This plant is well known across the Middle East, from Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria but also other parts of the Islamic world, such as Indonesia or Malaysia. It has numerous names but the majority of the plant is called hand i.e. kaff or rumpuh: Shajarat al-khalas, Akar Fatimah, Kaff e Fatima, Rumpuh Fatimah, Sanggul Fatima, and in some places it is called kaff Maryam (Mary’s palm), Chastity tree or Rose of Jericho, Dinosaur plant, Palestinian Tumbleweed, Resurrection, True Rose, etc.
It’s Latin name is Anastatica hierochuntica and is classified as an annual plant from the family Brassicaceae. After blooming it shrivels up and gets a form of a round head which is blown away by the desert wind; under the influence of water (moisture) it unfurls, throws out a seed which germinates and gets rooted immediately.
Among the Arab people numerous legends have been told some of which are tied to Maria and others to Fatima, sometimes even Hava (Eve) is mentioned, and out of all of this one can easily conclude that we’re talking about a female plant, whose symbolism rests on fertility. It is evident that we’re talking about a holly plant of paganism, dedicated to a female deity of fertility, which was replaced during monotheism by Maria i.e. Fatima. Researching her role in the ancient times I discovered that she was actually dedicated to the Persian goddess of rain and fertility Tir, which is evidenced by one magical formula.
Her particularity is that it can allegedly survive for a few centuries, until it receives an excessive amount of water, which was another reason for creation of the cult for this plant. Probably because of all of the above a cult was created around her, based on the belief that it possesses numerous magical, healing but also practical abilities. Namely, it is believed that if it is placed underneath a bed it will remove insomnia. It has a characteristic to repel mosquitoes with its smell, while dry, but when it absorbs water it moisturizes air inside a room and absorbs smoke.
It helps with birth but also in curing cancer
In traditional Arabic medicine for this plant, it is believed that it possesses various beneficial therapeutic properties; it helps with low circulation in hands and legs, pain in joints, neutralizes gases inside the body, stabilises uric acid in the body (gout), helps in normalising cholesterol, raises immunity, helps with skin diseases, etc. Similarly, it is considered that it helps with regulating menstrual cycles, that it reduces menstrual cramps, raises the level of female hormones, speeds up recovery after birth and some claim that it is ideal for loosing weight.
The plant can apparently even cure cancer, a lighter stroke and high blood pressure. Method of treatment is pretty simple and is based on drinking water. Above a bowl of warm water one utters at least 200 times Fatiha and Ayatul Kursi which is then drunk three times daily, or until it is completely drunk.
When it is used for the purpose of helping during birth then there is a rule that it shouldn’t be submerged in boiling or hot water, because of the belief that it can cause stricture of the womb and close the child’s path i.e. complicate birth. The bush is submerged in fresh water over night or is held in a vessel with water 1-3 days, so that the roots can absorb enough water and spread. After a successful birth the plant was usually given to the child as a gift, as a symbol of health and happiness in the family.
Traditionally among the Arabs, Turks, Malaysians, Iranians, Indonesians it was used as a medium for strengthening intuition and self-confidence. The bush was placed in water and when the root has opened up, one repeats the prayer Ihlas or Fatiha 100 times, blowing each time into the bush, and in the end the water is drunk with the prayer to Allah to help with plans and future business.
Ritual for annulling evil
On Tuesday or Saturday, place Hazrat Fatima hand in a black metal bowl with water. Light a white candle next to it and repeat Ayatul Kursi three times. Repeat this procedure three days in a row. On the third day, place the water from the bowl into a bottle from which you will sprinkle from the outside the entrance door in the house and utter Ayatul Kursi. With that you will neutralise the effect of spellbound eyes and all other evil from your home.