Just like in many cultures around the world, Omanis depend mostly on herbs, seeds, fruits and other natural ingredients as their home remedies solution. Until today, not many depend on conventional medicine, believing it is harmful over the long- term.
Find a similar ingredient used in your culture and give us feedback about what is it used for.
1. Honey: Oman is known for its natural bee honey. It is one of the most exported products, as well as one of the most- strongest selling product locally in the market. If you live in Muscat, you will be aware of the seasonal honey exhibition which is normally held at Muscat Grand Mall, otherwise, you can find them almost everywhere. Omani depends on honey to treat several illnesses, such as cold and flu, specifically - a sore throat. Now I know this is weird, but they actually- mix honey with turmeric powder and sometimes cloves powder with pieces of onions, this mixture is kept over-night. The next morning the honey is drained and used orally as a replacement of antibiotics. In addition, honey it-self is said to reduce hypertension, so a lot of elder people have it on daily basis to stabilize their blood pressure. External use of the honey is also applied in cases of injury or burn. You probably heard of applying butter but honey? yes honey, honey! Keep in mind applying butter to a burned wound is a myth.
2. Dried Thyme (Zaatar): Now this might amuse you because you probably find Dried thyme everywhere in Muscat supermarkets but hardly find fresh ones and you are wondering why? Well, probably because we don’t exactly cook it in our meals, but we somehow drink it, Yeah, like tea. Simply dip a dried thyme tea bag into boiling water and wait for about 30 seconds to change colour, and VWALA! Thyme Tea. Drink it and you shall be finished with gasses and digestive problems. Its recommended drinking after a festive meal, oily meals or before you go to bed. There are some other types of herbs used to treat digestive issues or gasses, such as Yansoon which is safe to use even on children, not sure how safe though, consult your doctor before introducing any type of herb to a child. But on the adults, you can also try ginger tea and green tea.
3. Fenugreek (HELBA): Arabs are famous for using fenugreek post-partum for its ability to simulate the production of milk. Works like magic! Now fenugreek is a seed that is dried and ground into powder and used as a seasoning for food too, mostly in soups. Fenugreek has been using by women for centuries, and up to today, it is prepared almost the same way. Since Fenugreek is sweet-nutty flavoured, it is added into milk with rice flour and some sugar to your liking, it is then thickened into porridge, and its drinkable up to 5 times a day, I mean, if its possible. The downside to this porridge, it's very high in calories. To the point, you would actually- start sweating after thinking about it! As well as its reputation for having a bad smell.
4. Luban (Frankincense): Luban is a type of Frankincense that grows in some regions in Oman such as Dhofar, regardless of its crucial weather. Not only it is used frankincense to improve the scent of the house or clothes, it has so many other uses. History writes about the importance of exporting Luban to Egypt due to the fact that it was used to embalm the dead bodies. For centuries it was also used on flamed charcoal to smoke the houses with, believing it was getting rid of insects and unwanted germs that caused diseases. My mom, use to soak the frankincense in water overnight, then drink it the next morning. “ It helps with a stomach ulcer, bad immunity, joints pain and as well as memory loss” she explains, and science confirms.
5. Karkade (Hibiscus): It is actually an edible flower in bright red and sour. I have realized that in many cultures drink it as tea, but in Oman, you would normally find Karkade juice in the menu. The flower is dried and sold in supermarkets in bags ready to be used, you do boil it, but then cool it and blend it with sugar or sweetener. The health benefits of hibiscus tea include relief from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as digestive, immune system, and inflammatory problems. It helps to cure liver disease and reduces the risk of cancer. It can also speed up the metabolism and help in healthy, gradual weight loss.
6. Cloves: This spice is still used as the main ingredient in international toothpastes. Because, study shows the effectiveness in curing gum diseases, stop bleeding, and significantly reduces a toothache. A gentle rub of cold butter with cloves powder directly into the gums, leave on for 5-10 mins.
7. Sea salt: Nop not just for seasoning. The list is endless for this filo. Same reason by ocean dips is healthier than pools. Sea salt is beneficial because it contains an array of minerals that include potassium, which helps to balance skin moisture; bromides, which reduce muscle pain and stiffness; and sodium, which improves the circulation of lymphatic fluid, which Is also why post-partum after normal delivery take salt baths every day for about 2 months to sterilize the wound and to promote healing.
8. Garlic Rub: I am sure you didn’t see this coming. After our children get vaccinated, we normally rub a garlic clove on the area of vaccine without applying pressure. Surprisingly, it helps with fever, muscle pain also reduces swelling.
9. Dates: Low sugar levels? Just have 3-5 dates a day and you will be fine! This is the perfect balance of glucose and iron in your body, or you can have it in a shake, Blend it with peeled almond and milk with a drop of vanilla. If you like it warm, boil it after blending.
10. Cinnamon tea: This tea recipe is a lifesaver for women! Monasterial cycle cramps can really get in the way of our busy day, even though I hate to admit, it also affects a women’s performance. Nothing goes right that day! Boil water with cinnamon sticks in it for about 5 mins. Drink the tea with it turns brown, and start taking it once the pain starts and before the monesterial cycle begins.
11. Omani Bun Coffee: Yep! Coffee! believe it or not and I shall confirm it myself, I love having coffee when my stomach is disturbed. It’s the fastest relief than medication. Otherwise, One of the major benefits of Arabic coffee is that it contains antioxidants like Vitamin E which helps reduce the risk of infections and diseases.
12. Saffron: This spice is imported from Iran, the best ones! If your rice is yellow and smells good, saffron did it! It is also used to treat insomnia, cancer, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), intestinal gas - flatulence, depression, Alzheimer's disease, fright, shock, spitting up blood (hemoptysis), pain, heartburn, and dry skin. Women use saffron for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) by boiling it with milk.