Traditional Natural Remedies from the Middle East

You probably have most of them at home.

The Arab world has known how to use natural remedies for millennia. Past down from generation to generation, these herbs, seeds, roots and oils have been utilized to treat a wide range of heath issues, both internal and external and have been used to cure countless people before modern medicine was invented:

Black cumin seed

The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that black cumin is “the remedy for all diseases except death.” According to Islamic tradition, black cumin seed has extraordinarily high amount of health benefits. It is attributed with curing immune-related, digestive and respiratory issues and black cumin even has antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are attributed with having amazing health benefits. They are a concentrated source of many minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, vitamin C, iron, selenium and magnesium. Fennel is thought to do everything from regulate blood pressure to ease water retention, but also relieve indigestion and Reduce Asthma Symptoms, and even improve eyesight.


Thyme doesn’t just smell wonderfully fragrant in cooking, is has also been used for entire centuries to treat digestive illnesses, stomach aches, arthritis and sore throats due to the presence of thymol, or thyme oil, which acts as a strong antiseptic.


The dried buds of cloves contain up to 20 percent essential oil and the bulk of this is the chemical eugenol, which is both an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory. This explains why cloves have been used in dentistry since the 19th century but have also been valued for their natural antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal qualities.


Also referred to as the “golden spice,” Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin that decreases inflammation in the body. The spice also functions as a very potent antioxidant.


Anise oil contains terpineol, anethole, and thymol (also the active ingredient in thyme, above!), which help with coughs and flus. Anise is also thought to help improve digestion, alleviate cramps and reduce nausea. It remains popular with pediatrions in its ability to decrease bloating and settle the digestive tract. If taken in high doses, anise can be used as an antiseptic and for the treatment of asthma and bronchitis.

You probably knew about at least a few of these, if not all of them. Maybe there are also some secret remedies that were passed down in your family only… Although many of these natural approaches to health have now been eschewed in favor of modern medicine, knowing and appreciating these traditional and natural remedies from the region is also very valuable from a cultural standpoint.

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