Serghina, sarghine (botanical name: corrigiola thelephifolia) is a plant with fibrous and gnarled roots and small white flowers, from the Caryophyllaceae family. Moroccan herbalists know very well how to recognize it. They claim that its primary use is medicinal, since it is fortifying, diuretic, tonic, deodorant and antibacterial.
The women in Fez prepare the sarghina roots themselves with an ancestral technique. They wash them with orange blossom water, color them red, yellow or green, cut them into small pieces and leave to dry in the shade for several days. This incense with powerful scents is sold in small cups with small pieces of alum and agalloche wood "oud el kmari".
According to popular beliefs, fumigations of the root of this plant have magical properties, particularly against the evil eye. Some very old Arab medicine treatises cite the therapeutic virtues of the serghina decoction or "berber perfume", in particular its aphrodisiac power, specifying that it is good to breathe its fumigations because it strengthens the brain, heals coryza, perfumes and deodorizes the body.
We understand better why it is offered in the trousseau of the brides. Our mischievous ancestors rocked us with stories of magic. It is our turn today to pay tribute to them by protecting the cultivation and export of this small plant which, it seems, only grows in Morocco.