Grandmother's 10 Alternative Medicinal Recipes from Yemen
By: Noor Almoshin/Arab America Contributing Writer
We all call our mothers when we get sick, and sometimes we rush to grandmothers when moms are not around or are unable to think of something that helps. This list reveals some natural recipes that a typical grandmother from Yemen would provide for treatment. As an Arab American, regardless of where your grandmother is from, she probably provides similar recipes.
1. Ginger and Olive Oil
Having joint or muscular pain? Shred some fresh ginger then add it to a tablespoon of olive oil. Warm the mixture on the stove to a heat you can tolerate. “Don’t use the microwave,” grandma said!! Rub the warm mixture on painful joints or muscles, and keep it there by warping it with a towel. Better used before going to bed, and best to sleep with it on.
2. White Flour
Ouch, this is still burning!! Dip or sprinkle the affected area in white flour to instantly relief burning pain, and who doesn’t have white flower? Tip: my grandma keeps flour in the fridge.
3. Oliban, Olibanum, or Frankincense (Liban Shihri or Liban Thikr)
This is my grandmother’s favorite natural material. Simply on a burner, lit a charcoal then burn Oliban and walk around the house with it. It is believed to disinfect the place especially when someone is sick. If you feel awful, chew a few pieces, but you must expect and tolerate its bitterness. For better results, soak it overnight in a glass of water and drink it in the morning. It helps improve the immune system. My grandmother suggests doing that regularly as a preventative measure!!
4. Fenugreek Seeds (Hilbah)
Do you have asthma or respiratory issues? Boil some fenugreek seeds, let it cool, then clear it and drink it. My grandmother swears by it. Doing it regularly healed my little brother from Asthma forever!! **Don’t blame me if you became smelly**
5. Cloves (Zir)
Having a toothache? Pick a few cloves and bite where it is painful. According to my grandmother, it is a painkiller. Oh, she also said to soak 2 cloves in a cup of water overnight, and drink it in the morning to relieve chest pain of respiratory problems. Grandma said to do it daily, don’t be lazy!
Sleepless at night? For your rescue, chew a few fresh basil leaves right before going to bed. “Stop playing with your phone and try to sleep,” grandma said.
7. Black Seeds (Quh’tah) and Honey
I know this recipe by heart. Manually, grind black seeds, then mix it with natural honey to reduce severe coughing. Grandma makes me bite on the black seeds. It must be a Yemeni honey, according to her, nothing in the world beats it.
If you get severe burns, Lord keeps evil away. Mix the natural yeast in a half cup of room temperature water and drink every morning. Having it daily, will help you heal severe burns and speed skin renewal.
9. Coffee Husk (Qishr)
Twisted your ankle? Take the remainders of boiled coffee husk, and while still warm, place it on the affected area and wrap it. It helps reduce such pain and also bruises. Luckily, Qishr is my favorite hot beverage, I always keep leftovers.
10. Arab/Pita Bread
Your child bumped his head! Don’t worry, just soak a loaf of pita bread in very cold water and apply it to the bumps and let it dry. It is very effective in reducing swellings and bruises. Watch out, my little brother ended up eating the wet bread, ewe.