Mahlab, also called mahleb, is an aromatic spice that is derived from the seeds of a cherry species called Prunus mahaleb. With a flavor comparable to the blend of cherry and bitter almond, mahleb is usually used in small amounts to enhance the taste of cakes and other sweet foods. As a spice, the following are its health benefits.

Mahlab Nutrients

Mahlab contains vitamin E and fatty acids. Vitamin E helps improve the condition of the skin while fatty acids provide energy to the body. Also, fatty acids provide insulation to the body when the temperature drops. According to Research Gate, white mahlan seed contains 31 percent oil, which is polyunsaturated and rich in linoleic acid, oleic acid, and alpha eleostearic acids, which comprise 93.91 percent of the total fatty acids. As per the publication, the said oil also contains relatively high amounts of tocopherol or vitamin E, with y-tocopherol as the principal tocopherol isomer.

Mahlab seeds are also rich in minerals. As per Organic Facts, seeds and nuts provide nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Phosphorus works hand in hand with calcium to promote the strength of the bones and teeth. On the other hand, magnesium boosts neuromuscular function, preventing weakness during movement. Then, potassium helps in muscular contractility, such as the heart muscle. It also plays a role in body fluid regulation, along with sodium. Sodium retains water in the body while potassium helps excrete fluid excess from the body. It also relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels; thus it improves blood flow and circulation and prevents rise in blood pressure of hypertension.

Mahlab, Inflammation, and Sleep

Mahlab also helps reduce inflammation and promote sleep. According to 196 Flavors, mahlab cotains coumarin in the seeds which has anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. Thus, mahlab may play a role in injuries or swollen extremities, as well as to people who find it hard to rest and sleep. These properties are in addition to resolving urinary problems, especially in people in the Middle East. In the said territory, mahlab is prescribed to patients with urinary problems, such as urinary stones.

Sample Recipe

Mahlab can be added to different meal recipes like Half Moon Cookies Sumboosic. According to Cooks, the ingredients include half teaspoon of ground mahlab, six cups flour, a cup of rendered butter, one cup of oil, half teaspoon of cinnamon, half teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of ground anise seed yansoon, a teaspoon of baking powder, one pound ground walnuts, half cup sugar, one teaspoon mazzaher, two cups syrup, and milk.

To prepare, as per the publication, mahlab, butter, flour, oil, salt, baking powder, and anise seed are mixed. Then, milk is added to blend them together. The resulting mixture is kneaded for several minutes until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Next, it is made into walnut size balls. Once done, the dough is rolled into circles and about a teaspoon of filling (mahlab, sugar, and ground walnuts) is placed into each circle. Then, the half-moon shape is folded over and the edge is sealed by pressing with a fork. Next, a cookie sheet is placed about one-fourth inch apart and the food is baked at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until it becomes light brown. When it cools, syrup is dipped in and colander is drained in. As per the publication, the food can be prepared by sprinkling hot sumboosic with confectioners’ sugar.

Mahlab is considered a healthy food ingredient due to its nutritional contents. Thus, its addition to a wide variety of food options enables improvement of a person’s health and well-being.