Teucrium polium (L.) Tausch


Synonyms: Neġda, neftah

Common names: Cat thyme, hulwort, mountain germander (English); polium, pouliot de montagne, germandée tomenteuse (French); Poleigamander, Berggamander (German); polio, camendrio di montagna, timo bianco, polio primo (Italian); d‘aja, j‘ada (Arabic), other vernacular names: bu‘aytaran, hashīshat tukāryān, z‘atar ul-ġazāl, bizīlī el-qūt, j‘adī murr.



Chamaephyte, 20-40 cm, tomentose-canescent. Stems with branches erect, simple, elongate, each ending in a paniculate or corymbose inflorescence. Leaves 1-3 cm, sessile, oblong. Flower white or pale cream-coloured.




Arid hills and deserts.


Mainly Mediterranean and West Irano-Turanian.


In the badia: Al-Khatīb: ulcers (together with Portulaca oleracea); ribs (subname butrān, together with semen bakarī, i.e. cow semen).

Teucrium polium L.
Jebel Belás, spring 2000

Field data: kidneys, cough, lungs, chest pains, stomach, diabetes.

In literature: depurative, liver troubles, gastro-intestinal diseases, fevers, cold, diarrhoea (decoction), wounds (external use); var. luteum: tuberculosis; var. album: babies’ colic (mild infusion), stimulant, diaphoretic, febrifuge, purifying the blood (in this last case, beside the decoction, pounded leaves are applied to external manifestations such as boils and rashes); emmenagogue, rheumatic fever, gravel, cystitis (roots and seeds); sedative; colic, diabetes, stomach pain, fever. The consumption of this plant is widespread and popular among Bedouins.

Its use as forage has not been scientifically investigated.

Chemical Data

Di-terpenoids: picropelin, teucrin (this component is responsible for the documented cases of chronic hepatitis, due to an abuse of this plant.).


Bedevian, A. K. 1936. Illustrated Polyglottic Dictionary of Plant names. Cairo, Argus D Papazian Presses.

Ozenda, P. 1991. Flore et végétation du Sahara. Paris, Ed. du CNRS.


Edited by: F. Guiso Gallisai
Information taken from: Sincich, F. 2002. Bedouin Traditional Medicine in the Syrian Steppe. Rome, FAO. 114-115.

All pictures and drawings belong to the author.


The presentation of material in this profile do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and has been taken from interviews with the traditional Bedouin doctor, Al-Khatīb and from data collected directly from Bedouins informants.