Sumac or sumach as we commonly call, is name of flowering plant of genus Rhus. Though it is closely related to poison ivy, the variety of sumac that we eat is non poisonous. The word sumac is derived from Old French word sumac meaning “red.” The fruits of Sumac herb form dense clusters of reddish drupes, which are also called as sumac bobs. The tangy crimson spice which is popularly used is nothing but these purple red fruits, dried and ground, often mixed with salt.
Ingredients: Sumac (smooth) Berry Powder (Rhus glabra) wildcrafted (not certified organic)
Sumac plant typically belongs to sub tropical and temperate region. It grows in Mediterranian countries, north Africa, South Europe, Afghanistan and Iran. It is a popular condiment used as souring agent. This reddish purple sumac spice power is very common in Middle Eastern and Arab cooking. Sumac adds a tangy lemony taste to food. It is used to marinate meat, garnish hummus, salad. In Iran, sumac is added to rice or kebab. Popular spice mixture za’atar contains sumac (Rhus coriaria). Mixed with freshly cut onion, it is served as appetizer.
Varieties used in North America are Smooth Sumac and Staghorn Sumac, which are used to make tangy cool drink known as sumac-ade or Indian lemonade or rhus juice. Sumacade is made by soaking sumac drupes in cool water, recovering extract and adding sweetner. Native Americans mixed Sumac leaves and drupes along with tobacco in their smoking mixtures. Apart from food uses of Sumac drupes, leaves of certain types of Sumac yield ‘Tanin’, which is used in Tanning of Leather. Sumac tannins are believed to make leather flexible and light.
Sumac fruits contain mainly water soluble extract containing Vitamin C and other vitamins, protein, fiber and Minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus.
Sumac has been used across globe for its medicinal properties and uses. Research has showed that health benefits of sumac are many, some being antifungal, anti microbial, anti oxidant, anti inflammatory. Extract of Sumac and various bio active compounds which has potential health benefits and other food and industrial uses. Research is still ongoing in understanding full potential and health benefits of sumac.
Sumac has been used as cure of various ailments in medieval medicine. Potential finding of sumac drupes in an 11th-century shipwreck off the coast of Rhodes, suggests its use as medicine, culinary spice or as a dye. Some of the health benefits of sumac are given below:
Sumac health benefits – Diuretic
Sumac berries have diuretic properties and are used in bowel complaints. In Middle East, sour Sumac juice is used to relieve stomach upset.
Anti inflammatory properties of Sumac
Sumac helps in reducing fever. Sumac works great for arthritis, skin inflammation, and respiratory problems such as bronchitis, colds, and flues.
Sumac benefits: Anti microbial
Sumac has anti microbial properties. A study published in International Journal of Food Microbiology suggested sumac’s antimicrobial activity that can combat Salmonella bacteria. Water mixed with sumac extract can be used to treating vegetables and fruits and get rid of bacteria on them.  . Anti microbial properties of sumac were attributed to presence of methyl gallic acid, gallic acid and other compounds in a study published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Antifungal Action of Sumac
A research published in German bioscience journal, Zeitschrift Fuer Naturforschung, showed that seeds of sumac are effective against Aspergillus fungus which causes lung infection and infection to other organs. 
Anti oxidant properties of Sumac
Sumac is full of Vitamin C and Omega 3 fatty acids thus helping to prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes. Sumac helps get rid of free radicals in body, mainly gastro intestinal tract. Results of lab studies on strong antioxidant properties of Rhus coriaria has been published in Journal, Phytotherapy Research and Journal of Medicinal Food.
Hypoglycemic properties of Rhus
Research further suggests that sumac is effective in case hyperglycemia, diabetes and obesity. Some research is also carried on its anti tumour properties.
To summarize, health benefits of sumac can be mainly attributed to its anti microbial and antioxidant properties.
Sumac is also known by other names like: Elm-leafed Sumac; gewürzsumach (German); kankrasing (Hindi); shumac; Sicilian sumac; somagh (Farsi); sommacco (Italian); soumaki (Greek); sumac (French); sumac, Somak (Turkish); sumaq (Hebrew); summaq (Arabic); zumaque (Spanish).