Camel’s thorn (Shawkat al-Jamal)

July 16, 2010  •  Category:


Every Sunday while we were kids, our parents would take us on ahike and picnic in the mountains; we learned to love our country‘s nature and its diversity; there was  one thing only that  I hated: the thorns that used to pepper the mountains and valleys; I had been scratched more than once  and would spot the thorn bushes from a distance in order to avoid them.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that decades later I would actually buy these same thorn bushes that I used to flee from and brew them in a tea called camel’s thorn!

I spotted these in a spice store in Sidon’s souk; after a quick exchange with the shopkeeper, in which he assured me that these thorns would cure me of any major diseases I had or could have, I decided, propelled by an uncontrollable  curiosity, to get a couple of ounces.

VERY BITTER infusion! Taste is as nasty as it looks; would taste better with a touch of honey.


Cut off the flower from the stem; boil a cup of water and drop the flower in it; infuse a few minutes, strain and drink on an empty stomach every morning until you are cured of whatever disease ails you.


25 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Priya says:

    Interesting camels thorn..seeing for the first time..

  2. Rosa says:

    An interesting infusion!



  3. Angie's Recipes says:

    This is something new and interesting to me…..will this help to cure the migraine?

  4. Nadege says:

    Nobody ever get sick in Lebanon then?

  5. deana says:

    The photos are gorgeous… but I don’t know… I think I am with you about using something with such a dangerous name.. did it make you feel better???

  6. tigerfish says:

    That is totally intriguing. It looks like the SE Asian Rambutan fruit (sweet fruit).

  7. SYLVIA says:

    Thanks you Joumana for all your detailed attention, the water pitcher on the counter top and, the old fashioned scale takes me back to my grandparents village.
    We also use those mountain wild dried plants and and drink it lukewarm, it is caffeine free, and has some medicinal content.
    Joumana, you’re making Beirut an awesome summer family getaway, like nice fun beaches, fine dining, great shopping, family array of festivals, great mountains, and friendly people. everyone would have a blast there, we should start planing on our next summer vacation soon.
    I truly appreciate the info, for on line pastry shop.

  8. Ivy says:

    I think these may be the same with what we call “donkey thorns” in Greece.

  9. Myfrenchkitchen says:

    This is so interesting…a tea from those threatening looking thorns! I’ve learned something!

  10. Mathai says:

    Very strange and interesting!

  11. Suman Singh says:

    very different and interesting drink…

  12. Juliana says:

    Oh! It sure looks ugly…but if it is good for you…

  13. elra says:

    not sure if I like the bitterness, but I wouldn’t know until I tried it myself 🙂

  14. FOODESSA says:

    Joumana…do you mean that these thorns that my puppy gets stuck with as we walk him through fields are edible? This is as crazy as when I found out that tulip petals could be eaten too!
    Very educational…opening up many doors to different thinking about food.

    Flavourful wishes,

  15. Magic of Spice says:

    Fascinating, and I can see why you ran the other way as a child, lol.

  16. Devaki says:

    Dear Joumana – This reminds me of all the ayurvedic herbs I grew up with 🙂 Looks like all the old civilizations have strange looking thorny herbs and spices for all sorts of things 😉 I wonder if its any more bitter in taste to karela a.k.a Indian bitter gourd.

    Mum used to pinch my nose and have me drinking this for 1 week every year as a blood purfier. Yuck! 🙂

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  17. Joanne says:

    I don’t think we have this here…but I’ll certainly be on the lookout for it. How could I resist a miracle cure?

  18. Susan says:

    I think I’ll stick with my Earl Grey but maybe it does have medicinal properties. The bitter pill, as it were 🙂

  19. skip to malou says:

    Very interesting… i appreciate the new learning.. thank you!


  20. Chef Dennis says:

    I have had some pretty strange Chinese herbal concoctions….the question is does this tea really help? I would drink just about anything if it worked!

  21. Astra Libris says:

    Wow, this is so fascinating! Our backyard fills with these every summer, thanks to the surrounding trees – I had no idea they could be used to make tea!! SO cool!!

  22. The Gypsy Chef says:

    Gorgeous snaps! Camel thorn? It even sounds like a bitter brew.
    Life has been so chaotic lately, I’m spending the evening catching up on my reading.
    Can’t wait to see what else you’ve been up too.

  23. Soma says:

    never seen or heard of this before. very interesting!! I just had a very bitter brew of beer and kind of liked it and not liked it if that makes any sense 🙂 not sure if i would want a bitter tea.

  24. OysterCulture says:

    I’ve never heard of camel’s thorn – how interesting. So I have to ask, after drinking this bitter brew – did you feel any better?

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