The desert plant, Calortopis procera, known also as the apple of Sodom, is an important but less known medicinal plant. This plant has many ethnic medicinal uses especially for skin-related symptoms in the countries of its origin: India, Africa, Saudi, Yemen, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Sudan, Iran, and Afghanistan. The plant is also known and used in traditional medicine in South and tropical America, due to its introduction and cultivation in that part of the world. Skin problems treated by the plant include: wounds, scabies, sores, external infections, swellings, rheumatic pains, leprosy, toothaches, eczema and even the treatment of paralyzed limbs. Other traditional uses include: asthma, cough, diarrhea, malaria, cancer, dysentery jaundice and many more. An insight into the scientific activity of C. procera derived extracts and compounds suggest that these extracts have antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities. Moreover, a compound with high activity against cancer cell was developed from cardenolides present in C. procera root bark, presenting a significant prospect in the use of this plant for modern medicine. The purpose of this communication is to review the full extent of the ethnobotanical uses of the apple of Sodom, and to shed a light on this high-potential lesser-known desert medicinal plant.
An ethnobotanical survey was conducted in Israel on native plants that are known to be medicinal plants. These plants have been used by different ethnic groups practicing traditional medicine. In this work the emphasis is on the uses and traditions involving the plant Sarcopoterium spinosum, which is called in Hebrew "sira kotzanit". The plant is very popular among healers and the roots are used for the treatment of diabetes (major medicinal use!), toothaches, digestive problems, inflammation, and pain. The findings are reviewed and compared with the current literature.