ALAINN: “BEAUTIFUL, FINE, LOVELY”. (IRISH) OLD IRISH ÁLAIND‎

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Terebinth (Pistacia terebinthus)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Terebinth
Pistacia terebinthus
Pistaciaceae

Yields the resin ‘Cyprus turpentine’, which is obtained from incisions made in the bark (not the trunk) of the tree[1, 2, 11, 46, 117, 200]. The incisions are made from mid summer to mid autumn[238]. It is mainly used medicinally in the treatment of cancer[100] and also as a chewing gum.

The plant can be used as a rootstock for the pistachio nut, P. vera[11].

A red dye is obtained from galls that are formed on the leaves by aphis[100].

The plant is a source of tannin[46].

  • Medicinal Use

    The resin obtained from this tree (see below for more details) is antiseptic, antispasmodic, cytostatic, expectorant and vulnerary[100, 238]. It is taken internally in the treatment of chronic bronchial infections, streptococcal, urinary and renal infections, haemorrhage, gallstones, tapeworm and rheumatism[238]. Externally, it is used to treat arthritis, gout, sciatica, scabies and lice[238]. It has also been used in the treatment of cancer[100].

  • Edible Use

    Seed – raw or cooked[177]. Sweetish[183]. It is sweeter and oilier than an almond[2].

    An edible oil is obtained from the seed[117, 183].

    The immature fruits, including the stems, are preserved in vinegar and salt. Known as ‘atsjaar’, they are used as a relish to accompany wines served during meals[183]. The fruit is about 7mm long and 6 mm wide, it contains a single seed[200].

    Young leaves – cooked and used as a vegetable[177, 183].

    A resin from the trunk is used as a vegetable and as a chewing gum[177, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Pre-soak the seed for 16 hours in alkalized water[78], or for 3 – 4 days in warm water[1], and sow late winter in a cold frame or greenhouse[78, 113]. Two months cold stratification may speed up germination, so it might be better to sow the seed in early winter[113]. The germination is variable and can be slow. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in early summer and consider giving some protection from winter cold for their first year or two outdoors[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood from juvenile trees, July in a frame[113]. Layering.
Requires a deep well-drained light soil[200], preferring a hot dry position in full sun[166]. It grows best in a sandy to stony alkaline soil[238]. This species is hardy in most of Britain but it is slow growing[1, 200]. This contradicts the report, also in [200], that this plant is only hardy to zone 9 and is therefore intolerant of anything other than the lightest frosts. Any pruning that needs to be done is best carried out in the spring[238]. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Europe – Mediterranean.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.