Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Arecaceae (family), date sugar palm, edible dates, fluorine, pectin, Phoenix canariensis, Phoenix dactylifera, Phoenix sylvestris Roxb, profilin, selenium, sun-dried date.
The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) has a long history of cultivation and its fruit has been used as a source of nutrition. Although its exact native distribution is unknown, it probably originated somewhere in the desert oases of northern Africa and perhaps also southwest Asia.
Today, date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) fruits are part of the daily diet in many Middle Eastern and neighboring countries. Extracts of the date palm kernel have been evaluated in scientific studies for use as a topical antiwrinkle agent. Date palm is not listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Skin aging (wrinkles)
Plant hormones found in date palm kernel may have anti-aging benefits. However, currently, there is insufficient available evidence to recommend for or against the use of date palm as an antiwrinkle agent.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Cancer, decaying teeth (prevention).
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for date palm in adults. Date palm kernel has been studied in a cream formula and applied twice a day for five weeks in the eye area to reduce fine wrinkles; this dose has not been proven effective.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for date palm in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to date palm fruit or pollen. Date palm is among the most common allergens in Arab countries. Allergies to pollen from date palms and similarly cultivated species have been shown to cause allergic rhinitis, wheezing, rhinoconjunctivitis, and bronchial asthma.
Side Effects and Warnings
Date palm is likely safe when used in food amounts in nonallergic people. However, date palm is not listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list.
Date palm fruit has been associated with oral allergy syndrome, allergic rhinitis, wheezing, rhinoconjunctivitis, and bronchial asthma.
Foreign body puncture wounds due to date palm thorns or thorn fragments, some causing systemic illness and requiring surgical removal, have been reported. Several cases of articular synovitis, bony pseudotumors, granulomatous synovitis, and synovitis (all types of join inflammation) due to embedded date palm thorns or thorn fragments have been reported in regions where date palm trees are an indigenous species.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Date palm is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Insufficient available evidence.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Insufficient available evidence.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Adams CD, Timms FJ, Hanlon M. Phoenix date palm injuries: a review of injuries from the Phoenix date palm treated at the Starship Children's Hospital. Aust.N.Z.J.Surg. 2000;70(5):355-357. View Abstract
Al Farsi M, Alasalvar C, Morris A, et al. Compositional and sensory characteristics of three native sun-dried date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) varieties grown in Oman. J Agric Food Chem 9-21-2005;53(19):7586-7591. View Abstract
Al Shahib W, Marshall RJ. The fruit of the date palm: its possible use as the best food for the future? Int.J.Food Sci.Nutr. 2003;54(4):247-259. View Abstract
Almehdi AM, Maraqa M, Abdulkhalik S. Aerobiological studies and low allerginicity of date-palm pollen in the UAE. Int J Environ.Health Res 2005;15(3):217-224. View Abstract
Asturias JA, Ibarrola I, Fernandez J, et al. Pho d 2, a major allergen from date palm pollen, is a profilin: cloning, sequencing, and immunoglobulin E cross-reactivity with other profilins. Clin Exp Allergy 2005;35(3):374-381. View Abstract
Bauza E, Dal Farra C, Berghi A, et al. Date palm kernel extract exhibits antiaging properties and significantly reduces skin wrinkles. Int.J.Tissue React. 2002;24(4):131-136. View Abstract
Bener A, Safa W, Abdulhalik S, et al. An analysis of skin prick test reactions in asthmatics in a hot climate and desert environment. Allerg.Immunol (Paris) 2002;34(8):281-286. View Abstract
Copley MS, Rose PJ, Clapham A, et al. Detection of palm fruit lipids in archaeological pottery from Qasr Ibrim, Egyptian Nubia. Proc Biol Sci 3-22-2001;268(1467):593-597. View Abstract
Kwaasi AA. Date palm and sandstorm-borne allergens. Clin.Exp.Allergy 2003;33(4):419-426. View Abstract
Kwaasi AA, Harfi HA, Parhar RS, et al. Cultivar-specific IgE-epitopes in date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) fruit allergy. Correlation of skin test reactivity and ige-binding properties in selecting date cultivars for allergen standardization. Int.Arch.Allergy Immunol. 2000;123(2):137-144. View Abstract
Kwaasi AA, Harfi HA, Parhar RS, et al. Cross-reactivities between date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) polypeptides and foods implicated in the oral allergy syndrome. Allergy 2002;57(6):508-518. View Abstract
Luby SP, Rahman M, Hossain MJ, et al. Foodborne transmission of Nipah virus, Bangladesh. Emerg.Infect.Dis 2006;12(12):1888-1894. View Abstract
Moore JE, Xu J, Millar BC, et al. Edible dates (Phoenix dactylifera), a potential source of Cladosporium cladosporioides and Sporobolomyces roseus: implications for public health. Mycopathologia 2002;154(1):25-28. View Abstract
Taskiran E, Toros T. Chronic synovitis caused by a date palm thorn: An unusual clinical picture. Arthroscopy 2002;18(2):E7. View Abstract
Waibel KH. Allergic rhinitis in the Middle East. Mil.Med 2005;170(12):1026-1028. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017