Botanical Name :: Phoenix dactylifera
Indian Name :: Khajur
The dates is one of the most nourishing fruits. It is a food of great importance and is called the bread of the Sahara . But its use is now universal. It is included in the categories of both dry and fresh fruit The date is a cylindrical fruit of yellow to reddish brown color. It has’ fleshy pericarp surrounding a single seed containing 60 to 70 per cent sugar. The tree-ripe fresh date is delicious fruit. It, however, undergoes fermentation very rapidly. It is, therefore, dried in the sun. The fruit looses about 35 per cent of its weight in the process of drying.
Origin and Distribution
The dates is held in high esteem from ancient times and is one of the earliest fruits cultivated by man. In Mesopotamia, more than 5,000 years old bricks have been found to contain instructions for growing date palms. The ancient monuments of Egypt have been found to contain carved figures of date palms There are numerous references to the palm and its fruit in the Bible, testifying to its manifold virtues Prophet Mohammed believed that the first date palm was made from the tempered dust which remained after the formation of Adam. The original home of date is believed to be in the Persian Gulf area or in Mesopotamia . It is now classed as one of the standard crops of world agriculture and is widely grown in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Spain, Italy, China and U.S.A.
The dates is a food of high nutritional value. It provides natural sugar in the form of glucose and fructose. This sugar is ready for immediate absorption and is, therefore, infinitely superior to cane sugar. It is usually taken raw or with milk, which makes it highly nutritious in most respects. Taking it with curdled milk is also common. In Sahara, rich people take with butter by removing the seed and filling the cavity with butter. It is a scientific way of taking fat. It is also taken in several cooked forms. The seeds of the fruit, roasted and ground into powder makes a beverage like coffee, called ‘date coffee’ The date palm yields a sweet juice of high food value. It can be taken fresh with great advantage or make into a tasty country sugar. The juice can also be allowed to ferment and made into alcohol.
Minerals and Vitamins
Moisture – 15.3%
Calcium – 120 mg
|Protein – 2.5%||Phosphorus – 50 mg|
|Fat – 0.4%||Iron – 7.3 mg|
|Minerals – 2.1%||Vitamin C – 3 mg|
|Carbohydrates – 75.8%||Little amount of Vitamin B Complex|
|Fibre – 3.9%||* Values per 100 gm’s edible portion|
|** International Unit||Calorific Value – 317|
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties
Dates are valuable as medicine for their tonic effect. Being easily digested, they are very useful for supplying energy and repairing waste. Milk in which clean and fresh dates have been boiled is a very nourishing and restorative drink to children and adults alike, especially during convalescence.
- Intestinal Disturbances:- The nicotinic content in dates is an excellent remedy for intestinal disturbances. According to Metchnikoff, the great Russian scientist, liberal use of dates keeps in check the growth of pathological organisms and helps to establish a colony of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
- Constipation:– The dates is a laxative food. It is highly beneficial in the treatment of constipation as the roughage provided by it stimulates sluggish bowels. They should be immersed in water at night and taken after making them into a fine syrup the next morning to secure laxaive effect.
- Intoxication:- Dates are an excellent remedy for alcoholic intoxication. In such cases, drinking water in which fresh dates have been rubbed or soaked will bring quick relief.
- Weak Heart:– Dates are an effective remedy for weak heart. Dates soaked overnight in water and crushed in the same water in the morning after removing the seeds should be taken at least twice a week in this condition. It will strengthen the heart.
- Sexual Debility:– Dates are highly beneficial in the treatment of sexual packing condition and to wash them thoroughly before use weakness. A handful of dates soaked in fresh goat’s milk overnight should be ground in the same milk in the morning. A pinch of cardamom powder and honey should be mixed in this preparation. This becomes a very useful tonic for improving sex stamina and sterility due to functional disorders.
- Children’s Diseases:- According to Dr. Aman, a date tied to the wrist of the baby and allowed to be sucked by him during teething time hardens the gums and prevents other complaints like fretfulness and diarrhea. A teaspoonful of paste of the date prepared with honey is an effective medicine during diarrhea and dysentery during teething. It should be given three times a day.
The dates require great care for selection. The sticky surface of the date attracts dust and impurities of the air to settle there. It is, therefore, advisable to purchase the best varieties in good packing condition and to wash them thoroughly before use.