RIYADH: Beyond the beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage, AlUla is also home to many beautiful plants and trees.
The Moringa peregrina tree, found abundantly in the region, has recently come under the spotlight due to its economic opportunities.
For centuries, the Moringa peregrina has been prized for its medicinal properties and health benefits.
AlUla locals are now working to spread those properties to tourists from around the world, and bringing in some great business for the region.
Arab News visited Ghosain AlBan, one of the stores in AlUla’s old town that specializes in selling Moringa oil products.
“Our ancestors used Moringa oil for cooking as it is good for health. It has many cosmetic and health benefits because it is a cholesterol-free vegetable oil rich in amino acids, rich in calcium, iron, zinc, with vitamin A, B and C, and omega 3, 6 and 9,” said Azah Aljhani, the store’s owner.
The Aljhani family bought a farm and planted about 2,000 Moringa trees to extract oil, pick the leaves for tea and make powders that add flavor to plenty of meals.
“My family and I took the course supported by the AlUla Peregrina Center on how to plant the tree and how to sort it and preserve it, and we were trained by experts from France,” she said.
Aljhani then came up with the idea of making body products. In 2019, she joined a course that the Royal Commission of AlUla was offering for the locals, where they learned how to extract oil and make byproducts that would be ready to go on shelves.
“I made my first soap from Moringa oil and sold it in the Winter of Tantora seasons festivals of 2018 and 2019, and it impressed the 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 face oils, creams and scrubs. She opened her first store in the city in 2020, and in four months she received support from the Royal Commission of AlUla to open a branch in AlUla old town — a perfect location for tourists and visitors.
“The store gets 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 Royal Commission of AlUla for its support for local businesses.
“Every step we took to make this business happen, the Royal Commission of AlUla was behind it, they have zero benefits from the store and they are enriching AlUla with local business and this by itself is an amazing step towards increasing the local production in the region and create jobs for locals,” AlJhani said.
The Peregrina Center in AlUla, created by the royal commission, supports the production of Pergerina oil, and provides workshops for locals to benefit from the oil’s many uses.