Consuming dates as therapy against Covid-19, religious myths or facts?

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Dates. (Source: alodokter)

Dates consumption in medical & religion views

SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that is causing a major epidemic in the world. There has been no discovery of a drug that can definitely cure the patient completely. Meanwhile, vaccine development still requires a long time because this viral antigen is still evolving because SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA type. The number of SARS-CoV-2 variables due to mutations affecting the proper antigen codification and clinical trials that have to go through a series of stages.

The other way is through medications. These drugs are Remdesivir which has been approved by the Food & Drug Administrator in the US, Avigan by the Russian ministry, and is still under research by Toyama Chemical of Japan, and Dexamethasone by the British government. However, drug consumption has side effects on the human body and cannot be used for a long time. There are no studies that confirm that patients who recover from SARS-CoV-2 cannot be infected again, so the drug cannot be given continuously to patients for a long time.

Herbs and plants can be used as alternatives given the minimal side effects. Dates are a unique fruit but are rich in benefits. They grow in this super hot environment in the Arabian Peninsula with various benefits without side effects for the body. Dates are one of the fruits with antiviral, antifungal effects in the human body. There have been no reports of people experiencing malnutrition due to consuming dates. Furthermore, this fruit does not contain side effects and contains good sugars and nutrients when hungry. Dates can also be reached by the lower class of society so they are suitable for consumption by every level of society.

Methods and results

The sample of this research is from Saudi Arabia as the source of dates and the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad, the key figure in Islam. Another sample is from Indonesia as a country with the largest number of Muslims in the world. The inclusive criteria of the sample are Islamic countries; the people consume dates in their daily life, have a lot of internet users, and have many positive cases of COVID-19. Sampling started on March 2, 2020 because the first cases of COVID were found, both in Saudi Arabia and in Indonesia, until now on July 26, 2020.

The results of the research showed that dates are popular as a daily diet for Saudis. It can be seen from the information search data about dates which continues to increase. The first day of Ramadan was the reason behind the trending information. In a medical perspective, when eating sahur, the sugar stored in the body will continue to decrease due to various activities. Blood sugar itself is the main source of energy in the body which causes weakness and drowsiness if the levels are below normal.

Dates are an excellent source of fiber, sugar, magnesium, potassium and carbohydrates which will help the body to maintain health. The carbohydrates found in dates also them digested more quickly in the digestive system, which can delay hunger. It is different with eating fried foods or fatty foods that are digested more slowly so they can trigger hunger more quickly. Dates can be the best source of nutrition for the body when resting after breaking the fast.

The results also showed that the consumption of dates by the Indonesian people is lower than the Saudis. In contrast to Saudi, which is 93% Muslim, Indonesia consists of various religions and ethnicities, so not all people consume this fruit, which in fact has Islamic nuances.

Data showed that the number of positive corona cases in Saudi has decreased more than Indonesia. The level of consumption of dates per capita in Saudi is the 2nd largest date consuming country after Oman, reaching 28-30 kg / capita. Meanwhile, the level of consumption of Indonesian dates only reached 0.07 kg / capita in 2017. It can be concluded that the higher the number of dates consumed, the fewer additional cases of COVID each day.

Saudis have been consuming dates since ancient times. The culture of consuming dates in Indonesia did not exist in the past until Islam entered in the 7-13th century. Second, the consumption of dates recommended in the hadith for Muslims by the Prophet Muhammad SAW caused Saudis to consume them earlier, because Arabia was the birthplace of the Prophet himself. The rate of consumption of dates also has a significant impact. It can be seen from the results of Saudi COVID-19 cases which decreased more than Indonesia due to the consumption of dates.

Author: Maslichah Mafruchati

Details of this research can be find on:

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Media komunikasi dan informasi seputar kampus Universitas Airlangga (Unair).

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