Monday, November 03, 2008

Honey Reduces Muslim Pilgrims’ Sore Throat, Rhinitis

The Role of Honey in Alleviating Respiratory Syndromes Among Malysian Haj Pilgrims
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

Background: Annually in the Muslim month of Zulhijjah, Muslims from the world over congregate in Mekah to perform the fifth tenet of Islam; the Haj. As a result of overcrowding, physical exhaustion, anxiety and other stress factors, many pilgrims suffer from acute respiratory symptoms. The hot-dry atmospheric air exacerbates the problems.

Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the role of honey in alleviating acute respiratory symptoms among Malaysian hajj pilgrims.

Methodology: The study had 2 parts; a cross-sectional prevalence study and nonrandomized control study conducted on Malaysian pilgrims during the 1407/2007 haj season. The prevalence study was conducted using survey questionnaire forms. The nonrandomized control trial was conducted by giving two kilograms of ‘Madu Tualang” honey per subject where they were requested to consume 20 g twice daily throughout the 42 - day hajj period. The subjects of this controlled trial were requested to record the respiratory symptoms daily in the diary provided. The outcomes were compared with the control group who did not take honey nor receiving flu vaccination. The results of the prevalence study were analysed using STATA and the interventional study using repeated measures ANOVA using SPSS software.

Results: In the prevalence study, 394 pilgrims completed and returned the survey forms; 219 males and 173 were females [2 persons did not state their gender]…

Results from the interventional study showed that the group that received honey has significantly lower percentage of symptoms on sore throat and rhinitis during the third week of the haj period. No significant differences were noted in the symptoms of cough and fever.

Conclusion: Honey has some beneficial effect in reducing some common respiratory symptoms among haj pilgrims. Honey, “Madu Lebah Tualang – Agromas,” is significantly effective in reducing sore throat and rhinitis on the mid hajj period amongst Malaysia Hajj pilgrims. It is therefore suggested that honey could be adopted as one of the prophylactic measures in reducing acute respiratory symptoms among pilgrims.

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