vesicarius L. Rumex vesicarius L. Rumex roseus Desf. Rumex: from the Latin rumex, with spear-like leaves; vesicarius: bladder-like Arabic: houmeidh, hanbeit Berber: brissemou, tasemumt Targui: ténasmimt English: sorrel, bladder-dock French: oseille sauvage, oseille vésiculeuse

Compiled by Dr. Salima Benhouhou The best way to conserve this annual is to collect the seeds and sow them in nurseries. So far no data Morphological description has been reported regarding its propagation and An annual herb, with ramified stems and branching conservation. from the base, on average 40-50 cm. but reaching 80 cm. The plant is entirely glabrous and presents Part used at the nodes a membranous sheet. The leaves are The whole plant, particularly the leaves; the seeds. big, slightly fleshy and lanceolate/spear-shaped, These are collected in the spring and prepared fresh alternate, with a long petiole. or as a powder for internal use. The flowers are grouped in dense, elongated inflo- rescences; the perianth has 6 membranous tepals. Constituents The flowers are grouped in twos and borne on a Flavonoids, C-glycosides: vitexin, isovitexin, orientin tiny red peduncle. When the fruit is ripe, the peri- and iso-orientin and anthraquinones: emdin and anth becomes winged and purplish-red veined. chrysophanol, rumicine, lapathine, oxalic acid, It flowers in spring, from March to April, in the tannins, mucilage, mineral salts and vitamin C. northern Algerian Sahara, and any time after rain in the central Algerian Sahara. Pharmacological action and toxicity Geographical distribution Research has yet to be done to clarify the plant’s phar- Local: Very common in the Algerian Sahara. macological action. A search on its toxicity appears to Regional: North . be negative. When eaten in excess by animals, it Global:It is common throughout the Sahara. causes minor digestive troubles due to the oxalic acid that can lock up other nutrients in the food, especially Ecology calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The plant lives in desert conditions with an average 100 mm. rainfall a year and favours sandy-loamy Pharmacopeias soils. It usually occurs on non-saline wadi beds, on Not relevant for this species. gravelly-sandy soils. It is also found in djebels and grows on sandy patches between rocks benefiting Pharmaceutical products from water runoff. Not relevant for this species

Status Traditional medicine and local According to the IUCN criteria this Saharo-sindian knowledge species falls into the "C" category. Although no prob- It is used as an antiscorbutic, appetiser, astringent, lems are reported for this species, human collection carminative, laxative, stomachic and tonic, and for near settlement may be a threat in the long term. jaundice.

A Guide to Medicinal in North Africa 239 The leaves are eaten fresh and much appreciated Batanouny, K.H., 1999. Wild Medicinal Plants in for their acid taste; it can be added to salad. The Egypt. The Palm Press. Cairo. 207 p. plant is considered as excellent pasture to fatten up Bellakhdar, J., 1997. La pharmacopée marocaine dromedaries and goats. traditionnelle. Médecine arabe ancienne et In Marrakech, the powdered seeds are used to treat savoirs populaires. IBIS Press. 764 p. liver diseases and also as a laxative. In Tissint the Benchelah, A.C., Bouziane, H., Maka, M. & Ouahes, fresh leaves are used for jaundice, liver problems, C., 2000. Fleurs du Sahara. Voyage et ethnobo- and constipation. In general, the consumption of tanique avec les touaregs du Tassili. Ed.Ibis raw leaves is known to be tonic. Press, Paris. 255 p. In Egypt, the plant is known to be a laxative, stom- Benhouhou, S.S. & Saadoun, N., 1986. Contribution achic, tonic and analgesic. à l'étude de la flore de la région de Béni- Abbès. Undergraduate thesis. University of References Algiers. 241 p. Boulos, L., 1983. Medicinal Plants of North Africa. Relevant to the plant and its uses Reference Publication Algonac, Michigan. 286 p. Al-Easa, H.S., Rizk A.M. & Hussiney, H.A., 1995. Ozenda, P., 2004. Flore et végétation du Sahara. Ed. Phytochemical Investigation of Rumex CNRS, Paris. 662 p. Vesicarius. International Jour. Of Chem. Vol.6 Quézel, P. & Santa, S., 1962-1963. Nouvelle Flore (2). pp. 21 -25. de l'Algérie et des régions désertiques méridio- Ahmad, R.; Negi, K.; Ansari, A.A., 2004. nales. CNRS, Paris, 2 vol. 1170 p. Pharmacognostical studies on seeds of Rumex Sitouh, M., 1989. Les plantes utiles du Sahara. Ann. vesicarius Linn. (Hummaz) and its market sam- Inst. Nat. Agro. El Harrach, Alger, vol. 13, n°2. ple. National Seminar on New Millennium pp. 583-658. Strategies for Quality, Safety & GMPs of Herbal Trabut, L., 1935. Répertoires des noms indigènes Drugs/Products, NBRI, Lucknow. 110 p. des plantes spontanées, cultivées et utilisées dans le Nord de l'Afrique. Collection du General references Centenaire de l'Algérie, Alger. 355 p. Baba Aissa, F., 1999. Encyclopédie des plantes uti- les. Flore d'Algérie et du Maghreb. Edition Edas. 368 p.

240 A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa