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The Gulf is a region famed for its his­to­ry, dra­mat­ic land­scapes, fas­ci­nat­ing cul­tures and deli­cious cui­sine. It is also home to a trea­sure trove of nat­ur­al reme­dies which grow in the region and have ensured the well­be­ing of peo­ple for cen­turies. They can also help to keep you healthy. The Gulf pos­sess­es so many nat­ur­al reme­dies as a result of cen­turies of trade and exchange with peo­ple and cul­tures from across Europe, Asia, Africa and the rest of the Mid­dle East. In this infor­ma­tive arti­cle, we list and describe the ben­e­fits of many tra­di­tion­al ingre­di­ents and how they can be used to improve your health. All of them should be avail­able at your local shops or super­mar­kets, so track them down and start using these trust­ed meth­ods to stay in good health. If you have to look fur­ther afield to find the item, your search will be worth it! As always, the best health advice is issued by doc­tors and qual­i­fied med­ical prac­ti­tion­ers. The fol­low­ing list sim­ply out­lines how sim­ple, read­i­ly-acces­si­ble ingre­di­ents can be used dai­ly to help you main­tain your gen­er­al well­be­ing. A num­ber of the ingre­di­ents may even be grow­ing in your gar­den, which makes them even more help­ful for bol­ster­ing your health.

1- Clove

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gulf natural remedies l natural remedies for cough l natural remedies for sore throat l natural remedies for cold l natural cough remedies

Many of you will be famil­iar with the pleas­ant aro­ma of clove. That is why it is often used in per­fumes and beau­ty prod­ucts. In the Gulf region, how­ev­er, it is also used as an addi­tive for stews and in oth­er tra­di­tion­al cuisines. Research indi­cates that it also has var­i­ous health ben­e­fits. It is com­mon­ly added to mouth­wash prod­ucts, as it is thought to fight bac­te­ria in the mouth and gums and improve gen­er­al oral health. Besides, it may also kill cer­tain forms of bac­te­ria and reg­u­late blood sug­ar lev­els. Stud­ies are con­tin­u­ing into its abil­i­ty to pro­tect the body against cer­tain types of can­cer, pos­si­bly, and it is known to be rich in anti-oxi­dants. Many peo­ple like to add ground cloves to their cook­ing, and in The Gulf region, it has long been pop­u­lar to add some clove to hot water and enjoy a sooth­ing tea.

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2- Miswak

While on the top­ic of oral health, we should not for­get Mis­wak. Mis­wak is how peo­ple in this area cleaned their teeth before tooth­brush­es, tooth­paste and mod­ern den­tal care prod­ucts. It is essen­tial­ly a fibrous stick found in the root of the arak tree, which is famed for its anti­sep­tic and astrin­gent prop­er­ties that help clean the teeth and even pro­tect the gums. The arak is a short tree that grows in arid regions of the Mid­dle East and Africa. When search­ing for a good Mis­wak, look for one that is yel­low or cream, has a strong, pun­gent smell and is moist and flex­i­ble. Mis­wak is used through­out the region even to this day and is said to have been pro­mot­ed by the Prophet Moham­mad him­self as a way to sweet­en the breath dur­ing fast­ing. Mis­wak is used in a sim­i­lar way to a tooth­brush. It is rubbed over the teeth ver­ti­cal­ly and hor­i­zon­tal­ly. The tip of the stick is chewed off until it looks like the bris­tles of a tooth­brush. Once a sec­tion of the Mis­wak is overused, sim­ply chew off the tip gain and start anew.

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3- Cumin

Cumin seeds are regard­ed as a rich source of iron, and the warm spice is often added to a yogurt drink, which has been enjoyed for years in the region. You will also have come across the sea­son­ing in Mex­i­can cook­ing. The spice, known local­ly as ‘san­noot,’ could also reduce the dam­age from free rad­i­cals on our body. Why not try intro­duc­ing some cumin to hot or cold drinks, before adding it to more of your dish­es?

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4- Garlic

Gar­lic adds flavour to many dish­es from many parts of the world. Accord­ing to Hol­ly­wood, it might even ward off vam­pires. With­out ever hav­ing con­front­ed a vam­pire, we can’t say for sure whether gar­lic works, but we do know that it pos­sess­es oth­er qual­i­ties. Research sug­gests that it can aid in reduc­ing blood pres­sure and could pro­tect the heart. It is thought to have some of the same ben­e­fits as antibi­otics in fight­ing bac­te­ria and may help to pre­vent intesti­nal ill­ness­es. A pop­u­lar type in the Gulf region is the Omani organ­ic gar­lic, so search for this vari­ety and add it to dish­es which orig­i­nate in the Mid­dle East, or even those from India or Italy. Want a sim­ple immune-boost­ing drink? Crush some gar­lic, add it to hot water with hon­ey and lemon and take this dai­ly.

