A visit to a Berber pharmacy in Marrakech

April 2, 2012
To visit a traditional Berber pharmacy is to have a deeper understanding of just how much Big Pharma has relied on traditional remedies as the roots of the commercial products we know so well. For example, Vick’s Vapo-Rub, which in the Berber pharmacy is eucalyptus and used the exact same way.

We were shown were herbs for digestive upsets, for erectile dysfunction, to calm and to invigorate. And spices for cooking could also be found in the pharmacy. These Moroccans seem to live a long time, too. Draw your own conclusion.

In the video below, our Berber pharmacist shows us some of the most common Moroccan herbs and spices, used in cooking.

Here’s a short demo of REAL saffron.

And if you’re troubled by migraines or sinus troubles, here’s a natural inhaler of herbs that claims to be effective:
Argan is a Moroccan fruit with a nut that has nutritional, cosmetic and health benefits. Even though it’s rare and UNESCO- protected, products made of the argan nut oil are the latest hair care fad to reach the U.S. Which is probably bad news for the species. Of course, who knows if those commercial shampoos and oils have much, if any, real argan oil in them. Maybe not. But having tried an argan oil shampoo that my sister-in-love uses, I have to admit, it was a great shampoo–rich and sudsy, leaving my hair shiny and full of body. 
Our pharmacist showed us the three stages of argan nut processing.

Here’s the fruit:

And the nut in the shell:
And finally, denuded.
M. and I agreed that this was one of our more interesting stops. I bought some Moroccan spices, since I do love to cook Moroccan food. And once I got home, I researched the best Moroccan cookbooks and ordered a couple of used copies.

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