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Traditional Moroccan Medicine

July 14, 2014 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

In 1989, a review article in the World Health Forum defined the role of traditional health practices in modern day Morocco. The piece, authored by Dr. Jamal Bellakhdar, noted that, “Traditional medicine is still popular in Morocco since it is an important form of health care for many people”. He goes on say that, “Its positive aspects could be encouraged if it were officially recognized and given a place in the health system.” Now, some twenty-five years later, a slew of scientifically controlled studies have emerged which substantiate several of the historical remedies employed by Arab and Berber healers.

Argan oil and black cumin are arguably the two trendiest Moroccan supplements currently on the market. The former is frequently added to exotic hair and skin care formulas in the hopes of promoting a flawless complexion and lustrous hair. The latter is boldly described on one website as, “A Remedy for Everything but Death”. Wow! A third remedy common to Morocco is fenugreek seed. You’ll find it in everything from hair growth sprays to formulas and teas intended to increase breast milk production and muscle mass. Some of these claims are clearly exaggerated, if not completely unbelievable. Having said that, this should not dissuade you from considering these remedies altogether.

So, what is the truth about argan oil, black cumin and fenugreek? According to the latest batch of peer-reviewed studies, the internal use of argan oil genuinely affects the body in some pretty significant ways. Namely, argan oil supplementation (25 mL/day) improves various cardiovascular indices (HDL, LDL cholesterol, oxidative status and platelet aggregation) and increases luteinizing hormone and testosterone levels in men. Two trials reveal that black cumin, likewise, reduces risk factors associated with heart disease in both overweight and postmenopausal women. In addition, black cumin seed oil was recently found to safely correct sperm abnormalities, including poor morphology, motility and volume in infertile men. Finally, a review appearing in the January 2014 edition of Nutrition Journal, determined that fenugreek intake is capable of lowering both long and short term blood sugar in diabetics. What’s more, two other studies report that combining fenugreek with conventional medications for polycystic ovary syndrome and Parkinson’s disease enhances overall treatment outcomes. These are legitimate examples of age old, Moroccan remedies functioning quite nicely in the world of modern medicine.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - A New Look at Traditional Medicine In Morocco (link)

Study 2 - Argan Oil Prevents Prothrombotic Complications By Lowering Lipid (link)

Study 3 - Argan Oil and Postmenopausal Moroccan Women: Impact On the … (link)

Study 4 - Effect of Argan and Olive Oil Consumption On the Hormonal Profile (link)

Study 5 – A Randomised Controlled Trial On Hypolipidemic Effects of Nigella … (link)

Study 6 - Effects of Nigella Sativa L. Seed Oil On Abnormal Semen Quality In (link)

Study 7 - The Effects Of 8-Week Nigella Sativa Supplementation and Aerobic (link)

Study 8 – Effect of Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum L.) Intake On (link)

Study 9 - Efficacy and Safety Of Standardized Extract Of Trigonella Foenum… (link)

Study 10 - Evaluation of Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graceum L.), Effects (link)

Argan Oil Intake Lowers Cardiovascular Risk Profile

Source: J Transl Med. 2014 Mar 31;12(1):82. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Men's Health

3 Comments to “Traditional Moroccan Medicine”

  1. PAUL F. Says:

    Hi JP,

    Thank you again for taking us along in your discoveries in remote countries of natural medicines that may be helpful to some of us!


  2. JP Says:

    I’m happy to do so, Paul! Thank you for your support!

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update: Black cumin oil may improve vitiligo:


    Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014 Jun;16(6):e4515. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.4515. Epub 2014 Jun 5.

    Comparing Nigella sativa Oil and Fish Oil in Treatment of Vitiligo.
    Ghorbanibirgani A1, Khalili A1, Rokhafrooz D2.


    Vitiligo is one of the autoimmune skin diseases that destroy the melanocytes of the skin. Moreover, its prevalence varies in different countries and regions.


    The aim of this study was to compare the effect of Nigella sativa and fish oil on vitiligo lesions of the patients referred to a dermatology clinic.


    This randomized, double blind clinical trial was conducted in the dermatology clinic of the Imam Khomeini Hospital Ahvaz, Iran, from June to December 2011. We used a randomized simple sampling. From 96 patients with vitiligo, 52 eligible patients were selected and allocated to two groups with equal size. The study medications were applied twice a day by patients on their lesions. After six months, the improvement rate of lesions was assessed by the Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI). Data were analyzed using SPSS v. 15; P value < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.


    After six months, a mean score of VASI decreased from 4.98 to 3.75 in patients applying topical Nigella sativa and from 4.98 to 4.62 in those using topical fish oil. Most of the percent improvement observed in upper extremities, trunk, head, and neck of those who received Nigella sativa and head, neck, trunk, and feet of those who received fish oil. No adverse effect was reported by the patients.


    Nigella sativa oil and fish oil were effective in reduction the size of patient’s lesions; however, Nigella sativa was more effective in comparison to the fish oil. Therefore, using Nigella sativa with the major drugs in the treatment of vitiligo is recommended.

    Be well!


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