Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Research Notes and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Short Report

Self-reported use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) products in topical treatment of diabetic foot disorders by diabetic patients in Jeddah, Western Saudi Arabia

Balkees A Bakhotmah1 and Hasan A Alzahrani2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutrition & Food Sciences, KAU Girls Education Colleges, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

2 Mohammad Hussein Al-Amoudi Chair for Diabetic Foot Research", Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:254  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-254

Published: 6 October 2010



There is little published on current Saudi diabetic patients' practices when they are exposed to foot disorders such as open wound, ulcer, and skin cracks. These factors are usually influenced by local culture and communities beliefs. The aim of the current study was to identify the pattern of patients' use of CAM products in dealing with diabetic foot disorders topically in a group of diabetic patients.


A Cross-sectional descriptive study of a representative cohort of diabetic patients living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was designed. A pre-designed questionnaire to identify local diabetics' practices in dealing topically with foot disorders including open wound, chronic ulcer, and skin cracks was designed. Questionnaire was administered by a group of trained nutrition female students to diabetics face to face living in their neighborhood. A total of 1634 Saudi diabetics were interviewed. Foot disorders occurred in approximately two thirds of the respondents 1006 (61.6%). Out of the 1006 patients who had foot disorders, 653 reported trying some sort of treatment as 307 patients (47.1%) used conventional topical medical treatment alone, 142 (21.7%) used CAM products alone, and 204 (31.2%) used both treatments. The most commonly used CAM product by the patients was Honey (56.6%) followed by Commiphora Molmol (Myrrh) in (37.4%) and Nigellia Sativa (Black seed) in (35.1%). The least to be used was Lawsonia inermis (Henna) in (12.1%). Ten common natural preparations used topically to treat diabetic foot disorders were also identified.


The use of CAM products in topical treatment of diabetic foot disorders is fairly common among Saudi diabetic patients. Honey headed the list as a solo topical preparation or in combination with other herbs namely black seeds and myrrh. The efficacy of the most common products needs further research.