03 April 2013

Red Thumb – Dhahran Hills

The Red Thumb Cynomorium coccineum is a parasitic perennial herb that can grow up to 30 centimetres high and is parasitic on the roots of desert shrubs. They grow on sandy, saline, ground with this plant photographed in Dhahran camp near the percolation pond. Desert Thumb is used in many herbal medicines around the world. Due to its' dark Red colour it was also thought to be able to cure aneamia and other blood-related diseases and dried spikes were carried by the Crusaders in order to treat wounds with recent research into the plants' actual medicinal properties seems to provisionally confirm several of the traditional uses. Extracts of the herb appear to inhibit HIV, improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.