Pistacia terebinthus

Botanical Name : Pistacia terebinthus
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Pistacia
Species: P. terebinthus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names :Terebinth and Turpentine tree

Habitat : Pistacia terebinthus is native to the Canary Islands, and the Mediterranean region from the western regions of Morocco, and Portugal to Greece and western Turkey. In the eastern shores of the Mediterranean sea – Syria, Lebanon, Kurdistan and Israel – a similar species, Pistacia palaestina, fills the same ecological niche as this species and is also known as terebinth.

Description:
It is a species of flowering plant belonging to the family Anacardiaceae. It is a small deciduous tree or large shrub growing to 10 m tall. The leaves are compound, 10-20 cm long, odd pinnate with five to eleven opposite glossy oval leaflets, the leaflets 2-6 cm long and 1-3 cm broad. The flowers are reddish-purple, appearing with the new leaves in early spring. The fruit consists of small, globular drupes 5-7 mm long, red to black when ripe. All parts of the plant have a strong resinous smell.

click to see the pictures.
It is a dioecious tree, ie exist as male and female specimens. For a viable population should have copies of both genders. His oblong leafs are bright green, leathery, with 10 cm long or more with 3-9 leaflets. Leafs alternate, leathery and compound paripinnate (no terminal leaflet) with 3 or 6 deep green leaflets. They are generally larger and rounder than the leaves of the mastic, reminding the leaves of carob tree. The flowers range from purple to green, the fruit is having the size of a pea and turns from red to brown, depending on the degree of maturation. The whole plant emits a strong smell of bitter, resinous or medication. In the vegetative period they develop “galls” in a goat’s horn shaped (of what the plant gets its common name cornicabra, the common spanish name), that occur in the leaves and leaflets after the bite of insects. The species is multiplied by seeds and shoots. Although marred by the presence of galls, is a very strong and resistant tree which survives in degraded areas where other species have been eliminated. Pistacia terebinthus is a plant related to Pistacia lentiscus, with which hybridizes frequently in contact zones. The cornicabra is more abundant in the mountains and inland and the mastic is usually found more frequently in areas where the Mediterranean influence of the sea moderates the clima. Mastic tree does not reach the size of the Pistacia terebinthus, but the hybrids are very difficult to distinguish. The mastic presented winged stalks of the leaflets, ie, they are flattened and side fins. These stems in Cornicabra are simple. In the Eastern Mediterranean Coast, Syria, Lebanon and Israel, a similar species,pistacia Palaestina , fills the same ecological niche of this species and is also known as turpentine. On the west coast of the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Middle East, Pistacia terebinthus can be confused with Pistacia atlantica .

Medicinal Uses:
The resin is taken internally in the treatment of chronic bronchial infections, streptococcal, urinary and renal infections, hemorrhage, gallstones, tapeworm and rheumatism. Externally, it is used to treat arthritis, gout, sciatica, scabies and lice. It has also been used in the treatment of cancer. It is a stimulant to kidney function and was sometimes used in mild doses as a diuretic; in larger doses, it is dangerous to the kidneys.  It was also used as a carminative, and was considered one of the most valuable remedies in cases of flatulent colic.  Terebinth was also used to treat chronic diarrhea and dysentery, typhoid fever, purpureal fever and bleeding, helminthiasis, leucorrhea, and amenorrhea.Turpentine baths, arranged in such a way that the vapors were not inhaled by the patient, were given in cases of chronic rheumatism.  It was also administered in enema form to treat intractable constipation.  Applied externally as a liniment or ointment, it has been used in rheumatic ailments such as lumbago, arthritis, and neuralgias.  It was also used as a local application to treat and promote the healing of burns and to heal parasitic skin diseases. The gall-like bodies found on the Turpentine Tree are the result of the stings of a hemipterous insect. They have been used for treatment of asthma attacks. For this purpose they are coarsely pulverized and burned in the bowl of a pipe, or in a dish, using a small funnel attached to a rubber tube for inhaling the fumes. Preparations should be made beforehand, so that the smoke may be inhaled at the commencement of the attack. They appear to act by exciting free secretion, probably through the turpentine with which they are saturated. They are said to be useful in chronic bronchitis. The use of Chian turpentine by Paracelsus as a cancer remedy was revived in 1880 by Mr. Clay, of England, who strongly recommended it for uterine cancer, others, however, declared it wholly inefficient. It is yellowish, greenish, or bluish-green, translucent, viscid, and thick like molasses. Its odor is rather pleasant and suggestive of fennel, and its taste less acrid than most of the turpentines. It gradually hardens by age, and is often adulterated with the cheaper turpentines.

Other Uses:
It is used as a source for turpentine, possibly the earliest known source. The turpentine of the terebinth is now called Chian, Scio, or Cyprian turpentine.
The fruits are used in Cyprus for baking of a specialty village bread. In Crete, where the plant is called tsikoudia, it is used to flavor the local variety of pomace brandy, also called tsikoudia. In the Northern Sporades the shoots are used as a vegetable (called tsitsírava).The plant is rich in tannin and resinous substances and was used for its aromatic and medicinal properties in classical Greece. A mild sweet scented gum can be produced from the bark, and galls often found on the plant are used for tanning leather. Recently an anti-inflammatory triterpene has been extracted from these galls. In Turkey, where it is known as menengiç or b?tt?m, a coffee-like beverage known as menengiç kahvesi is made from the roasted fruit and a soap is made from the oil. Terebinth resin was used as a wine presevative in the acient Near East.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistacia_terebinthus
http://luirig.altervista.org/schedenam/fnam.php?taxon=Pistacia+terebinthus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *