Pimpinella spinosa Gaertn.
Poterium spinosum L.
Sanguisorba spinosa (L.) Bertol.
Sarcopoterium spinosum (L.) Spach (previously identified as Poterium spinosum L.) is a spiny rosaceaeous dwarf shrub, 30–60 cm in height, with branches ending in dichotomous and leafless thorns. It appears over a wide range of climatic conditions from the semi-arid ecotone between the Mediterranean and Irano-Turanian vegetation zones to the sub-humid Mediterranean regions. The combination of the plant’s clonal and sexual reproduction contributes to its long term survival and dominance.
Mediterranean region - Italy to Greece; Tunisia, Libya, Turkey and the Levant, extending eastwards to Iran.
One of the most quoted medicinal indications is the use of its root bark as a popular cure against diabetes and for dissolving kidney stones. Traditionally it is used as a tranquilizer and a potion prepared from its leaves is said to dispel fears. Green leaves, salted and spiced and soaked in saliva are used to cure eye complaints, and also as a lucky charm.
Five pentacyclic triterpenoids were identified in Sarcopoterium spinosum, Tormentic acid is suggested to be the major constituent extract, and to mediate its anti-proliferative activity on several cancer cell lines
Extracts of the plant have been shown to be useful in the control of postprandial blood glucose, their effects being achieved mainly through inhibition of carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes (amylases and glucosidases). Due to the mechanism involved in controlling blood glucose, such plant extracts are expected to be also helpful in the management of obesity[
The whole bush is used as fuel, for making fences and sheep pens, for making brooms and as stuffing for mattresses.