When Fatima Al Jahwari, an enthusiastic entrepreneur was young, she suffered a series of allergic attacks, and her mother used dried Sidr leaves to treat the rashes.
The leaves had a magical healing effect, which intrigued her, and Fatima grew up hoping that one day she would be able to understand the seemingly magical, medicinal properties of Sidr leaves, and share their healing power with Omani people in a more organised and professional way.
This passion continues to this day, and despite being a full time working woman, Fatima is living her childhood dream, through her small home-based business built around the Sidr plant.
For those who haven’t heard much about Sidr, it is a much-loved tree native to Oman whose leaves have innumerable health benefits. Known to be able to survive in harsh weather conditions, it generally grows in warm, dry areas and is abundantly found in Arab countries, especially in the GCC.
For centuries the Sidr trees have been used for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes, but unfortunately, with time and development, the use of Sidr for its medicinal properties has declined.
Fatima hopes to revive the practice. But her entry-point into her business came to her while she was reminiscing about her childhood days and her fondness for the smell of sandalwood, mahlab, saffron, basil, henna, and all the Omani traditional beauty recipes she watched her mother and aunts make.
“Initially I searched for ways to make soaps with Sidr leaves. I asked grandmothers and elderly women if they knew how to make cosmetics out of Sidr leaves,” said Fatima.
In due course Fatima met women who taught her how Sidr leaves could be dried and milled in traditional ways. “They kneaded it with water and added some herbs such as basil and sandalwood.”
Fatima began experimenting, adding ingredients like cumin to the Sidr leaves mixtures, making face masks and homemade shower gels. “I started manufacturing products from natural Sidr, but giving it a modern twist,” she said. “Many people do not prefer the smell of Sidr so while studying in Paris I learnt how to add the aromatic oils on Sidr products without damaging the benefits of it. I added aromatic oils locally produced in Oman, and I got the licence from the Ministry of Health,” she said.
While Fatima’s homemade cosmetic products are quite popular here, right now she does not want to export them as she is having problems in packaging. “Right now I don’t have a suitable packing material to showcase the product. I don’t have my own logo either. I make all these products at home in a traditional manner and though my products may not look attractive, these Sidr soaps with cumin have many benefits.”
As far as her future plans, Fatima says that she wants to revive the Omani heritage and create a natural cosmetic line using inputs from the local environment, which is bountiful and not laden with chemicals. “I want to replace chemicals with natural materials, like Sidr leaves, which are skin-friendly, safe, and more effective.”
Fatima also wants to open beauty centres that uses products based on Sidr leaves, and to establish a factory and museum in her hometown of Wilayat Suwaiq to memorialise and share with Omanis and visitors alike, the many uses, historical significance, and natural wonders of this local treasure.
To order natural Sidr beauty products from Fatima Al Jahwari, contact +968 9359 4444
Ingredients: Sidr, cumin
Benefits: Cleanses the face and helps to lighten the skin to get rid
Pomegranate Peel Facial Mask
Ingredients: Pomegranate peels, cumin, Sidr
Benefits: It helps to lighten the skin and acts as a cleanser. It tightens the skin and gives it vitality and freshness.
Ingredients: Omani Sidr, sandal, Sidr honey, pomegranate peel, and herbs
Benefits: It removes dead skin and impurities. It cleans and whitens the skin and treats skin problems.
Moisturise the face with water and apply Sanfarah Sidr, leave it for 15 minutes. Wash it with water and then wipe the face with rose water.
Ariam Hair Oil
Ingredients: Sidr, mixture herbs
Benefits: It is nutritious, good for lengthening and conditioning the hair, and has a cooling effect on
Berry oil Scrub
Ingredients: Sidr, berry oil
Benefits: Helps the body, especially after pregnancy and childbirth, and lightens the skin colour.
AL- Shaikha Facial Mask
gold atoms, mahlab
Benefits: It acts as a cleanser, brightens and tightens the skin, and adds vitality and freshness too.