AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

A local old wives tale: MaZaher is the cure to all



It is a generally-agreed upon thing by children in this part of the world: it’s best to keep the tummy-ache a secret, cause otherwise, you will be subjected to your mother’s disgusting and inherited herblore.

That means mazaher (concentrated orange blossom water), which is even more of an acquired taste than marmite. Its smell is so strong that you might as well be chewing on flowers. Worse, it also means merameyeh (sage), infused with tea, and I still believe that it’s main idea is to stop kids from complaining.

http://poxacuatl.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/orange-blossom_water-3.jpg?w=629

It has taken me over 20 years to acquire a taste for orange blossom water (and my taste for merameyeh is still not acquired). I discovered that I actually like it quite recently, when things that you could possibly drink at the office like coffee, tea, milk and juice were finished. The only untouched bottle in the empty pantry was a bottle of orange blossom water.

I poured a little over hot water, and I found myself drinking nothing else for the next few days. That’s what we called “White Coffee”, or “Ahweh Beidah”.

And then I started wondering if MaZaher is really as useful as they make it sound. Afterall, it’s just water and flower essence. Its status as the ultimate curer of everything just doesn’t make sense.

My usual way of finding out: Google. The internet loves alternative therapy products almost as much as my grandmother, where the most random things seem to be so good. Honestly, I’m quite skeptical about such things, but I was willing to brave my skepticism if both the internet and ancient herblore in this region agreed.

My discovery: nope, our ancient herblore and the internet do not agree this time. While our herblore claims that orange blossom water is the cure to stomach aches, bloating, heartburns, indigestion, as well as every other kind of upset tummy problems, the internet seems to believe that it is only good for your skin.

I personally think my favorite use of orange blossom water is when it’s added to 2ater, which is the syrup that is added to 99% of Arab sweets. Especially when MaZaher tastes very strong with 7alawet il Joben. Yummm.

Yeah. Case in hand: Stop pestering your kids.

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4 Comments

  1. Shad

    I love 2ater, mhalabiyye and 7alawet el jobon with mazaher! love the smell too. and thanks for finding out that it’s not as useful as my mother says it is :)

  2. Hani

    So true especially if your mom is from Nablus, but there has been progress in 1000 years, now they sugar-coat the herbs believe it or not!

  3. khalid jarrar

    may zaher is rarely as good as it is with 9awani il 7aleeb! yummie!! **wishes he could visit his grandma**

  4. it’s good for the skin as well :) they started making facial products out of it, interesting i guess.

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