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Iran has a variety of medicinal plants and plants that are used in skin care. The country is 4.5 times the size of Germany and lies at the intersection of three biogeographical regions: the Indian-Pakistani fauna spreads to the southeast, the Central Asian to the northeast, the Caucasian-Eastern European to the northwest and the Arab to the south.
The medicinal properties of many plants were known to the peoples of ancient Iran, as evidenced by the texts of the Avesta. The Avesta notes that Ahura Mazda Zarathustra gave ten thousand healing plants: "And I, Ahura Mazda, send him herbs that grow by the hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands around Gaokerena." (Gaokerene or white hom was the king of medicinal plants).
In Zoroastrianism, the old Iranian religious culture that still exists today and shapes essential norms and rites of everyday life, physical cleansing was of fundamental importance. To this day, for example, it is considered an absolute affront to enter an apartment with street shoes, just as visitors to the Persian kings had to take off their shoes and clean their bodies in front of the halls of Persepolis.
Iranian women and men pay more attention to skin and body care than Europeans. Kasif, i.e. dirty, is also considered a sign of social neglect, dirty and clean also describe moral behavior and the difference between civilized and barbaric.
Today, Iranians continue to make cosmetics and remedies themselves with love. The popular natural cosmetics include almond oil, lemon juice, chickpea, turmeric and egg yolk.
Make almond oil yourself
Almonds are part of Iranian culture. The almond tree comes from Asia; Although it reached Europe in ancient times, where the name "Greek nut" was established, the Persian poets had long praised the beauty of the almond blossom.
The almond tree is a rose plant, up to ten meters high and throws its leaves in winter. Its drupes are green with a hairy surface and a clear furrow on the side. This coat dries up when the fruit is ripe and exposes the oblong-holed core. Inside there are one to two oval and pointed seeds. These almonds are either sweet or bitter. They only need to be collected from the ground, because in summer, when they are ripe, they fall off the tree.
Almonds contain mineral salts, fats, proteins, vitamins and sugar. That is why they have an excellent dietary effect. The bitter almonds contain a much higher proportion of the extremely toxic hydrocyanic acid and should therefore only be processed by pharmacists.
Almond oil is found today in the pharmaceutical industry, which it appreciates for its laxative and refreshing effects.
Fast food is spreading to all cities in the Middle East, but is frowned upon at the ubiquitous family celebrations of the Persians. The "snacks" between the main meals are an unspoken obligation.
No matter whether for Nouruz, the New Year's party, or if unexpected visitors come - tea is immediately on the table for everyone present. Tea includes sweets made from caramelized sugar, saffron, chopped pistachios, chocolate and dry biscuits that stick to the tongue, dissolve in the mouth and are washed down with the tea.
The Iranians enjoy these sweets in moderation, and part of tarouf, the Iranian system of courtesy, is not to shovel them into themselves, just as the host repeatedly offers them.
In addition, everyone receives a small plate with healthy “snacks”: cucumber, oranges, apples and other fruit, a fruit knife and a bowl of roasted sunflower seeds, melon and pumpkin seeds. Removing this from the bowl is an art that European guests usually find as difficult as eating cross-legged. It is easier to consume the walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and dried almonds that have been served and are already loosened from the shell.
During the season, the Iranians also love the green, i.e. unripe drupes with still soft seeds, which they eat fresh. They call this delicacy Tscharalle, which means "fat".
Almond trees grow abundantly in the country, so almond oil belongs in every Iranian household. Like Indian cuisine, Iranian cuisine sees food and medicine, healthy eating and personal hygiene closely linked. Almond oil is therefore particularly important because, on the one hand, it tastes good and can be processed in desserts as well as for frying, and on the other hand, it is also suitable for external cosmetic and internal refreshing use.
Almond oil strengthens the hair and cleanses the skin when we apply it there. But it also stimulates the bladder and intestines and soothes coughs.
Instead of buying it in the supermarket, many Iranians still make it themselves today. To do this, we need an oil press and airtight containers. We can use both sweet and bitter almonds, but the sweet almonds are cheaper and also contain more oil when ripe, almost 50 percent.
We press the oil cold out of the almonds, which always means below 75 degrees. This keeps the active ingredients. If the oil should taste or smell more intensely, we roast it before pressing.
We use a hand operated oil press. However, this must also be suitable for nut kernels. We put the almond kernels in whole or chopped and press them with a hand crank.
We need a lot of almonds for a hundred milliliters of oil, so it is most worth pressing our own oil if we have our own almond tree.
However, the effort of pressing yourself is worth it: the hand-pressed oil is particularly pure. The almond residue left over from pressing is ideal as a facial peel, it can be ground into almond flour or processed into almond bran for skin care.
