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Dates (Arabic: تمر - Tamr) have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. They are believed to have originated around the Persian Gulf, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 6000 BC. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 4,000 BC.

Dates are an important traditional crop in Iraq, Arabia, and north Africa west to Morocco and are mentioned many places in the Quran. In Islamic countries, dates and milk are a traditional first meal when the sun sets during Ramadan. Dates (especially Medjool and Deglet Noor) are also cultivated in southern California in the United States.

Date palms take about 7 years after planting before they will bear fruit, and produce viable yields for commercial harvest after about 10 years. Mature date palms can produce 80-120 kilograms of dates per harvest season, although they do not all ripen at the same time so several harvests are required. In order to get fruit of marketable quality, the bunch of dates must be thinned before ripening so that the remaining fruits grow larger.


Dry or soft dates are eaten out-of-hand, or may be seeded and stuffed with fillings such as almonds, candied orange and lemon peel, and marzipan. Dates can also be chopped and used in a range of sweet and savoury dishes, from tajines (tagines) in Morocco to puddings, bread, cakes and other dessert items.

Dates have high tannin content and are used medicinally as a detersive (having cleansing power) and astringent in intestinal troubles. As an infusion, decoction, syrup, or paste, dates may be administered for sore throat, colds, bronchial catarrh, and taken to relieve fever and number of other complaints. One traditional belief is that it can counteract alcohol intoxication. The seed powder is also used in some traditional medicines.

A gum that exudes from the wounded trunk is employed in India for treating diarrhea and genito-urinary ailments. The roots are used against toothache. The pollen yields an estrogenic principle, estrone, and has a gonadotropic effect on young rats.

Dates have a unique high nutritional value. They maintain good overall body health and give vitality to all age groups of both sexes.
We can sum up the ingredients of dates and their nutritional value, as follows:

  Ingredients Nutritional Value
  saccharides (glucose- fructose) simple sures, easy to be absorbed and assimilate into energy.
  • maintain the health of digestive system and prevent intestinal cancers .
  • act as natural laxative .
  • prevent teeth decay.
  • Removal microbial toxins
  • Protection from diarrhea
  • prevent teeth decay.
  • prevent anemia and treat food imbalance( iron deficiency) .
  • improve body activity and sexual efficiency .
      Potassium prevent high blood pressure and cardiac diseases
  • build up bones and healthy teeth.
  • necessary for male and female fertility.
  • necessary for growth of brain and nervous system .
      Calcium build up bones and healthy teeth
    Further, dates are free from cholesterol and have very low level of fats (0.2%) and sodium . Thus, eating of dates is important to prevent heart and blood veins diseases. Besides, regular eating of dates by pregnant women guarantees easy delivery and maintenance of the health of mother and child before and after delivery.

    Popular medicine
    Dates, a food and a medicine -

    God the Almighty says:
    وَهُزِّىۤ إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ ٱلنَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَباً جَنِيّاً * فَكُلِي وَٱشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْناً ....... (مريم 25 ،26)
    (Shake also to thee the palm-trunk, and there shall come tumbling upon thee dates fresh and ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted ;…..)

    يُنبِتُ لَكُمْ بِهِ ٱلزَّرْعَ وَٱلزَّيْتُونَ وَٱلنَّخِيلَ وَٱلأَعْنَابَ وَمِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَاتِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ. (سورة النحل 11)
    And thereby He brings forth for you crops, and olives, and palms, and vines, and all kinds of fruit. Surely in that is a sign for a people who reflect.)

    وَزَيْتُوناً وَنَخْلاً ) سورة عبس 29 ( (And olive trees and date-palms)

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said:

    مَنْ تََصَبَّحَ بِسَبْعِ تَمَرَاتٍ مِنْ تَمْرِ الْعَالِيَةِ "اَلْمَدِينَةِ الْمُنَوَّرَة" لَمْ يَضُرَّهُ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمَ سُمٌّ وَلاَ سِحْرٌ. (صحيح البخاري)
    (Whoever eats seven date fruits of the high land “Medina Munawwarah” in the morning, no poison or sorcery shall hurt him that day.)

    Thus date fruits are both food and medicine. There is energy, protection, and cure in it. Next to breast milk, it is the first food that enters a baby’s stomach. ‘Massaging the palate’ with date fruits is done on account of the great benefits in it. It was on account of their high nutritive value that the prophet had taken only dates and water for ninety days. So, in fact, a house where there are no dates, its occupants will be hungry.

    Nutritious value of dates:

    Sugars: Dates contain 70-78% of sugars that are distinguished for easy absorption and assimilation in the body. These provide the body with energy, vitality within minutes of consumption.

    Proteins and fats:Dates excel all other fruits in the proportion of proteins; it contains 2% of proteins by weight and 2-3 % of harmless vegetable fats totally devoid of cholesterol.

