Art appreciation

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RIYADH: Beyond the beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage, AlUla is also home to many beautiful plants and trees.

The Moringa peregrina tree, which is found in abundance in the region, has recently come into the spotlight because of its economic opportunities.

For centuries, Moringa peregrina has been valued for its medicinal properties and health benefits.

The people of AlUla are now working hard to advertise these properties to tourists around the world and generate good business for the area.

Arab News visited Ghosain AlBan, one of the shops in the old town of AlUla that specializes in selling Moringa oil products.

“Our ancestors used Moringa oil for cooking because it is good for health. It has many cosmetic and health benefits as it is a cholesterol-free vegetable oil rich in amino acids, rich in calcium, iron, zinc, vitamins A, B and C, and omega 3, 6 and 9”, said Azah Aljhani, the store owner.

The Aljhani family bought a farm and planted around 2,000 Moringa trees to extract oil, pick the leaves for tea and make powders that add flavor to many meals.

“My family and I took the course supported by the AlUla Peregrina Center on how to plant the tree, sort it and preserve it, and we were trained by French experts,” she said.

Aljhani then came up with the idea of ​​making body products. In 2019, she joined a course that the AlUla Royal Commission offered to locals, where they learned how to extract oil and make shelf-ready by-products.

“I made my first soap from Moringa oil and sold it at the Winter of Tantora season festivals of 2018 and 2019, and it impressed visitors and tourists,” Aljhani said.

“We started a workshop for two weeks where we made about 5,000 soaps,” she added.

With her husband joining her business, Aljhani then started selling all kinds of Moringa products such as facial oils, creams and scrubs. She opened her first store in the city in 2020 and within four months she received support from the Royal Commission of AlUla to open a branch in the old town of AlUla, a perfect place for tourists and visitors .

“The store attracts a lot of attention from tourists and once they try our products, they love it. One of my products is also considered a natural moisturizer and when they try it they always come back or order online,” Aljhani said.

Aljhani thanked the AlUla Royal Commission for supporting local businesses.

“Every step we have taken to make this business happen, AlUla Royal Commission was behind it, they have no benefit from the store and they are enriching AlUla with local business and that in itself is an amazing step towards increasing local production in the region and creating jobs for locals,” said AlJhani.

The Peregrina Center in AlUla, established by the royal commission, supports the production of Pergerina oil and offers workshops for locals to benefit from the many uses of the oil.