Lemons for wrinkles
Lemons are omnipresent in Iran and the Iranians know about their healing properties. In contrast to Germany, there are also sweet lemons in Iran.
The lemon tree is the jack of all trades among medicinal and food plants. It originally comes from India, in ancient times the rulers of Persia adopted it in their paradaghs (paradise like garden), and the scent of lemon blossoms was regarded as a greeting from ethereal beings.
Citric acid stimulates appetite, stimulates and helps digestion. Lemon juice has an antiseptic effect, in an emergency it helps to disinfect the skin and throat with minor injuries, as well as with inflammation of the mucous membranes, mouth rot or angina.
It prevents vitamin deficiency, lowers blood sugar, prevents inflammation, drives urine, loosens cramps, cleanses blood, drives sweat, curbs gas, helps against diarrhea, cold, increased blood fat, fever, gout and gallstones, against Migraines and inflamed tonsils, against heart problems and nerve pain. Lemon juice helps against sunburn, brightens freckles and cleanses the pores excellently. Lemon peel has an antiseptic effect in chronic bronchitis and inflammation of the genitals,
Iranians also know lemon as an anti-wrinkle remedy. We make a face mask from olive oil, lemon juice and egg yolk. We put everything together in a bowl and stir it. We grate cucumber and shredded fresh mint. The cucumber softens the skin, the mint prevents inflammation, and the lemon cleanses the skin.
Such a face mask not only works against wrinkles, it also helps against acne.
Nochod for hair loss
Nochod, the chickpea is widely used in Iran as a food and at the same time a proven remedy for hair loss.
Chickpea is a legume from the hot and dry regions of the Middle East and North Africa. From Morocco to Pakistan, in Israel and the Arab countries and in large parts of Iran, the pea is the basis of everyday dishes - from the Arab-Persian chickpea porridge hummus to ash, a stew of chickpeas and mutton. This is particularly common in Azerbaijan, both in the Caucasian state and in the region of the same name in northwest Iran.
Chickpea contains two substances that prevent hair loss, namely vitamin B-6 and zinc.
Hair loss, along with tiredness and poor concentration, can indicate iron deficiency, and chickpeas contain high amounts of iron - 100 grams of legumes provide 6.5 mg of it, and the “miracle pea” contains vitamin C, which helps the body to get the iron to process.
Chickpea also contains folic acid. Those who lack it are easily irritable, suffer from depression, anemia and run the risk of developing heart and circulatory disorders. 100 grams of chickpeas contain 333 micrograms of this acid. Pregnant women in particular should eat chickpeas, because folic acid is necessary to form and divide the cells and thus promote the growth of the placenta and fetus.
Chickpea can be used externally, as a face mask or shampoo - or internally. Processed into hummus, the valuable substances get into the body, massaged into the scalp (for hair loss) or applied to the face (for acne), they are absorbed into the skin.
Hummus, chickpea porridge is as much a food as a remedy. It has a low glycemic index. This means that the porridge raises the blood sugar level, but slowly and keeps it stable for longer, as a result, we feel saturated for a long time, in contrast to foods with a high glycemic index such as mashed potatoes. This gives us a quick energy kick, but when it wanes, cravings come.
Chickpeas also provide fiber, which ensures that blood sugar and cholesterol remain in the frame. These fibers prevent food cravings because they delay gastric emptying. 30 grams of fiber every day make us lose weight, and 100 grams of chickpeas already contain 17 grams.
We soak the peas in cold water for 24 hours. Then we cook them together with the broth for about 45 minutes until the chickpeas are firm to the bite. We add lemon juice like olive oil, a peeled clove of garlic and puree the peas, either in an electric mixer or with an ordinary potato masher.
We either chop the parsley very small, a roller knife is best or drape it on the finished puree.
For Ash we need lamb or mutton with long bones, best from the knuckle, as well as dried chickpeas. Potatoes and various sabzi, the Iranian term for herbs, can also be added.
However, the Iranians eat the Sabzi raw from an extra plate. This includes coarse parsley such as mint, usually also the green parts of spring onions and tarragon. Azerbaijanis love raw and peeled onions for ash, but many Iranians reject this because the onions lead to an intense bad breath.
We boil the meat together with the chickpeas into a broth and let it simmer at least one and a half hours on a low flame. Then we take out the bone and mash the unevaporated broth with the chickpeas into a pulp.
The Iranians eat the Ash with a lot of thin flatbread so that they can spread the porridge with a spoon. Take the uncrushed and raw herbs by hand and chew them together with the stew.
