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Working under pressure, Gazan extracts medicinal oils from local herbs

Despite Israel banning the apparatus needed to distil the oils from entering Gaza, Fida Abu Elian has found a way to extract medical oils from natural herbs using a pressure cooker and boiling water

Overcoming the restrictions imposed by Israel’s stifling siege of Gaza has become a goal many Palestinians have been able to achieve and Fida Abu Elian is the latest.

Thirty-three-year-old Fida, who lives in Khan Yunis, has found a way to extract medical oils from natural herbs, despite Israel banning the apparatus needed to distil the oils from entering Gaza.

Instead, Fida has created a way to complete the operations he needs using a pressure cooker and boiling water.

This process produces “two types of aromatic oil”, Fida explains, “and aromatic water (rose water) used as a food flavouring, lotion for the face, hair and skin and as a natural tonic, away from away from artificial moisturisers that affect asthma patients and chest sensitivity. This has no side effects.”

Among the oils extracted is sesame oil which helps patients who suffer chest infections, while other oils are used to enrich hair and strengthen follicles, making Fadi’s venture an integral part of dermatological care.

His ultimate aim is to establish Gaza’s first plant to produce raw oils locally in defiance of the occupation, he says.

READ: Will allowing Palestinians from Gaza to work in Israel be a bribe or a defeat?

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