Fahad Inc. Dishes

Spices for Health

    Thumm ~ Garlic: Gives Good Health

    Athletes in ancient times chewed a clove of garlic before the start of Olympic games. It is a natural antiseptic and its essence kills germs. A crust of bread rubbed with garlic according to many Arabs will eleminate the common pinworm from young children. Furthermore, it is said to combat diabetes and be helpful in cases of high blood pressure.

    Sa-nuwd ~ Green Aniseed: Helps the Digestion

    Green aniseed was widely used in ancient Chinese medicine; it counteracts the problem of indigestion, drowsiness, migraine and dizziness.
    A dish flavoured with aniseed will always be lighter than the same dish without. This is because the essence, anethole, increases the secretions of the digestive organs.
    Green aniseed also helps sustain the heart and stimulates the nerve and brain cells - in short it augments the intelligence.

    Jer-fah ~ Cinnamon: Improves the Circulation

    This spice without which pastillas would not be pastillas, is considered an almost universal remedy by many Asians.
    Indeed, cinnamon improves the circulation, helps digestion, alleviates fatigue and gives some protection against infectious diseases (The proof of this is notably the case of singalese cinnamon which in large doses can distroy the eberth bacillos responsible for typhoid fever). Finally, it is also recognised as a mild aphrodisiac.

    Hal ~ Cardamom: Aids Indigestion

    Cardamom is the fruit of the southeast Asian tree which bears the complicated name of 'electarria cardamom much'. It is well known to English physiotherapist who use it in a powdered form to aid digestion. Its medicinal qualities are cineol, both of which stimulate the digestive system.

    Lee-mon ~ Lemon: Calms Stomach Burn

    Lemons are well known for their citric acid content. But they can also help relieve stomach burn and there is a scientific explanation for this. Stomach burn is the result of excessive secretions of gastric juices or, to be more specific, of hydrochloric acid. The stomach is the simple organ which can easily mistake one acid for another. When it is presented with the citric acid of the lemon, it takes this for hydrochloric acid and stops its own secretions. As citric acid is for less harsh, the pains stop too.
    Both the peel and the juice of the lemon are remarkable antidotes for poison, they kill germs and destroy toxins. This is the reason why, in many countries, it is the custom to squeeze lemon juice over oysters and other shellfish.

    Jil-ja-lan ~ Coriander: Eliminates Toxins

    In some hot countries, raw meat is preserved by rubbing with mixture of coriander seeds, salt and black pepper.
    There is a reason for this custom: coriander seeds contain as essence, coriandrol, which prevents the accumulation of toxins and especially those which proliferate on the surface of meat and cause it to rot. This is not the only virtue of coriander. It also helps the digestion and is resognised as a boon to women who suffer pains, tension and migraine during menstruation.

    Ka-moun ~ Cumin: The Stomach's Friend

    Cumin is the first cousin of aniseed and has an essence which stimulates the digestion and counteracts the fermentation of foodstuffs, particularly starchy foods - cakes flavoured with cumin are always easily digested.

    Curcum ~ Turmeric: Beneficial to the Gall Bladder

    This plant is native to India and is used in the preparation of curry powder, known throughout Asia for its therapeutic qualities. Indian doctors recommend it in particular to clean out blocked gall bladders.
    Not only does it clear bile, it can also dissolve very small gall stones. Curcuma is also considered a diuretic and in this way can give a relief to rheumatism sufferers.

    Hal-ba ~ Fenugreek: Gives Strength

    Fenugreek was recommended for convalescents in classical times by Cato and has been used for centuries in the East by women who wanted to put on weight. Its seeds have been studied by many scholars throughout the centuries and today, thanks to the physicist Mignot, we know that they not only contain a rich oil with properties similar to those of cod liver oil, but also a fermenting agent which helps with the assimilation of sugars.
    It also contains important quantities of phosphorous. The association of these three elements makes it a powerful tonic: fenugreek seeds revive the appetite restore lost weight and subsequently joie de vivre.

    Zan-ja-beel ~ Ginger: Therapeutic Qualities

    The ginger root owes its principal therapeutic qualities to its essence which also gived it a bitter, peppery taste.
    Ginger oil is a strong stimulant for the whole body. Ginger also stimulates secretions of the saliva glands thus helping digestion.

    Mis-mar ~ Cloves: Kills Germs

    This subtle spice from the South Sea islands contains a powerful disinfectant, eugenol. It was at the beginning of the century that an American surgeon Professor Briggs, who later became famous, discovered that the clove was one of the most potent of natural antiseptics.
    He not only recommended that his assistants disinfect their hands with the essence of cloves, he also used it to dress wounds.
    When used freely in cooking, the food will be all the more healthy and tastier. Cloves are also effective pain killers. If you have toothache, insert a piece of clove in the hole in the tooth for an almost instant pain reliever.

    Jowit-iteeb ~ Nutmeg: Checks Drowsiness After Meals

    Nutmeg and its outer skin known as mace, have the same properties. Both certain a slightly bitter essence which helps with the digestion of heavy meals, particularly starches. The skin, like the nut itself, contains a natural hormone related to folliculin which helps regulate monthly periods. Nutmeg and mace both sweeten the breath.

