Tuesday, 2 March 2010

THE DATE FRUIT

The date palm is said to have been originated most likely somewhere in the desert oases of North Africa. Some sources say that it may have originated in the lands around the Persian Gulf and is said to have been especially abundant between the Nile and Euphrates rivers in ancient times.
Among others, dates are said to have medicinal properties. These include its use as a detersive and astringent in intestinal troubles. What makes this possible is the tannin content of the fruit. Tannin is an astringent, meaning that it is a chemical that tends to shrink or contract body tissues. Medicines that are considered as astringent cause the mucous membranes or exposed tissues to shrink and are helpful for putting a check on discharge of blood serum or mucous secretions. When viewed in light of intestinal troubles, dates can have the same effect as astringent medicines when it comes to diarrhea, for instance. Date can also be administered in cases of sore throat, colds and bronchial catarrh. In cases such as these, date may be administered as an infusion, decoction, syrup or paste. Other health conditions for which date may be useful include fever, cystitis, gonorrhea, edema, liver and abdominal problems. Date is also said to be useful for counteracting alcohol intoxication. Aside from this, the date’s seed powder is also an active ingredient in a paste that’s used to relieve ague, which is a fever accompanied by chills and sweats, recurring at regular intervals such as in malaria.
Aside from the fruits, there are also medicinal or herbal properties that can be extracted from other parts of the date palm. For instance, when the date palm trunk is wounded, a gum ensue which can be used to treat diarrhea (as mentioned above) and certain genito-urinary ailments. It is also said to be demulcent meaning that the composition includes agents or ingredients that form a soothing film over a mucous membrane. This is especially useful when treating irritations and inflammations in membranes such as those encountered when there is a cough. Dates are also said to be diuretic, which means that they can help a person urinate, possibly because of its’ other properties that can help the organs facilitate the removal of waste materials from the bodies. The roots of date palms can also be used for toothache. In addition to this, certain sources also place dates as a good source of iron and is also said to enhance sexual energy and fertility as well.
Date palms are believed to be generally safe and there seems to be little mention of any contraindication when it comes to the date fruit. Perhaps this is because dates are viewed not as herbs but as fruits that have their own medicinal properties. However, in medicines or products that contain dates, it is still best to consult with a doctor when using it for the purposes of soothing or relieving a particular condition. Scarce mention, it seems, is also made regarding any harmful drug interaction.

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