Externally, chickpea can be applied to the scalp as a “shampoo”. We also soak chickpeas, about 100 grams for a rinse, and when they are soaked after about 24 hours, we boil them with water for about an hour. Then we puree them with a few tablespoons of olive oil and prepare a paste similar to hummus. We massage the finished mixture into the scalp and leave it there for about fifteen minutes.
The Iranians also mix Nochod with a whipped egg, add henna powder and rub the mixture into their hair. Allow the mass to soak in for about 15 minutes before rinsing it out.
Turmeric, known in this country as turmeric or turmeric, comes from South Asia and is particularly common in Indian cuisine. It serves as a spice for soups and sauces, in addition to its unobtrusive taste, the Indians love it mainly because of the yellow color, which they also use to dye textiles.
Turmeric is one of the most important spices in Indian curries and thus refines rice and meat dishes. In Iran, turmeric is particularly common in dishes in Balushistan, the province on the border with Pakistan.
Turmeric is related to the ginger and contains the curcumin in the stems of the plant. The yellow color is obtained from this.
Turmeric is not of interest in the seed pods, which are divided into three compartments, but the rootstock with its various egg-shaped yellow tubers. Countless small roots grow on the underside of the rhizome, and the leaf scars appear on the top.
Turmeric has been known in Indian and Iranian medicine for many centuries and is primarily considered a poison neutralizer. What reads like belief in miracles has been scientifically proven in recent decades: turmeric has an intensive effect on the gallbladder, it increases secretion production, liquefies it and thus detoxifies the liver. It relieves the cramps in liver colic and helps to excrete bladder stones.
Turmeric inhibits inflammation, it supports digestion and soothes the stomach. It prevents heart diseases and presumably hinders the proliferation of cancer cells because it affects the cell membranes: Kuruma binds to blood fat. Turmeric may be used to treat rheumatism and arthritis.
The Iranians swear by Turmeric to prevent heart diseases and recommend dissolving 1 to 2 tablespoons of turmeric in lukewarm water twice a week and drinking.
We find Turmeric in mustard preparations, curry powder and cheese, but also as a finished powder that we put directly into dishes.
The Iranians also use Turmeric to prevent so-called crow's feet, i.e. wrinkles in the corners of their eyes.
For this we make a paste in which we mix the turmeric with a little water until the powder has a pulpy consistency. We can make the paste smoother by adding oil, and the Iranians prefer olive oil.
With this paste, we cover both eye sockets about half a centimeter thick, but leave the eyes free so that we can open and close them unhindered and apply the mask in a circle that includes the eyebrows and extends to the temple. We let this paste work for about 30 minutes.
We can repeat this procedure regularly, approximately every two weeks.
Egg oil shampoo
Egg yolk contains proteins that rebuild brittle and splintered hair, thus ensuring firm, shiny hair. There are approximately 16.1 grams of protein in 100 grams of egg yolk.
However, we should beware of too much of a good thing. Hair that is adequately supplied with protein and that is neither dull nor dry is damaged by too much protein.
For an ice cream we need an egg, an isolated egg yolk, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 lemon. We mix the egg with the egg yolk, add the honey, squeeze the lemon and mix it with the mixture. We do not need a mixer for this, a fork is sufficient, but we should stir constantly and until a uniform mass is obtained.
We massage this shampoo with our fingertips into the scalp and hair roots. It is advisable to lightly dampen the hair beforehand. We let the shampoo soak for at least five minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. It shouldn't be hot, because the egg will curdle, and it shouldn't be cold, because otherwise the sugar won't dissolve.
Another shampoo consists of egg yolk and olive oil. We mix two egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a glass of warm water in a bowl. Again, the water must not be hot so that the egg yolk does not falter. We then puree the mixture with a hand blender until a uniform liquid forms.
We wash our hair without using another shampoo and knead the "egg oil" into the hair, from the roots to the ends of the hair. For long hair, we massage the conditioner especially into the tips of the hair. After a few minutes, we wash out the egg oil. (Somayeh Khaleseh Ranjbar, translated into German by Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Andrea Zoller, Hellmuth Nordwig: Medicinal Plants of Ayurvedic Medicine, Narayana, 2012
- Sigrun Chrubasik-Hausmann: Turmeric, Freiburg University Hospital, 2015, University Hospital Freiburg
- Ulrich Hannemann (ed.): The Zend-Avesta. Weißensee-Verlag, Berlin 2011
- Dunja Gulin: Hummus: For the love of chickpea, Callwey, 2019
- Nobuhiko Akazawa, Youngju Choi, Asako Miyaki, et al .: Curcumin ingestion and exercise training improve vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women. Nutrition Research 10; 32/2012, pp. 795-799, Science Direct