    El-bussell ~ Onion: A Universal Remedy

    Onion is said to prolong life and indeed the many centenarians in Bulgaria attribute long life to onion and yoghurt. This however has not been proven, but what is certain is that the onions contain glucoquinione which is related to insulin. Both reduce the sugar content of the blood which makes them particularly good for diabetics.
    It is also rich in sulphur and so purifies the blood, helping indirectly to reduce acne. Rich in iodine, it helps the system to absorb calories while its phospherous content strengthens nerve cells thus helping the blood to produce red corpuscles, counteracting anaemia. The humble onion also contains vitamins A, B and C, calcium and potassium. They eliminate fatigue, protect against colds and flue, eliminate intestinal parasites and relieve those suffering from gout and rheumatism.

    Mastic ~ Gum: Calms Coughs

    Arabic gum is the extract of the acacia tree. It is used in the preparation of many cough medicines and calms the irritation of the mucous membranes in the throat. It may to some extent help cure a cold or 'tickly' throat more quickly.

    Na-na ~ Mint: Hides Fatigue

    There are over 10 spices of mint in the world and all have the same properties which stem from their essence, menthol, although the flavour may differ with each.
    Mint's primary value is its ability to restore energy to tired organs. Whether you have been ill or are involved in exhausting work, a mint drink will immediately restore a little of your lost energy. Mint also sustains both the heart and the nervous system and is a faithful ally of the digestive system.
    It helps alleviate stomach cramps, wind and nausea and helps to release intestinal gases and stimulates the liver.
    Mint is also an antiseptic, hence it purifies all the food stuffs in which it is used.

    Za-toon ~ Olives: Helps The Gall Bladder

    Both green and black olives reduce bile and experiments carried out in hospitals have shown that they may even help dissolve gravel and small gall stones. Contaning mineral counteract colitis and are also said to stimulate lazy intestines.

    Mye-al-zahr ~ Orange Flower Water: See Life Through Rose-Coloured Spectacles

    This is the best and healthiest of all transquilisers. Rose water helps to banich anxiety and counteract all its related symptoms. It calms hearts easily disturbed by the slightest of emotions and induces sleep for insomniacs.
    The most effective orange water is that made from flowers of bitter oranges, the only ones cultivated natrally. Orange trees are sometimes sprayed with insecticides which impregnates the flowers and turnes them into a slow but sure poison.

    Bag-doonas ~ Parsley: Stimulates Growth In Children

    This humble little plant is in reality a potent tonic. Twenty grams of parsley a day (the equivalent of a tablespoon) provides the organism with 48mg of vitamin C, more than half the daily dose required to combat infectious diseases.
    The same spoonful will also give 12mp of vitamin A, the vitamin of youth, which is indispensible to our lives. Parsley assists development and stimulates growth in children. Its properties do not end there: 20gm of parsley offers 19mg of iron and it contains a normal hormone related to folliculin which eases menstrual pains and helps regulate periods. It also reduces rheumatism and eases the pain caused by kidney stones.

    Fil-fil har ~ Hot Pepper: Helps Digestion

    Like all hot spices, hot pepper or harissa is an instant stimulant of the digestive glands. A couscous served with sharp souce is more readily digested than a couscous bathed in an insipid one. However, hot pepper in large quantities can irritate the mucous membranes ~ avoid excessive amounts or risk stomach burn.

    Fil-fil aswad ~ Black Pepper: Helps Digestion

    Black Pepper has exactly the same virtues as hot pepper, it helps digestion but has the disadvantage of congesting the blood vessels. Those suffering from varicose veins or haemorrhoids should avoid its use or expect painful results.

    Ward ~ Rose Petals: For Those In Poor Health

    History relates that the famous mediaeval Arab doctor, Avicenna, cured the Viceroy of Portugal's wife of tuberculosis with the help of rose petals.
    Was it really tuberculosis or simply extreme fatigue? Diagnosis in the year 1000AD was not an precise as it is today. Regardless, the rose, especially the red variety (the deeper the colour the better), contains tanin which is a natural antibiotic.
    The properties make it a first choice for all convalescents who need to recoup strength for them to have protection against germs.

    Sim-sim ~ Sesame: Gives A Flat Stomach

    Sesame contains a essence which counteracts the fermentation of foodstuffs in the stomach and intestines. It helps reduce wind, distended stomachs and flights against drowsiness.

    Zaffron ~ Saffron: Helps Food Become More Digestible

    With its penetrating aroma, saffron stimulates the sliva glands and it is said to help digestion, particularly of starches.

    Za-tar ~ Thyme: Helps Circulation

    If ever there was a plant with 100 virtues, it is thyme. It acts as a tonic which counteracts circulation deficiencies and their relevants problems such as vertigo, migraine, humming in the ear and swollen limbs. It also combats weaknesses in the nervous system and helps restore energy to the listless. Finally, it stimulates the digestion.
    Thyme is also recognised as one of the best germicides, thanks to its essence, thymol which was recognised as a natural antibiotic in the past. When there was an epidemic, people consumed thyme in large quantities. From boils to typhoid fever, I can't think of any single bacteria infection which cannot be relieved by it, and it is not just the thymol which offers such incredible properties. Indeed, an Italian doctor, Dr. Nosi, has recently discovered that thyme possesses an unusual and individual property - it favours the production of white blood corpuscles. When the organisms are threatened by bacteria, it is the white corpuscles which mobilise to destroy and devour them.

    From the book "The Complete United Arab Emirates Cookbook"
    by Celia Ann Brock- Al Ansari
    Copyright © 1994 by Celia Ann Brock-Al Ansari

    Copyright © 1997 by Fahad Inc.
    Maintained by: Fahad Al Mahmood