Advertisement

Why the date tree is called the tree of life?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Called the "Tree of Life," the date palm is said in Muslim legend to have been made from the dust that was left over after the creation of Adam, and it was probably the first cultivated tree in history, having been grown in the Holy Land for at least 8,000 years. Directions for the date palm's husbandry are recorded on sun-baked bricks made in Mesopotamia (Iraq) more than 5,000 years ago, and the date palm is often mentioned in the Bible and in the poetry and proverbs of the East. The date palm was carried to China from Iran about 1,700 years ago, and in the seventeenth century, pioneering Spaniards took date seeds to California. Today, about three fourths of the world's date crop is grown in the Middle East, but the majority of the United States supply is produced in date orchards -- called "date gardens" in the industry -- in California, Arizona, and Texas, where the hot, dry climate and sandy, alkaline soil provide excellent conditions for the date tree's growth.

In the Arab world, dates are often eaten with milk products to boost the protein content, but they are also served alone, fresh or dried, or used in various fruit dishes, baked goods, syrups, candies, ice cream, and salads. In some countries, date pits are roasted, ground, and used as a coffee substitute. Dates have even been fermented and used to make an alcoholic beverage called arrak, described by the sixteenth-century traveler Pedro Texeira as "the strongest and most dreadful drink ever invented." Dates are harvested in late fall and early winter, but they store quite well, so they are available year-round.
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

More About this Book

Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...

Continue Learning about Eating & Nutrition For Diseases

Cut Your Meat Consumption to Better Your Health
Cut Your Meat Consumption to Better Your Health
According to the USDA and the National Chicken Council, every year the average American consumes more than 108 pounds of red meat (beef, lamb, veal an...
Read More
How can food be like medicine?
Emilia KlappEmilia Klapp
Like everything around us, food is made of chemical compounds. When ingested, food breaks down into ...
More Answers
Is eating prickly pear good for my health?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Prickly pears found in Mexico can help ward off diabetes. Watch as Dr. Oz talks with alternative med...
More Answers
Feel-Good Healthy Snacks
Feel-Good Healthy Snacks

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.