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Sumac is a bright red, sour, pungent, bitter, spice made from the dried sumac berries, popular in the Mediterranean regions and an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Sumac spice is sprinkled over salads and warm savory dishes. Sumac has been used as an ornamental plant, as a tanning agent, and its fragrance is used in perfumes, cosmetics as well as detergents. Much of the work on sumac's bioactive properties, health benefits and therapeutic potential are focussed on Rhus coriaria (Syrian sumac/Tanner's sumac) and Rhus typhina/Rhus hirta (Chinese/Staghorn sumac). Research, primarily from the Middle East, for Syrian sumac/Tanner's sumac, and also from China and North America for Chinese/Staghorn sumac, provides evidence of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, glucose lowering, anti-diabetic, lipid lowering, cardioprotective, chemopreventive/anti-cancer, anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties. Much of this evidence comes from in vitro and animal studies. However, there are a small number of human studies which provide support for its health benefits and/or therapeutic potential in the prevention and/or management of type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia and the management of obesity/weight management.

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