Dates

Madhumati Tyagi and Geetha Patil

Dates or Khajoor (Phoenix sylvestris) are the fruits of the date palm tree, which is grown in many tropical regions of the world. They are rich in carbohydrates, potassium, and manganese and iron having various medicinal properties. Dates are chewy with a sweet flavor. They are also high in some important nutrients and have a variety of advantages and uses. Wrinkled skin of the date indicates they are dried, whereas smooth skin indicates freshness. Depending on the variety, fresh dates are fairly small in size and range in color from bright red to bright yellow. Commonly consumed varieties include Medjool and Deglet Noor dates.

Dates are fast becoming popular as a sugar substitute for fitness enthusiasts who are cutting on sugar to lose weight and avoid chronic diseases. Dates help to improve digestion and prevent constipation as they have a high fiber content. They also improve bone health due to the presence of minerals like calcium and magnesium. When taken in a limited amount, Dates are considered good for diabetic patients as they have a low glycemic index due to which they do not cause a sudden rise in blood sugar levels. Dates also support mental health and help manage memory related issues due to their antioxidant properties. The antioxidants present in Dates also help impart a smooth texture to the skin and prevent signs of ageing. Adding Dates to your daily diet might be beneficial in managing anemia as they improve hemoglobin level due to high iron content. They help maintain overall health and vigor.

Names in different languages:  In English it is called date palm, wild palm, in Arabic Rutab, in Bengali Khejur, in Gujarat Khareka, in Malayalam Eethapala, n Marathi Khajura, in Tamil Ichan, Licham in TelguPedayta, in Manipuri Thangtup, in Kannada Kajjura.

Morphology of Khajoor Tree: Khajoor is a medium sized tree growing 10 to 15 meter, found in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh, and abundantly found in Arab countries and Africa. The stem is brown and about 3 feet in diameter having marks of the leaves. The leaves are 10 to 14 feet long, having small spikes at the base. The flowers are nonsexual in nature, have pleasant odor with male flowers in white and female flowers having greens tinge. The fruits are orange colored and sweet in taste on ripening with a single thick seed inside. The fresh juice from the leaves is also collected and stored to form a type of alcohol or used to prepare jaggery.

Types of Khajoor: There are five types – Khajoor, Penda Khajoor, Raja Khajoor, Madhu Khajoor, and Bukha Khajoor.

Properties: Rasa (taste) – Madhura (sweet), Guna (qualities) – Guru (heavy for digestion), Snigdha (slimy in nature), Vipaka – Madhura (undergoes sweet taste after digestion), Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (cold),Karma (actions) – Vataptta shamaka (reduce vitiated vata and pitta dosha), Balya (provide strength), Pharmacological activities – Aphrodisiac, Diuretic, Cardiotonic, Nervine tonic

The Pinda Khajoor sweet in state, unctuous in nature, treats burning sensation, bleeding disorders, thirst, and edema, also a cardio tonic, imparts strength and vitality and provides nourishment to the body is heavy for digestion and hence deceases the digestive fire.

Indications and uses of dates:Kshata – injury, bleeding, Kshaya – depletion of body tissues, weight loss, tuberculosis, Raktapitta – bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc., Jwara – fever, Kshut – excess hunger, Trushna – excessive thirst, Kasa – cough, cold, Shwasa – asthma and chronic respiratory disorders.

The characteristics of drink/juice prepared from the fruit/plant: Madakara– intoxicating, Pitta Kara – increases pitta dosha, Balances vata and Kapha dosha, Ruchya – improves taste, relieves anorexia, Deepana – improves digestion strength, Balakara – improves strength and immunity, Shukrala – improves sperm and semen quality and quality.

Traditional uses and indications of different part of Khajoor:

Sap: Fresh juice is cooling, laxative and nutritive.

Gum: In diarrhea and in genitourinary system.

Fruit pulp: Anti asthalmic, antidysenteric, antitussive, Aphrodisiac, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant laxative, restorative and Tonic.

Seeds: Paste is used in ophthalmic condition, to relieve headache and hemicranias.

Root: Nervous debility and tooth ache

  • Cough – Linctus made of Khajoor, Pippali Draksha, Sharkara and parched paddy. Each in equal quantity added with honey and ghee is an excellent remedy for cough caused by pitta.
  • Vomiting – Khajoor pulp, coconut, Draksha or badara should be taken as linctus.
  • Hematuria – Decoction of Khajoor, Kashmarya, Tinduka, guduch with honey check the Hematuria. Consumption of ghee mixed with Khajoor, Draksha, sugar, honey and Pippali alleviates hoarseness of voice, cough, asthma and fever.
  • Grahani – Fermented juice of Draksha, Khajoor should be used.
  • Abnormal taste – Paste of Draksha and Khajoor kept in mouth and gurgling should be done.
  • Hiccough – pulp of Khajoor or Pippali mixed with honey should be used.
  • Intrinsic Hemorrhage – Khajoor fruits mixed with Honey.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Squash of the fruits of Khajoor.
  • Rakthapitta – The powders of Khajoor, almond, raisins and rock candy in equal quantity along with honey.
  • Madathyaya – Bronchial asthma and hiccup – Kharjuradi leha with ghee and honey.
  • Anemia, piles, hepatitis and diabetes – Khajoorasava externally.
  • For toothache – powder of Khajoor roots is applied topically or gargle with decoction of root
  • Thirst – By the virtue of its extreme cold potency, it appeases the Raktapitta dosha and clears the thirst, inebriated state.
  • Aging and wrinkles: Due to the high antioxidant content, applying a paste of Dates with milk and honey on the skin helps to get rid of wrinkles.
  • Virility – The Khajoor fruit increases the virility of the person by its oily and nourishing properties.
  • Poison, body ache, dyspnea, and hiccough– It is beneficial to be consumed by persons who are suffering from emaciation, affected by consuming poison, body ache, dyspnea, and hiccough.
  • Bleeding – Pinda Khajoor is epistaxis, where it helps control the bleeding from nasal cavity.
  • Weight gain – The Khajoor increases the Kapha dosha and becomes a cause for decreasing the digestive fire when consumed in excess. It promotes bulkiness of the body and relieves dysuria.

Adverse effects: No adverse effects are known or reports but diabetic patients should eat them moderately to avoid their blood sugar level increase. As per Ayurveda, excessive consumption of dates should be avoided as they are Guru (heavy) in nature and are heavy to digest. No side effects when eaten on homeopathic medicines and other supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids. If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised, then it s best to take Allopathic medicines first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicines.