Middle Eastern Herbal Remedy Offers Health Benefits, Especially For The Elderly Lifestyles of seniors

There is a revered Middle Eastern herbal blend that is not only versatile in seasoning a variety of foods, but is also touted as a healing remedy. Arab mothers give this mixture of herbs to their children before school, both for mental acuity and to boost immunity. Many older people living in the Levant region incorporate this blend of herbs into their daily diet to aid memory and help treat chronic illnesses. This miraculous spice blend is called za’atar.

Za’atar is a pungent herb combination containing a plant native to the Middle East that is a cross between oregano and thyme, as well as sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. However, the health benefits of za’atar extend far beyond what you would find in a medicine cabinet. Here’s a breakdown of how the individual components of za’atar can impact overall well-being, providing some validity to the ancient and popular beliefs surrounding this potent herbal combination.

Ground sumac berry, which gives za’atar a tangy flavor, comes from a flowering plant in the same family as cashew and mango. This shrub or small tree produces clusters of bright crimson red berries which are crushed to make sumac. Sumac’s flavor profile is comparable to a salted lemon zest, so it pairs well with roasted vegetables, fish, and salads like fattoush. Nutritionally, sumac is rich in quercetin, which neutralizes free radicals. Sumac also contains 66 times more antioxidants than blueberries. In a scientific study, sumac even inhibited pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat for digestion. Therefore, fewer calories from fat were absorbed when ingested with sumac in this particular study.

The immune capacities of the za’atar come from thyme. Thyme can help cleanse the respiratory system, which is why some herbalists create a tincture of thyme tea to fight colds. The polyphenols in thyme or oregano can also have direct effects on mood by affecting hormones released and regulated throughout the body. This is why many Arab holistic doctors prescribe thyme for depression.

The oil-rich sesame seeds of za’atar also have many health benefits and have been used in holistic medicine for thousands of years. These seeds can protect against heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. They are rich in magnesium, which lowers blood pressure, as well as vitamin E, which prevents plaque buildup in the arteries. Sesame seeds, both shelled and shelled, are also rich in several nutrients that improve bone health, including calcium, manganese, and zinc.

Healing properties

While za’atar is easily incorporated into the Mediterranean diet, the herbs also have anti-inflammatory properties when used as a topical remedy for the skin. Za’atar can help improve the appearance of the skin, speed up wound healing, and even reduce the appearance of age spots and blemishes, thanks to the high amount of antioxidants. Some Arab grandmothers even make a balm from za’atar, turning it into a paste to spread on inflamed areas of the skin to relieve insect bites and sore joints.

Whether eating za’atar for its unique flavor or using it for internal and external healing applications, many people in the Middle East agree that it is a powerhouse for the immune system. The bonus is that za’atar is easy to incorporate into your daily diet. Whether it’s dipped in olive oil with bread, baked in a flatbread, or sprinkled over salads, eggs or cheese, za’atar adds a toasted, tangy, and nutty flavor to none. any dish.

Za’atar is readily available in the Middle Eastern and Arab markets, along with some good fair trade organic varieties online. If you want to make your own za’atar, follow the easy recipe on the right. You can use thyme, but savory gives a better result because it has notes of oregano and thyme, just like the original za’atar plant. You can keep the za’atar in your pantry for several months.

The most typical way for Arabs to start the day is with manakeesh, or a za’atar flatbread that you can make with any type of bread you desire. Simply mix 1/4 cup of za’atar spice with 1/2 cup of olive oil and spread a spoonful over the bread, leaving room around the edges. Sprinkle with feta cheese, sliced ​​tomatoes and fresh mint, if desired. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and heat to 425 degrees until the crust is golden brown.






Za’atar spice blends are easy to buy but also easy to make yourself.




Za’atar mix

• 3 tablespoons of savory or dried thyme

• 1 tablespoon of sumac powder

• 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds

• 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to two months.

Blanche Shaheen is a journalist and cookbook author. His cookbook “Feast in the Middle East: A Personal Journey of Family and Cuisine” is available on FeastInTheMiddleEast.com.

Visit youtube.com/user/blanchetv for cooking tutorials and more recipes, follow her on Instagram at @BlancheMedia.



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