z
Infectious Diseases

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


Decoct flowers & drink.

Flower Z
Kidney & Urinary Tract

Kidney inflammation /nephritis


Decoct flowers & drink.

Flower Z
Kidney & Urinary Tract

Urinary retention


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

Fruit B
Nervous system



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

Fruit B

Excess tearing


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

Fruit Z
Oral Health

Strengthen teeth


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

Fruit B
Oral Health



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

Fruit B
Women`s Health

Increase milk production for lacatation


Eat fruits + honey.

Fruit Z
Wound Healing

Wash wounds & burns


Prepare infusion of fruit & wash affected area with it.

Fruit Z

Other Uses

Rhus coriaria L.

Other Uses
System/State Complaint / Use Activity / Interpretation Traditional
Parts Used Source

Hair colouring


Decoct leaves & apply to hair.

Leaf B



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

Fruit Z

The authors of FLORAPALE, (Flora Palaestina Ethnobotanical) 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. See DISCLAIMER.

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.