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5- Turmeric

Have you tried a turmer­ic lat­te? This vari­a­tion of the tra­di­tion­al lat­te has found its way onto menus in cafes through­out the world, and the added ingre­di­ent is pop­u­lar in the Gulf region. It can be found in many well-known dish­es and has long been regard­ed as a spice with var­i­ous health ben­e­fits.

6- Thyme

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gulf natural remedies l natural remedies for cough l natural remedies for sore throat l natural remedies for cold l natural cough remedies

Thyme is a very com­mon addi­tive to bev­er­ages in The Gulf, and the herb is always con­sumed in aro­mat­ic drinks at spe­cial gath­er­ings such as wed­dings. Every kitchen in the region will have a ready sup­ply of the herb, which is known as za’atar in Ara­bic. As a rem­e­dy, it is believed to cure sore throats when added to warm water. It also con­tains antimi­cro­bial prop­er­ties and is thus able to kill cer­tain types of infec­tious bac­te­ria. A vari­ety of thyme, called mas­tic thyme, may also help to pro­tect bod­ies against colon can­cer, while oth­er stud­ies have sug­gest­ed that thyme may be a less inva­sive way of treat­ing acne.

7- Alum

Alum appears in stone form in many mar­kets through­out the region, often sit­ting beside the pow­ders of herbs and spices. For cen­turies, it has been used to con­trol bleed­ing and to clean and heal wounds. Res­i­dents of the region have also used Shab­ba as a deodor­ant.

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8- Anise

Many peo­ple will rec­og­nize the taste of anise from tea or licorice. Also known as aniseed, the tiny seed can be con­vert­ed into var­i­ous forms and uti­lized in many ways. It adds flavour to cook­ing, and the tiny seed con­tains a sur­pris­ing amount of prop­er­ties. It is both a stim­u­lant and a relax­ant, it is aro­mat­ic and stom­achic, and has ton­ic, carmi­na­tive and diaphoret­ic prop­er­ties. For this rea­son, peo­ple through­out The Gulf have used it year after year to treat com­plaints such as coughs and headaches, men­stru­al cramps, col­ic, indi­ges­tion and abdom­i­nal pain, and to clean the uri­nary sys­tem and pre­vent inflam­ma­tion.

9- Asafoetida

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gulf natural remedies l natural remedies for cough l natural remedies for sore throat l natural remedies for cold l natural cough remedies

“If it tastes this bad, it must be healthy” is a famous phrase among peo­ple who have been forced to take foul-tast­ing sub­stances to cure some form of ail­ment. Asafoeti­da is no dif­fer­ent. It is just as famous for its foul smell and taste as it is for thin­ning the blood, reliev­ing pain, treat­ing a cough or an upset stom­ach and aid­ing diges­tion. Admit­ted­ly, in The Gulf, it is known as a last resort treat­ment because of the foul taste. As a med­i­cine, it is usu­al­ly added to hot water to be drunk, but it is also added to dish­es dur­ing cook­ing. Yes, that may sound sur­pris­ing, but a small amount of asafoeti­da can improve the taste of a meal.

10- Black Seed

Black seed is used even to this day to treat com­plaints such as asth­ma, flat­u­lence, abdom­i­nal pain, kid­ney stones and polio. It is usu­al­ly con­sumed with either water or milk or sprin­kled over bread. When burned with incense, it pro­duces a dis­tinct and pleas­ant aro­ma.

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11- Chamomile

Every­one is undoubt­ed­ly famil­iar with camomile and camomile tea. Per­haps you drank one last night to help you sleep or to improve your diges­tion. Peo­ple in The Gulf have been doing pre­cise­ly that for hun­dreds and hun­dreds of years. Chamomile can also be used in per­fumes and in soap and sham­poo prod­ucts as it is believed to add lus­ter to blonde hair.

12- Myrrh

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gulf natural remedies l natural remedies for cough l natural remedies for sore throat l natural remedies for cold l natural cough remedies

Myrrh is a hard, red­dish-brown mass that comes from the stems of bushy shrubs that grow in The Gulf. Locals use it to alle­vi­ate inflam­ma­tion, to reduce scars on burns and as a mouth wash for con­di­tions such as mouth sores or blis­ters. It is also effec­tive against a sore throat or a bronchial infec­tion. It is com­mon­ly soaked in water for a few days, with the patient drink­ing the strained liq­uid, or eat­en in small gran­ules.

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Last but not least

The Gulf region has giv­en excel­lent world cui­sine, unique archi­tec­ture, tex­tiles, folk­lore and fan­tas­tic sto­ries, and it is also home to a mul­ti­tude of nat­ur­al reme­dies. Along­side advice from doc­tors and expert med­ical prac­ti­tion­ers, every­day ingre­di­ents such as gar­lic, clove, thyme and cumin can help to strength­en your body and main­tain your well­be­ing. Add oth­er items such as turmer­ic, alum, anis and Mis­wak, and you can com­pile a ready source of nat­ur­al reme­dies to help you feel bet­ter and get more out of your day. 🙂
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