Herbs of the Holyland by Nissim Krispil

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Sharp vartbemia
Common name:

Sharp vartbemia

Synonym name:

Hebrew name:

כתלה חריפה

Scientific name:

Chiliadenus iphionoides


Asteraceae, Compositae - מורכבים

Arabic name:

קטילה / סלימניה

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annual plant
0.4-0.6 m
Flowering color:
Flowering period:
Growing areas:
Sharp vartbemia mostly grows on rocks in many areas of Israel: in rocks as hard as Nari, dolomite, flint, hard sandstone and tendentious rocks. It also grows on roadsides and in channels of large rivers.


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Sharp vartbemia is an annual herb from  the Asteraceae family . It Grows on rocks and in sideways . The size of the plant leaves becomes more and more small from the base to its edge. The leaves are covered with simple hairs and their color is grayish green. the flowers are Yellow and the seeds has a pappus. The sharp vertbemia is very common in the folk medicine of the ethnic groups in Israel as a remedy for abdominal pain, severe poisoning, cough, wound infection, stomach worms, high fever, physical weakness, flu, diarrhea and heart disease.
For gastrointestinal infection, sever poisoning and abdominal pain :
Dip two branches of Sharp vartbemia in a liter of boiling water, set aside for 10 minutes. Strain and drink. 
Another way is to chew a leaf or two and then drink a glass of water at least 3 times per day.
 The Israeli Arabs use the figs of sharp vertbemia as a layer on which they dry figs and raisins because its quality to keep away pests and insects. 
The Arab name of the plant is 'katila', it refers to the bitternesse of the plant.The Hebrew name of the plant, 'ktela', was originate from its arab name, but it also refers to the kotel (the holy Wall in Jerusalem). The famous Jewish doctor from the sevens century - Assaf the doctor (asaf ha rofe), recommends the vertbemia as a remedy for kidney stones.