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   Feb 13

Heritage Village showcases herbal remedies

The craftsman Mohammed Awadh al Falahi sits in his corner in the Al Amerat Park, waiting for the audience to come and enquire about the materials spread out before him. The materials, which are the source of his living, are his career, income and the source of his and his family’s life and happiness.

Al Falahi lives in Seeq in Al Jabal Al Akhdhar and thanks to the abundance of flowers and roses that grow there he has perfected the art of extraction and instillation of rosewater from roses and other plants, an art that he has been practising since he was 12 years old.

He also does instillation of herbs’ for medical purposes, some of which are used for food and drinks like coffee and tea.

There are many plants brought from deserts and mountains that can be distilled in order to obtain their extract like Nepeta plant (Al jaada in Arabic), which is an ideal medicine for those suffering of cholesterol, blood pressure and dizziness. There is also the distillation of a very famous plant grown in Oman, locally known as zamota, which is used for stomach pains, as well as the Al khadaf which is used for the treatment of cold and fever, in addition to olive oil and cloves.

One of the plants that are brought from the farms is Yass which is used for the cure of diarrhoea in children. Yaas has a bitter taste and apart from treating diabetics and diarrhoea it is also recommended for bleeding, tumours, inflamed pimples and sores. In Oman it is largely used for hair treatments. It is applied on wet hair and left for days before washing it off. This hair treatment is known for curing brittle hair and giving strength and body to the hair, apart from stopping hair fall.

The roses are farmed abundantly in Seeq, Al Shiraija and Al Ayn in Al Jabal Al Akhdhar. The rosewater is often used in Omani halwa, and is considered a remedy for headache and heart diseases.

“The device used in the instillation of rosewater is made of copper, and it takes eight hours to distillate 2 kg of roses”, Al Falahi said.

Al Falahi explained: “The roses are put in a cloth, a plastic container or even a material made of palm tree branches. The rose container is later put in a clay oven, known locally as Al Dehaijan. A fire is set under the container which is covered with a copper lid. The roses are left to heat for 40 minutes until the impurities precipitate and the rose water extract comes out. The resulting extract is kept for three months in a clay container before it is ready to be distributed in small bottles”.

A natural toner and staple in Middle Eastern beauty traditions, rosewater naturally preserves the acid mantle of the skin, leaving it slightly acidic, contracted, toned, clean and bacteria free, leaving your skin feeling nourished.

In another corner in the Heritage Village you find Ghareeb al Rabaani from Bahla, who is exhibiting an old sugar cane machine which is mainly dependent on the movement of the animals (ox) harnessed around a wooden device for cane juice extraction. The ox moves a wooden rod which in turn presses the sugar cane from which juice is extracted.

The juice is gathered in a small container made of Al Qirt tree, classified as Acacia nilotica, which is famous for its broad and strong branches and is known to live for hundreds for years.

“This machine requires high manufacturing skills and precision.

The zigzag carvings needs to be precisely sculptured to facilitate the movement of rotation and friction between the parts of the machine, which results in the squeezing process”, Al Rabaani mentions.

The juice is later poured into filters to clean it from impurities and is used for the Omani halwa and medical purposes.

The sugar cane season starts in September in Oman and the plants are mainly found in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, especially in Al Hamra, Bahla and Nizwa.

Source: Oman Daily Observer

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