Arar Tree

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  • Botanical: Tetraclinis articulata
  • Family: Cupressaceae
  • Hits: 1521
Arar Tree


Tetraclinis articulata



Known as

Tetraclinis, Araar, Thuja articulata, Sandarac, Sandarac Tree, Barbary Thuja, Sandarakbaum, Gliederzypresse, Berberthuja

Old Use


Parts Used

fruit, leaves, resin, wood


abdominal pain, bronchitis, back pain, bronchitis, burns, colds, coughs, diabetes, diarrhea, digestion, eye inflammation, fever, hair loss, skin rashes, oily hair, wounds

Hormone & Sexual Organs

uterine cramps

Infection & Inflammation

eye inflammation, fever, skin inflammation

Mind & Nerves


Respiratory System

bronchitis, catarrh, colds, cough, respiratory

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, diabetes, diarrhea, digestion, gastrointestinal, glucose lowering, indigestion, vomiting, emetic

Skin & Hair

hair loss, oily hair, wounds


antiseptic, antitoxic, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant


It is a small, slow-growing tree, to 6–15 m (rarely 20 m) tall and 0.5 m (rarely 1 m) trunk diameter, often with two or more trunks from the base. The foliage forms in open sprays with scale-like leaves 1–8 mm long and 1–1.5 mm broad; the leaves are arranged in opposite decussate pairs, with the successive pairs closely then distantly spaced, so forming apparent whorls of four. The cones are 10–15 mm long, green ripening brown in about 8 months from pollination, and have four thick scales arranged in two opposite pairs. The seeds are 5–7 mm long and 2 mm broad, with a 3–4 mm broad papery wing on each side

Properties & Uses

A drug made of a mixture of leaves and cones is combined with skim milk (L’ben) and administered as a emetic in intoxication cases and for treatment of severe diarrheas and gastric pains. Also used as an expectorant. Crushed leaves in poultices on both sides or on the top of the head against dizziness, headache, neck pain, insolation and fever of children. Leave’s powder is used externally on wounds or applied to the umbilical wound of the newborn baby for healing. The plant was reported to be used in the eastern part of Morocco for diabetes. Combined with henne (Lawsonia innermis) they are used to treat hair (applied to the hair about one hour before washing it). In fumigation the Araar is used to ease and fasten delivery in women, and against sorcery. The resin is used to fill up the tooth wholes. One peace of sandarac humidified with rose’s water is applied to the eyelid against inflammation of eyes. Tar produced from old wood for dermal diseases, especially in veterinary medicine.

In Arabian countries sandarac is still burned to treat colds. People also take the resin internally to treat roundworms and tapeworms. Sandarac is said to be used in India for hemorrhoids and diarrhea and the tincture for friction in cases of low spirits


The Antimicrobial activity of sandarac resins was reported. The study of the effects of sandarac varnishes containing chlorhexidine on the human dental plaque flora was investigated. The results suggested that sandarac varnishes containing high concentrations of chlorhexidine could be used successfully for long-term suppression of Streptococcus mutans in dental fissures. The induction of apoptosis in human melanoma, breast and ovarian cancer cell lines using an essential oil extract from Tetraclinis articulata was studied. All cell lines tested were inhibited in a dose-dependent fashion. Melanoma, breast and ovarian cancer cells gave IC50s of around 80 micrograms/ml whilst the IC50s on peripheral blood lymphocytes was almost double this value. It was concluded that the essential oil contains components that are effective at inducing apoptosis. The heartwood of this species was reported to contain several dermatologically active compounds including thymoquinone, carvacrol, and beta- and gamma-thujaplicins. Decoction of leaves is abortive and dangerous to use.


Local: The largest area of distribution is in Morocco (607 900 hectares). It is found in 6 zones: 1-Rif mountains; 2-Eastern Morocco; 3-Eastern middle Atlas; 4-Valleys of the central plateau and eastern Meseta; 5-Western Middle Atlas and High Atlas; 6- Anti Atlas.

Regional: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya. In the semi-arid to humid ecoclimatic zones of the North African countries, the major natural shrubland ecosystems are dominated, among others, by Tetraclinis articulata (0.94 million hectares). Global: Arar tree is endemic to the mountainous regions of North Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, with isolated populations occurring in Malta and near Cartagena, Spain.


Flavones (amentoflavones, cupressuflavone and kinokiflavone). Essential oil of stems and wood of Moroccan thuya were studied: Essential oil of stems; yield: 0.25-0.80%; contain bornyle acetate (30.5%), camphor (18.6%), borneol (10.2 %), limonene (8.6 %), terpene-1-ol-4 (5.8%) and thuyone (less than 1 %).

Essential oil of wood; yield: 2%; contain carvacrol (28%), p-methoxythymol (22.1%), thymohydroquinone (16.1%), cedrol (7.2%), terpene-1ol-4 (5.4%), alpha-pinene (3.8%), and alpha-cedrene (3.6%). This Essential oil may be an interesting source of carvacrol.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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