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'Natural Remedies of Arabia' Review - The Arabian Sun, Dec. 14, 2005

'Natural Remedies of Arabia' Review - The Arabian Sun, Dec. 14, 2005

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Published by Robert W. Lebling
This review of "Natural Remedies of Arabia" appeared in the weekly employee newspaper of Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia.
This review of "Natural Remedies of Arabia" appeared in the weekly employee newspaper of Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia.

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Published by: Robert W. Lebling on Sep 10, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1he Arabiah Suh x

December 14, 2005
Thus begins “Natural Rem-
edies of Arabia,” which delves
into the traditional uses of
medicinal herbs and other
healing substances in the Ara-
bian Peninsula.
The book serves as a guide
to the many herbs we see in
local shops and marketplaces,
whose traditional uses are of-
ten a mystery to expatriates
and are being forgotten by all
too many modern Saudi fami-
Expats and Saudis alike
will learn something about the
uses and benefits of a wealth
of herbs found in this region.
Some of the herbs are common
in other cultures, such as aloe
and arugula, but people of Ara-
bia have their own uses, re-
fined over thousands of years.
Many of the natural rem-
edies in this book, written by
Saudi Aramco employee Rob-
ert Lebling and former Saudi
Aramcon Donna Pepper-
dine, resulted from a detailed
questionnaire distributed
throughout the Arabian Penin-
sula in early 2002. The ques-
tionnaire, printed in Arabic
and English, asked families to
explain how they, as well as
their mothers and grand-
“Whether you are in Doha, Dubai, Manama,
Salalah, Jiddah or an obscure country village,
when you step into an herbal medicine shop or
wander through the traditional suqs (markets),
you will find vendors of herbs, spices, bark,
twigs, rocks and salt intended for culinary, cos-
metic or medicinal purposes.”
The herbal wisdom of Arabia
Two authors surveyed the medicinal use of herbs in the
peninsula and produced a book revealing ...
mothers, use various herbs,
spices and other substances
in natural healing. It also re-
quested specific remedies
and treatments for conditions
such as headache, colds and
coughs, sore throats, hair loss,
general fatigue, childbirth,
etc. Their responses helped
unlock many of the mysteries
of local herb shops and reveal
unique insights into the natu-
ral remedies of Arabia.
“As you gaze at the piles
of twisted bark or the varied
combinations of dried flow-
ers, you may wonder: What
are these products? Where do
they come from?” the authors
write. “This book will help
you to recognize the varied
offerings of the herb shops
and markets and even impress
local vendors as you request
a half kilo of habba sawda
(black seed) or a small bag of
rumman (dried pomegranate
The book includes a de-
scription and photograph of
each herb or spice, including
its medicinal properties, little-
known facts, its use in home
and kitchen, current research
results and authentic recipes.
According to Lebling and
Pepperdine, “These fasci-
nating items whisper tales of
the ancient trade routes, for
many still come to Arabia
from India, China, Indonesia,
Egypt, Syria and other exotic
locations and are distributed
across the Peninsula through
existing commercial networks.
Others are harvested locally,
some under harsh desert con-
ditions, and have their own
fascinating stories to tell.”
The remedies were gath-
ered from Saudi Arabia, Bah-
rain, Yemen, Oman and the
United Arab Emirates. They
represent past and present us-
age of natural substances used
in folk healing. Following
each remedy is the location of
the family sharing the remedy.
“Natural Remedies of Ara-
bia” is published by Stacey
International Publishers in
London (http://stacey-interna-
5pices are heaped in aIpine fashion aI a spice sIaII in one of ßahrain's suqs. Many IocaI spices are used in Arabian naIuraI remedies. (Photo by Donna Pepperdine)
(Photos by Stephen L. 8rundage)
Dried chamomiIe (Arabic. babunaj), a popuIar herbaI Iea IhroughouI Ihe vorId, is used in Arabia Io ease
sIress, reIieve sIomach upseIs and IreaI oIher maIadies. (Photo by Linda Lebling)
ßIack seed (Arabic. habba sawda)
PomegranaIe (Arabic. rumman)
MahaIeb cherry (Arabic. mahlab)
Story by William L. Siegel

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