The Maryam flower is a small shrub that is collected in North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, and among its most popular uses is its use for childbirth. Whether its properties encourage dilation or it is a powerful visualization tool for mothers, traditional midwives have used the Maryam flower with their laboring mothers for hundreds of years. A quick glance at its names (below) suggests its religious significance: it is referred to as "the hand of Fatima" (daughter of the Prophet ﷺ), as well as simply "daughter of the Prophet ﷺ," and "resurrection plant."
The Maryam flower is remarkable for its ability to survive in dry conditions - it simply dries up into a ball and waits for the next rain, revealing small slender leaves and tiny white flowers. It is hygroscopic; its branches immediately reconstitute themselves in the presence of water. It is picked (leaves, woody parts and seeds) in February to April from shallow gravelly desert soil and allowed to dry.
In some places it is burned as incense during labor, made into a powder mixed with olive oil and honey, and as a liquid from fresh leaves. It has also found its way to Europe, where it is used for Christmas celebrations. It is also used in countries where it does not grow; in Malaysia it is commonly used for births, with many women purchasing herbs directly from traditional midwives.