The Six: Traditional natural remedies from the Middle East

A sprig of thyme. (Shutterstock)
Updated 15 October 2018

The Six: Traditional natural remedies from the Middle East

  • We take a look at natural remedies stemming from the Middle East
  • From turmeric to thyme, these home remedies are used across the Arab world and beyond

DUBAI: Natural remedies have long been used in the Arab world to treat a range of health issues, including these seeds and herbs that are thought to have various benefits.

Black cumin seed
According to Islamic tradition, the black cumin seed is a powerhouse of health benefits. It is thought to help with immune-related, digestive and respiratory issues and has antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Cloves
Cloves and clove oil have been used in dentistry since the 19th century due to the presence of the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory chemical eugenol.

Turmeric
Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin that is thought to decrease inflammation in the body.

Thyme
Thyme has been used for centuries to treat such complaints as diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis and sore throats due to the presence of thymol, an antiseptic agent.

Fennel seeds
A concentrated source of minerals like 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 as it’s a known diuretic.

Anise
Anise oil contains thymol, terpineol and anethole, which are thought to help with cough and flu cases. Anise is also thought to help improve digestion, alleviate cramps and reduce nausea.


Dayma: Levantine flavors with a contemporary twist

Updated 25 October 2020

Dayma: Levantine flavors with a contemporary twist

  • Levantine cookhouse Dayma offers a selection of classic dishes with a contemporary twist
  • Dayma seals the deal with a card showing a cup of coffee and a translated Arabic proverb

DUBAI: Those of us who grew up eating Levantine cuisine will recall the warmth and flavor of many dishes, along with childhood memories of family gatherings and chitchat.

Levantine cookhouse Dayma offers a selection of classic dishes with a contemporary twist.

Starters include shatta prawn crescents — sourdough sambuseks stuffed with prawns, shatta (a Middle Eastern hot sauce), ginger, coriander and lime. The crispy dough encloses a zesty and slightly spicy filling.

Aubergine sfiha stars — sourdough shaped stars with smoked eggplant, pomegranate molasses and walnuts — are a smokier, vegetarian version of the Arabic meat pastry or sfiha.

Dayma also offers a selection of four starters in its “swingers special.” Try a range of pastries and decide which you would recommend.

From the dips, we would suggest the carrot mutabbal, a perfect marriage of tropical and Middle Eastern flavors. Unlike the original recipe based on smoked eggplant, this one uses whipped carrots and caraway, tahini, slivered dates and coconut shavings. The dip has a delicious sweet flavor with an interesting sour aftertaste.

Among the mains, if you are looking for a more traditional or mainstream example of Levantine cuisine, try Beik’s lamb chops. The meat is delightfully tender, with a sweet and smoky flavor.

Looking to try something old style cooked in a new style? The kebbeh mini-tray bake features burghul pie filled with a tasty stuffing of minced beef, caramelized onions, sour cherry and flaked almonds, generously spiced with cinnamon. 

Another delicious main is the yellowtail faskar. Locally sourced sea bream fillet is marinated in ginger, tamarind and coriander and then barbecued, giving it a smoky flavor.  

Dayma seals the deal with a card showing a cup of coffee and a translated Arabic proverb to honor the Middle Eastern tradition of serving guests coffee after a meal.

A great place to try traditional Arabic cuisine with a clever contemporary twist.