Wandering through Wadis

WtW Front Cover_md


Just in time for the upcoming spring season, which is bound to be one of the greenest springs Sinai has experienced in years due to the generous rainy season we’ve had….

Wandering through Wadis: A nature-lover’s guide to the flora of South Sinai is a field guide to the plants growing in the mountain wadis and coastal plains of South Sinai. Perfect for the nature-lover or hobbyist interested in identifying the various plants encountered while trekking, hiking, or camel riding in the Sinai desert. For each of the 104 plants in the directory, you will find the Common English and Arabic names, general description and information, photographs, and practical and traditional Bedouin uses.

The eBook (PDF) is currently available for sale and pre-orders are being taken for printed copies. You can also download a free sample from my website.

Happy Wandering!


Wild Mountain Tea

Wild Mountain Tea , originally uploaded by Bernadette Simpson.

Walking through Asalah these days, you are bound to get a whiff of this fragrant plant! Collected and dried by the Bedouin, it is used medicinally to treat head colds and aching joints. It is also used simply as a beverage – hence, one of the names for the plant is “shay al-jabal”, or mountain tea. (It is also called “rabil” by the local Bedouin.) And it is quite a tasty treat!

These photos were taken in a wadi near Dahab, where it is growing in abundance at the moment. You’ll also see this plant growing along the side of the Sharm-Dahab road.

Sinai Herbal Teas

There are hundreds of different herbs growing in Sinai and Bedouin traditional medicine uses many of them. This spring I spent some time collecting plants from the desert so that I could offer Bedouin herbal teas to visitors in Dahab. I have started with a small menu of six choices of hot infusions: five different herbs and one mixed herb. Below is a bit of information on what we use these particular herbs for. Even if you are well, these herbal teas are a pleasant change to your basic sweet black tea.

If you are in Dahab, you can drink my hot herbal teas at:

  • Illy’s Italian Coffee Shop, Mashraba
  • El Dorado Restaurant, Eel Garden
  • Coffee Shop on shore, Red Sea Relax, Near Lighthouse
  • LaVazza Coffee Shop, Blue Hole

If you would like to buy the herbs, call me or send an email to eidalatrash@hotmail.com

A Brief Description of their Uses

Gaisoom – Lavender Cotton – Santolina chamaecyparissus

  • Giasoom is used to treat headaches and colds. It also lowers blood sugar if taken for at least four days. It is used by diabetics.

Sheeh – Wormwood – Artemisia

  • Sheeh is used to cleanse the stomach if you’ve eaten something bad. It is also used to relax and calm people.

Rubayaan – Wild Chamomile – Anthemis cotula

  • Rubayaan – a type of chamomile is used to relax and people. Mothers use chamomile infusions to wash their young children, especially if the eyes are infected. Adults will also cleanse their eyes with chamomile if they are irritated or infected.

Buaytharaan – Judaen Wormwood – Artemisia judaica

  • Buaytharaan is used to calm upset stomachs and treat diarrhea. It is also use to kill gastrointestinal worms and parasites.


  • Nihaida is used to cleanse the kidneys. When used in combination with another herb, nihaida aids in dissolving kidney stones.

Photos by Bernadette