N Vyawahare, R Pujari, A Khsirsagar, D Ingawale, M Patil, V Kagathara
arecaceae, pharmacological activities, phoenix dactylifera, phytochemistry
N Vyawahare, R Pujari, A Khsirsagar, D Ingawale, M Patil, V Kagathara. Phoenix dactylifera: An update of its indegenous uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. The Internet Journal of Pharmacology. 2008 Volume 7 Number 1.
The role of traditional medicines in the solution of health problems is invaluable on a global level. Medicinal plants continue to provide valuable therapeutic agents, both in modern and in traditional medicine 1 . With the associated side effects of the modern medicine, traditional medicines are gaining importance and are now being studied to find the scientific basis of their therapeutic actions 2 . Research work on medicinal plants has intensified and information on these plants has been exchanged. This research will go a long way in the scientific exploration of medicinal plants for the benefit of man and is likely to decrease the dependence on synthetic drugs 3 .
The date palm (
Phytochemically the whole plant contains carbohydrates, alkaloids, steroids, flavonoids, vitamins and tannins. The phenolic profile of the plant revealed the presence of mainly cinnamic acids (ferulic, sinapic and coumaric acids and their derivatives, such as 5-o-caffeoylshikimic acid also called as dactyliferic acid), flavonoid glycosides (luteolin, methyl luteolin, quercetin, and methyl quercetin), flavanols (catechin, epicatechin) 121314 . Four free phenolic acids (protocatechuic acid, vanillic acid, syringic acid, and ferulic acid) and nine bound phenolic acids (gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, syringic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, and o-coumaric acid) were tentatively identified 1516 . The Thin layer chromatography (TLC) analysis revealed the presence of steroids namely cholesterol, stigmasterol, campesterol and α-sitosterol. Anthocyanins were detected only in fresh dates. The TLC analysis also showed that the major carotenoid pigment present in dates is lutein followed by α-carotene 1718 . Moreover the Gas liquid chromatography of the date seed oil revealed the presence of oleic, lauric, palmitic, Capric, myristic, myristoleic, palmitoleic, stearic, linoleic and linolenic acids. Dates contain at least six vitamins including a small amount of vitamin C, and vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), nicotinic acid (niacin) and vitamin A 19 . Enzymes such as phytase, invertase and peroxidase have been isolated in dates 10 . Presence of estrone has also been reported in the dried date seeds and pollens 2021 . The date palm pollen grains showed the presence of α-amirin, triterpenoids saponins and a crude gonadotropic substance 22 . Other isolated chemical constituents include α-D glucan, heteroxylon, and galactomannans 232425 .
Biological And Pharmacological Activities
Recently many pharmacological studies have been coducted on
Pretreatment with date fruit ethanolic and aqueous extracts at a dose of 4 ml/kg for 14 days markedly ameliorated the ulcer index, histological indices such as necrosis, haemorrhage, congestion and oedema in stomach sections and biochemical levels of some enzymes such as gastrin in plasma and mucin and histamine in gastric mucosae of ethanol-induced gastric ulceration in rats 26 . This lends support to the local folk medicinal claim that dates may be useful to humans with ulcers.
The polysaccharides (glucans) prepared from the date fruits exhibited a dose dependant anticancer activity with an optimum activity at a dose of 1 mg/kg in tumour induced by subcutaneously transplanting allogenic solid Sarcoma-180 tumor cells into the right side of female CD1 mice 27 . This research validated the traditional claim of date fruits to be used against various kinds of tumors.
Effect on gastrointestinal transit:
Water and ethanolic extracts from date flesh and date pits at doses of 0.01, 0.02 and 0.04 ml/kg showed a dose dependant increase in the gastrointestinal transit time. While water extract from dialyzed date flesh extract induced a dose-dependent decrease the gastrointestinal transit time 29 . The possible reason for this may be the method based extraction of pirticular component which could be valuable towards respective clinical conditions.
