Shopping at the herbalist

Riad Alkemia Staff

15 July 2021

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T he medina of Marrakech is an endless surprise. What makes it so unique are certainly its souks. Your eyesight can range over an infinity of different objects that go from jewelry to spices, from carpets to olives, and it will surely also end up on a series of items that you will not have an idea of what they can be. Here we are to clarify your shopping ideas!

Firstly we recommend you to go into one of those large herbalist’s shop (you will find many in each corner of the city), where a patient herbalist will tell you how argan oil is produced from the argan walnut and a thousand other curiosities. Once inside the shop you will be surrounded by a myriad of colors and scents and even some strange objects. Among the strangest, but also the most common you will find:

Berber toothpick

You’ve seen them a thousand times before, but you never understand what they are and what they’re for, but here’s the secret. It is the dried flower of a plant called Ammi Visnaga that belongs to the same family of fennel. Berbers have been using them as natural toothpicks for centuries.

Berber lipstick

They’re called Aker Fassi and they look like little tajine lids. Inside you will find a compound of dried poppy petals and pomegranate seeds. It is a completely natural cosmetic that Berber women use as lipstick or blush. Just moisten your fingers and rub on the mixture and then spread on your lips or face, you can also add a drop of argan oil if you prefer to have a moisturized effect. Although sometimes called “gazelle blood”, the compound is absolutely free of any animal products. You cannot forget them in your shopping list.

Terracotta feet exfoliator

Do your feet need any care after a nonstop walking around the city? This small terracotta object with a simple but functional design could be the right solution for you. Gently rub feet, elbows and knees after moistening with water. The effect is even better if you first spread black soap leaving it to act for a few minutes, to soften the skin.

 

Moroccan Solid scent

Another very original souvenir, perhaps the most original of all, is the solid scent. These are small cubes composed of natural resins obtained from sandalwood, amber, musk or with neutral scent added with essential oils, such as the rose one. Just rub them on the wrists or behind the ears and here comes an intense fragrance. Also these are natural cosmetics. You will love doing shopping!

Potassium alum

It is used for its deodorant properties, but also astringent and hemostatic. In the first case, it inhibits the growth of bacteria responsible for the body odor, and is also suitable for those suffering from allergy to synthetic fragrances. In the second case, it prevents bleeding from small shaving cuts.

Dried rose buds

Roses are flowers known around the world as a symbol of love, but these magnificent flowers can be used in different situations. Some examples: decorative elements, if placed in a nice centerpiece, added to sea salt they become the perfect combination for a relaxing bath. Combined with tea leaves they becomes an exquisite drink with a relaxing effect.

These are our tips to bring home some useful and cheap souvenirs, which will intrigue the recipients. But be ready to bargain with the vendors of the souk.

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