    Minerals: The date fruit is often called a ‘mine' due to the abundance of minerals contained in it. Every 100 grams of dates contain 40-72 mg. of phosphorus, 65-71 mg. of calcium, 65 mg. of magnesium, 2-4 mg. of iron, 90mg. of potassium, 65mg. of sulphur, 3mg. of chlorine and 9mg. of sodium.

    It can be noticed that the proportion of phosphorus in the date fruit is very high and so also magnesium which is capable of preventing cancer. Hence seldom do we see a cancer patient among the Bedouin Arabs who rely on date fruits for their main food.
    Vitamins: Dates contain some of the important vitamins like A, D and BB. These fruits also contain a substance that stimulates contraction of the womb and increases its shrinking capacity especially during delivery. This substance resembles oxytocin. Lastly, we can say that 1mg. of dates gives the body energy equal to 3470 calories which is a quantity larger than the adult man’s daily requirement.

    Therapeutic Uses of Dates:

    Due to the balanced proportion of magnesium in the date fruit it is eaten for prevention of cancer, taking seven date fruits daily on an empty stomach. It is also taken as a remedy for anemia and loss of blood and for the diseases of the gums. Next to honey, it is the best purifier and restorative for the colon and it protects the stomach from cancer. The spadix of date palms mixed with honey and made into a paste is taken as a tonic and as a medicine for infertility.

    Dates are also the best remedy for the diseases of the urethra because it is a good diuretic and purifier and removes excess salts from the body. The date seeds, roasted and ground like coffee beans and a spoonful of it taken on an empty stomach along with barley water, will definitely disintegrate kidney stones.

    If a pregnant woman takes spadix of the date palm, it will help easy delivery, and if it is drunk as mixed with vinegar and oak apple, it will prevent gonorrhea and hemorrhage.

    It has been noticed that Bedouin children are the strongest children in the world for two things: dates and sunshine; dates strengthen their body, blood and bones and prevent rickets, and build up their body resistance. Date seeds burned and ground with equal quantity of antimony, if smeared on eyes will heal eye sore.

    Considering that dates contain vitamin A, it is eaten for improving eye sight and for the cure of night blindness and dryness in the eyes and to prevent eye diseases.

    Also, vitamin B contained in dates soothes and tranquilizes the nerves, and relaxes the heart and cheers the mind. It cures jaundice and other diseases of the liver and prevents inflammation of the gall bladder. As it contains phosphorus, it is a cure for general body fatigue and weakness of the nerves. Dates are often called ‘vaccine pills’. In combination with honey it is used by men and women for vitality and as a tonic for women for the treatment of infertility. The alkaline salts in dates fight acidity; hence eating a few dates will totally relieve the stomach from acidity. Date fruits, especially if taken along with a cup of milk before breakfast heal ‘nervy colon’. For the treatment of emaciation, dates are taken along with plantains or groundnuts.

    If you are troubled by the nervousness of your husband or children, know that the balm for their relief and also for your relief is to feed them one date fruit daily and you hall see the benefit. As the dates contain large proportion of sugars, it is an active invigorating agent and a best cure for colds and lassitude. Also the date seeds, roasted and ground like coffee seeds and a spoonful of it taken with barley water on an empty stomach for one week, will disintegrate kidney stones and cleanse the urethra completely. Dates, jujube, dry olive seeds, and raisins can be boiled in water, and a cup of it taken daily on an empty stomach will protect the chest and cure coughs. Dates are a good remedy for dizziness as it controls the movement of the ear and, as they contain iron and calcium, they are essential for the formation of bones, teeth and brain tissues. Moreover, iron fortifies blood, calcium is the basis of bones, and here is proof for the scientific wonders stated in the holy Quran, word of the Lord of the universe. Thus a woman in childhood requires iron, sugars and fats for her energy, phosphorus and calcium for her bones, and a combination of minerals and vitamins for power and vitality of the body.

    Dates have got another characteristic: they contain a substance called molasses that purifies the chest and expels sputum, and cures coughs and soothes joint pains. The fruit contains vitamin A and vitamin B B and hence is an exemplar remedy for nervous tension and anxiety. If the fruits are kneaded and made into a paste with nigella seeds and a cup of the same is taken in the morning that will strengthen the heart and stop stiffening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and will cure dizziness and fatigue and strengthen the nerves.

    The following are some of the important uses of date fruits:

    If a person on fast begins his breakfast with a few date fruits, as they contain vitamin B1, B2 and B B, that will help prepare his stomach to receive food and tone it down, and as they contain several sugars, that will compensate for the loss of several energizing, invigorating and vitalizing agents from the body. Also, as it contains iron the fasting person gets his blood strengthened and his liver invigorated. Indeed, people generally break their fast with dates. From these facts we understand the secret behind the faster taking dates and the child getting his palate massaged with dates.  

    The date fruit contains carotene in a large proportion and also contains phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. Hence it is the strongest antidote and sturdy shield against cancer, “the wicked disease”. If taken mixed with honey, nigella seeds and senna leaves in equal quantities, it can, God willing, cure cancer; and experience is the best evidence.


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