Date palm pollen is produced by flowers on male date palm trees. It has been investigated as a topically administered treatment for oral mucositis in patients with cancer.
Elkerm, Y., & Tawashi, R. (2014). Date palm pollen as a preventative intervention in radiation- and chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis: A pilot study. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 13, 468–472.
To determine the effectiveness of date palm pollen (DPP) in the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis in patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for head and neck cancer
Two grams of DPP in powder form were mixed in 125 mL of water by the subjects. Patients were instructed to swish and swallow nightly for 42 days starting the day before treatment. The Oral Mucositis Assessment Scale (OMAS) was completed at days 0, 15, and 29. The first 10 subjects were enrolled in the treatment arm and the next10 subjects were in the control arm.
Controlled trial; control group received facility standard of care
The mean OMAS score was lower in the DPP-treated group with statistically significant differences on day 15 (p < .05) and day 21 (p < .05). The mean oral pain intensity level was lower in the DPP group on day 15 (p < .05) and day 21 (p < .05). Only one patient in the DPP group required soft food compared to 80% in the control group. There was a significant difference in the mean impact on swallowing on day 15 (p < .05) and day 21 (p < .05).
There was a significant reduction in the severity and incidence of mucositis as indicated by the OMAS and the VAS pain scales.
Although the mechanism of DPP is not totally clear, nurses should recognize that there are many plant derivatives that may have positive effects on oral mucositis. Larger, randomized trials of these agents are needed.