Sweet Sumach

Last Editorial Review: 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Aromatic Sumac, Fragrant Sumac, Polecatbush, Rhus aromatica, Rhus canadensis, Skunkbrush, Squawbush, Sumac Aromatique, Zumaque Aromático, Zumaque Fragante, Zumaque Oloroso.


Sweet sumach is a plant. The root bark is used to make medicine.

People take sweet sumach for kidney and bladder problems including irritable bladder, difficulty in controlling urination, and bed-wetting. They also take it to treat excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) from the uterus.

How does it work?

There isn't enough information available to understand how sweet sumach works.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Kidney and bladder problems.
  • Uterine bleeding.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of sweet sumach for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

There isn't enough information available to know if sweet sumach is safe. Sweet sumach belongs to the same family as poison ivy and can cause skin reactions.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of sweet sumach during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


The appropriate dose of sweet sumach depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for sweet sumach. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


Foster S, Duke JA. The Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants: Eastern and Central North America. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1990.