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Ask The Herbalist

The Aboukhazaal family trace their lineage back over 2000 years to the days of Ancient Phoenicia.  Famous throughout the region for their unrivalled knowledge of herbalism, the family passed on the secret recipes from generation to generation by word of mouth. 

Five hundred years ago the recipes were faithfully recorded in a manuscript that survives to this day and which is now widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s most valuable herbal resources. The herbal medicine system practiced by the Aboukhazaal family originated over 6000 years ago and spread to India where it became known as Ayurvedic Medicine, and to the Middle East where it became known as Unani Tibb or Unani Medicine.

Ask the Herbalist’ offers people taking the herbs an opportunity to have their questions answered by Master Herbalist Bachir Aboukhazaal.


How are the herbs processed and why should I buy these instead of the many other brands of herbs available in England?


To answer this question properly I should explain how we grow, gather and process the herbs.  There are several stages involved and the key to success is in the timing.


The process begins when I tell the growers how many thousands of kilos of the herbs and seeds I will need in the following year.  I use only the most trusted growers; in turn they trust me to take up all the herbs I have asked for.  The trusting process is something we have developed over many generations of business together. 

As the herbs grow I visit the farms to watch their development.  When they have reached the strongest point of their growth and I believe them to be ready, we harvest them.  We select the freshest, greenest leaves as the growers know how important it is for me to have only the best quality herbs and seeds.  No discoloured leaves are included.

As we handpick the plants we thank them for transferring their vital energy and healing qualities.   From this first stage onwards, it is critical to do whatever it takes to preserve their freshness.  To dry the herbs properly, we need plenty of sunshine.  Some herbs are dried directly in the sun; others we dry in the shade as they would quickly lose their essential properties and wither in direct sun-drying.

The moment the herbs are dry we prepare to grind them. First we first bless them in the way our family have done for many generations, to honour them for their valuable contribution.  The grinding process takes several days, working many hours.  It is important not to crush the herbs to dust.  We grind them to the correct levels beyond which their goodness would be quickly lost.

Immediately after the herbs have been crushed, they are mixed.  Timing is essential to get the correct reaction. 

There are small variances in each herbal preparation I am working on so for me it is important for my family to carry the whole process of picking, preparing, drying, grinding and mixing.  This way I know the properties of each batch individually and can trust that each stage has been carried out properly.

When the herbs are ready we once again thank and bless them to carry out their healing work wherever and whoever they may go to.  By the time they are ready to take, these herbs are well-balanced and will not harm the body in any way.

I have seen several herbal products available from shops in England and Canada.  When I open them I see they have been crushed too much.  When I smell them it is as though the life has gone from them. I believe the way in which they are prepared involves one company buying from another company.  There can be no reliability in this process.

I hope this may answer your question.


This photo of Bachir Aboukhazaal’s parents Mohammed and Karima Aboukhazaal was taken on the beach at Beirut in about 1970.  Karima outlived Mohammed and turned 107 years old on 16 January 2007.  Sadly she passed away in April 2007, after her daily walk on this beach. 

Karima never underwent any operations nor ever visited a doctor.   Right up to the end she carried out her own housework, her own shopping and her own cooking.





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