Pre and post treatment with aqueous extract of date flesh or pits significantly reduced CCl4 induced elevation in plasma activities of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) enzymes and bilirubin concentration and ameliorated morphological and histological liver damage in rats. This study suggests that CCl4-induced liver damage in rats can be reversed by treatment of extracts from date flesh or pits. Moreover it can also be used prophylactically as a dymnamic liver support 7 . In another study the date flesh or pit extracts not only normalised the elevated plasma activities of AST, ALT, ALP, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), glutamyl transferase (GT), enzymes and plasma concentration of bilirubin but also exhibited an enormous increase in the reduced serum levels of testosterone, alpha fetoprotien (AFP) and glucose in the thioacetamide induced chirrotic rats. The extracts also showed significant reduction in oxidative stress evidenced by significant rise in the hepatic malonaldehyde (MDA) levels and decline in hepatic glutathione levels by normalising them 30 . This data suggest that the daily oral consumption of an aqueous extract of the flesh of dates, and as a part of the daily diet ad libitum, was prophylactic to thioacetamide poisoning.
Date fruit extract produced a dose-dependent inhibition of benzopyrene-induced mutagenecity on Salmonella tester strains TA-98 and TA-100 with metabolic activation. Extract from 3.6 mg/plate and 4.3 mg/plate was found required for 50% inhibition of His+ revertant formation in TA-98 and TA-100, respectively indicating potent antimutagenic activity 31 .
Phytochemicals from fruits have been shown to possess significant antioxidant capacities that may be associated with lower incidence and lower mortality rates of degenerative diseases in human 32 . Various in vitro and in vivo antioxidant activites have been carried out on various extracts of different parts of
Effect on reproductive system
Oral administration of of date palm fruit suspensions at doses of 120 and 240 mg/kg improved the sperm count, motility, morphology, and DNA quality with a concomitant increase in the weights of testis and epididymis 36 . Moreover, date extracts have been shown to increase sperm count in guinea pigs and to enhance spermatogenesis and increase the concentration of testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteininzing hormone (LH) in rats 37 . This study suggests its usefulness in solving infertility problems in males. El-Desoky and his co-workers (1995) looked into the effect of date palm pollen grains (
Oral administration of the methanolic and aqueous extracts of edible portion of
The crude acetone extracts of date palm pits at doses of 100 and 1000 g/ml showed a rapid, strong and dose dependent ability to inhibit the infectivity of Pseudomonas phage ATCC 14209-B1 to
Effect on hemolytic activity of
Effect on Cisplatin-induced genotoxicity
Aqueous extract of pollen grains administered by oral route to mice at doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg significantly inhibited the cisplatin-induced genotoxicity. At histopathological level, a significant recovery of the testis histology was observed in animals administered with pollen grains prior to cisplatin treatment. Furthermore, administration of the pollens extract caused a decrease in epididymal sperms with tail abnormalities that would interfere with sperm motility, and the highest dose retained normal epididymal sperm number. These findings suggest the preventive role of the pollen grains against the chemotherapeutic-induced infertility in males 42 .
In a study,
Partysmart, a herbal formulation containing
A cosmeceutical composition containing alcoholic extract of
A placebo-controlled clinical trial with 5% date pulp versus placebo in 10 patients was applied to the eyelid area twice daily for 5 weeks. A statistically significant reduction in wrinkle surface (27.6%) and wrinkle depth was achieved. Six of the participants said that visual improvement occurred. Moreover,
Medicinal applications of
The water in which fresh dates are soaked for a while is a drink given to relieve alcohol intoxication. The milk in which clean and fresh dates are infused ia a very nourishing and restoritive drink to the children as well as adults especially during convalescence from fevers and smallpox. The sweet pulp of the date fruits is useful in dysentry. Date fruits are used as an ingredient in various aphrodiasiac and tonic confections. They are also useful in asthma. Paste made from ground seeds of said to be applied for opacity of cornea and to the head to relieve headache and hemicrania. The smoke produced from burning of the date seeds in powder form is a useful fumigatory for piles. Some doctors advise dates as consumptives as they promote expectoration, soothe the chest and prevent constipation 9 . Dried fruit pounded and mixed with almonds, quince seeds, pistachia nuts, spices and sugar forms a nutritious formulation.. Seeds roasted and ground into powder make a beverage like coffee called “date coffee”. A fine paste of the seed of date fruit and the roots of
In this systematic review, the pharmacological studies conducted on
The authors are grateful to Dr. K.G. Bothara, Principal, AISSMS College of Pharmacy and Dr. U N. Harle for providing necessary support and guidance.