What is Mahlo (Mahleb)?
Mahlo; seeds of beauty and aroma
Mahlo is seeds of a wild plant (bitter cherry) that grows in the Mediterranean, Southeast Europe and west Asia.
In southwest of Iran, native people collect and color these white seeds so they come in variety of colors. Mahlo’s seeds are common jewelry materials among Qashqai tribe in Iran. They make Mahlo necklace with these colorful seeds.
The artisans of Mahlo necklace are Qashqai women. Craftswomen learned the art (of making necklace) from their mothers and passed it on to their eldest daughters. It is custom to wear Mahlo necklace in Qashqai bridals.
In the past this necklace was an everyday item but nowadays they aren’t but it is an absolute essential for the bride and it is a standard among poor and rich to wear this necklace in their weddings.
Those days traditional necklaces were preferred on gold craft because Qashqai people believed that gold only glittered but Mahlo gave off a strong sweet scent.
They made this magical necklace just with Mahlo’s seeds and shiny beads but todays they use other materials in made of this traditional necklace.
They believe that Mahlo fragrance removes headache and makes you relax. Also its sweet scent improves asthma. It is used in the production of perfumes too.
In Arabic it is called Mahleb. Mahleb (belongs to rose family) is seeds of a species cherry. They make spice from these aromatic seeds.
Easterners collect Mahleb seeds then dry and crack them in order to extract the seed kernel which is soft and chewy. The seed kernel is ground to a flavor before use. Also they use Mahleb as flavor breads, cookies, biscuits and other bake goods. A powdered version of Mahleb is more common among them.