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(Tamarisk family)


• Medicinal / Folk-medicinal aspects: The traditional use of several species, or galls found growing on them, as topically-applied remedies for various skin complaints and as hair tonics has been documented in the ethnobotanical literature. Tamarix manna, a saccharine exudate from Tamarix L. species has been applied to wounds as a vulnerary. •
• Adverse effects: •
• Veterinary aspects: •

According to Mabberley (2017), this small family of trees and shrubs, mostly being halophytes, xerophytes, or rheophytes, comprises 88 species in 5 genera found mainly in Central Asia and from the Mediterranean region into Africa. Plants of the World Online [accessed May 2021] recognises just 4 genera, with Tamarix L. accounting for 73 species, Reaumuria L. comprising 25 species, and Myricaria Desv. comprising 13 species. Myrtama Ovcz. & Kinzik. is monotypic.

Several species including Tamarix chinensis Lour. (syn. Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb.), Tamarix gallica L., Tamarix parviflora DC., and Tamarix tetrandra Pallas ex M.Bieb. are grown in gardens as ornamentals, often being planted as hedges or windbreaks. Myricaria germanica Desv. (syn. Tamarix germanica L.), the false or German tamarisk, is also grown (Hunt 1968/70).

Myrtama elegans Ovcz. & Kinzik.
[syns Myricaria elegans Royle, Tamaricaria elegans Qaiser & Ali]

[Information available but not yet included in database]

Reaumuria alternifolia Britten
[syns Hypericum alternifolium Labill., Reaumuria cistoides Adam, Reaumuria hypericoides Willd., Reaumuria reflexa Lipsky]

[Information available but not yet included in database]

Tamarix africana Poir.
[syns Tamarix hispanica Boiss., Tamarix mauritii Sennen, Tamarix tingitana Pau, etc.]
African Tamarisk

Tuttolomondo et al. (2014) noted that a cataplasm prepared from the leaves and branches of the plant is used by local people in the Monti Sicani Regional Park in Sicily as an anti-inflammatory for the skin in the treatment of wounds.

Tamarix aphylla H.Karst.
[syns Tamarix articulata Vahl, Tamarix orientalis Forssk., Thuja aphylla L.]
Athel Pine, Athel Tamarisk, Salt Cedar

[Information available but not yet included in database]

Tamarix chinensis Lour.
[syns Tamarix gallica var. chinensis Ehrenb., Tamarix juniperina Bunge, Tamarix pentandra Pallas, Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb.]
Chinese Saltcedar, Chinese Tamarisk, Five-Stamen Tamarisk

The crude drug known as Cacumen Tamaricis, otherwise known as Tamarisk Tops, cheng liu (檉柳), or xi he liu (西河柳), is derived from the leafy tips of the young branches of this plant. In traditional Chinese medicine, a decoction is used as a topical application in measles and for skin allergies (Perry & Metzger 1980).

Tamarix manna is a sweet powdery substance produced on the twigs of this and other species when punctured by sap-sucking insects. A better-known source of tamarix manna is Tamarix nilotica Bunge (syns Tamarix gallica var. nilotica Ehrenb., Tamarix mannifera Ehrenb.), the manna tamarisk, a species found in Africa and the Middle East. Remington et al. (1918) discussed this and numerous other botanical sources of mannas.

[Further information available but not yet included in database]

Tamarix gallica L.
[syns Tamarix anglica Webb, Tamarix brachylepis Sennen, Tamarix algeriensis hort., Tamarix matritensis Pau & Villar]
French Tamarisk, Tamarisk, Salt Cedar, Tamaris de France

McCord (1962) noted the commercial availability of an oleoresin extract of this species for patch testing. There appear to be no reports of dermatitis from members of this genus.

Tamarix indica Willd.
[syns Tamarix bengalensis Baum, Tamarix gallica Wight & Arn., Tamarix gallica var. indica Ehrenb.]
Indian Tamarisk, Salt Cedar

Nadkarni (1976), in a treatise on Indian materia medica, noted that a strong infusion prepared from the galls found on Tamarix gallica [probably var. indica] is used as a local application to foul sloughing ulcers and buboes; and that the powdered galls, which are rich in tannin, form an efficacious ointment in ulcerating piles and anal fissures.


  • Hunt P (Ed.) (1968/70) The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Gardening. London: Marshall Cavendish [WorldCat]
  • Mabberley DJ (2017) Mabberley's Plant-Book. A portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses, 4th edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [doi] [WorldCat] [url]
  • McCord CP (1962) The occupational toxicity of cultivated flowers. Industrial Medicine and Surgery 31(8): 365-368
  • Nadkarni AK (1976) Dr. K. M. Nadkarni's Indian Materia Medica. With ayurvedic, unani-tibbi, siddha, allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic & home remedies, appendices & indexes, Revised enlarged and reprinted 3rd edn, Vols 1 & 2. Bombay: Popular Prakashan [WorldCat] [url]
  • Perry LM, Metzger J (1980) Medicinal Plants of East and Southeast Asia: Attributed Properties and Uses. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press [WorldCat] [doi] [url] [url-2]
  • Remington JP, Wood HC, Sadtler SP, LaWall CH, Kraemer H, Anderson JF (Eds) (1918) The Dispensatory of the United States of America. 20th edn. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]
  • Tuttolomondo T, Licata M, Leto C, Savo V, Bonsangue G, Letizia Gargano M, Venturella G, La Bella S (2014) Ethnobotanical investigation on wild medicinal plants in the Monti Sicani Regional Park (Sicily, Italy). Journal of Ethnopharmacology 153(3): 568-586 [doi] [url] [pmid]
  • [ + 3 further references not yet included in database]

Richard J. Schmidt

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