Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Berber Pharmacie

We were met at the door of the pharmacy by a man in a white medical coat and ushered into a room with benches around the walls. The walls above us were lined with shelves. Each shelf was heaving with jars. Some were filled with coloured liquids, some lipstick style pots and some seemed to be filled with odd looking animal parts. The smell of the room was intense and sent a few of the children into couging fits. I tried to focus on the rose smell which was one of the more pleasant aromas wafting around.

The berber pharmacist opened packets of dried herbs and spices and insisted that berber saffron was both the best and the cheapest. He had a cure for everything. The snoring potion was a favourite. This was a muslin square with crunched up cumin seeds inside. He took great delight in taking it to each person and shoving it up one nostril whilst pinching shut the other. Eventually you had to inhale the vile concoction. I preferred the rose perfume and cooking spices. We had to rub in samples of lotions until our arms could absorb no more and our noses had been overdosed.

Black olive soap, arnica, mint tea, natural oils, excema cures, natural viagra, deodorants, and the famous Argan oil were just a few more of packages to be sampled.

I started to get a bit tedious and the children were starting to get bored until a new game was invented.  It was time to divulge your parents hidden medical secrets. "Well my Dad has got... " The pharmacist was delighted with dodgy knees and bald patches for a while until it started getting a bit more personal!

We particularly enjoyed the magic Berber lipstick. My youngest son found this highly amusing. It was a clear lipstick that when you put it on turned red after a few minutes. A lot of skin can be drawn on in a few minutes and suddenly the magic worked. His face and arms had Adam Ant stripes for a couple of days.

In Morocco Argan oil is known as liquid gold.It is golden in colour and very expensive. The local people use it in both cosmetics and culinary forms. It can also help rheumatism, high cholesterol and even diabetes.
The two ladies above were demonstrating the labour intensive process required to produce the oil. I have found this informative video showing the process in a bit more detail. I like it because it's a co-operative so in theory the profits go to the ladies.

I really enjoyed the visit to the phamacie and would thoroughly recommend it. I bought a variety of potions and spices and the lipstick has provided hours of amusement.

I did a quick search and found Argan oil and other Moroccan inspired items on ETSY.

  • Handmade Skin Care and Natural Beauty Products

  • HilarysBazaar

    1 comment:

    1. I use Sugared Beauty's Argan Oil and it is FANTASTIC! I've been using it as a moisturizer at night which at first freaked me out because I have oily-prone skin BUT my breakouts have actually decreased SUBSTANTIALLY and the tone and texture of my skin have greatly improved. It's love I tell you!