Jujube fruit, also known as red date, Da Zao, and Chinese date, is native to China. Actually jujube tree has been cultivated there since 4,000 years ago. In ancient times, it was classified as “The Five Fruits” along with peach, plum, prunus mume, and apricot. The benefits of jujube are too numerous to ignore – thanks to its richness of vitamin C, it is often called King of Vitamin C; it contains anti-cancer ingredient, which even allows the cancer cells to reverse and become normal again; it protects you from suffering gallstones if consuming fresh jujube fruit on daily basis. It showed that the rehabilitation speed by continuous consumption of jujube is three times faster than that by simply taking vitamin supplements, according to a published clinical study.
What is jujube fruit?
Also known as Fructus Jujubae in Latin, it refers to the dried jujube fruit of Ziziphus jujuba Mill., one of deciduous shrubs or dungarunga in the family Rhamnaceae. It comes in a variety of different names, such as black dates, date seed, Rhamnus zizyphus, jujube date, jujube seeds, juju be, and more. Jujube trees can reach up to 10m in height. Branches are glabrous, with a pair of straight or curved hooks. Young delicate branches grow in clusters and resemble pinnately compound leaf. Leaves are single and alternate, oval to ovate-lanceolate or ovate sometimes, 2 to 6cm long, and with mucronate tip, skew base and serrulate margin. Small yellow-green flowers cluster into short cyme and grow thickly in leaf axils. Drupe is from ovate to oblong, 1.5 to 5cm long, dark red when ripe, and with sweet pulp and kernel with pointed tips. It blooms from April to May and fruits from July to September.
In China, jujube fruit plant grows mainly in Xinjiang, Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Sichuan, Guizhou and other places. Due to the different processing crafts used, it comes in black dates and red dates. And the latter is generally used for medicinal purpose. What’s more, jujube’s root, bark, leaves, and pit also have very high medical value.
Jujube mainly contains organic acids, triterpene glycosides, alkaloids, flavonoids, carbohydrates, vitamins, sitosterol, stigmasterol, desmasterol, cAMP, and cGMP.
Jujube health benefits
Jujubes are rich in protein, fat, carbohydrates, carotene, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin P, calcium, phosphorus, iron, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, and other nutrients. And now let’s take a look at what is jujube fruit good for?
1. Immunosuppressive action. The intragastric administration to rats in the dose of 100mg Jujube alcohol extract per day showed that jujubes fruit azathioprine have has the same immunosuppressive effects and inhibit the production of antibodies on atopic diseases. Jujube alcohol extract may inhibit reactive antibodies in rats, while producing no inhibition to the non-reactive antibodies.
2. Other effects. Pharmacological experiments demonstrated flavonoid glycosides A contained have sedative, hypnotic and antihypertensive effect. Jujubees increase cAMP in white blood cells. Its decoction can reduce the liver injury by CCl4 in rabbits. It can prolong the mice’s swimming time. In addition, reportedly it inhibits the proliferation of cancer cell.
Jujube fruit nutrition
This is one of main therapeutic herbs in TCM. Its nutritional benefits are so obvious.
1. It is rich in cyclic adenosine monophosphate, one of essential substances in the body’s energy metabolism. That’s to say, it enhances muscle strength, eliminates fatigue, dilates blood vessels, increases myocardial contractility, improves myocardial nutrition, and prevents and treats of cardiovascular diseases.
2. It tonifies deficiency and invigorates Qi, nourishes the blood and soothes the nerves, and strengthens the spleen and stomach. In other words, it is an excellent remedy for deficiency of spleen and stomach, deficiency of Qi and blood, weakness or inertia, insomnia, and more.
3. It is good at treating diseases such as acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, anemia, and allergic purpura.
4. It contains triterpenoids and cyclic adenosine monophosphate, which shows that it has tumor suppressor and anti-allergic effects.
Popular jujubes related Chinese herbal formulas
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that it is sweet and warm in properties. It covers two meridians, including spleen and stomach. Its basic functions are to tonify middle-Jiao and Qi and nourish blood for tranquillization. Main jujube fruit uses and indications are diarrhea due to insufficiency of the spleen, palpitations, insomnia, night sweats, thrombocytopenic purpura, and so on. Usual decoction dosage is from 6 to 15 grams.
Gan Mai Da Zao Tang
Gan Mai Da Zao Tang comes from Jin Gui Yao Lue (Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Coffer). This formula is aiming to tranquilize mind by nourishing the heart and benefit spleen to harmonize middle-jiao. Its indication is hysteria, in which menopausal syndrome is the major one. As its name implied, other two herbs are Gan Cao (Licorice Root) and Xiao Mai (Semen Tritici Levis).
Yi Pi Bing
Yi Pi Bing comes from Yi Xue Zhong Zhong Can Xi Lu (Records of Heart-Felt Experiences in Medicine with Reference to the West). It is mainly formulated for damp-cold spleen and stomach, eating less, chronic diarrhea, and diarrhea with undigested food. Other major herbal ingredients are Bai Zhu (White Atractylodes), Gan Jiang (Dried Ginger Root), and Ji Nei Jin (Chicken Gizzard’s Stomach Lining).
Zao Shen Wan
Zao Shen Wan is from Xing Yuan Lu. It combines with Ren Shen (Ginseng Root) to exclusively nourish the vitality.
Bu Yi Da Zao Zhou
Bu Yi Da Zao Zhou is from Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence). The jujube fruit couples with corn to cook congee for treatment of panic and deficient palpitation in wind-stroke syndrome and a heaviness feeling in limbs.
Shi Zao Tang
Shi Zao Tang comes from Jin Gui Yao Lue. It mainly cures pleural effusion. In this formula other there herbs are Yuan Hua (Genkwa Flower), Jing Da Ji (Euphorbia pekinensis) and Gan Sui (Kan Sui Root).
Jujube fruit recipes
1. High blood pressure. Ingredients are jujube 10, onion 30g, celery root 20g, appropriate amount of sticky rice. Cook the above ingredients for congee and consume on daily basis.
2. Sleep problem. Ingredients are 20 jujube 20 and 7 Cong Bai (Green onion) 7. Decoct them and drink the soup before bedtime.
3. Skin rejuvenation. Ingredients are jujube 50g and polished round-grained rice 100g. Cook them for congee and consume them in morning and evening. This recipe has great benefit for skin rejuvenation this is simply because a large number of vitamin B contained can promote skin blood circulation and then make skin smooth and elastic.
4. Gray hair. Ingredients are jujube 30, He Shou Wu (Polygonum) 10g, Sang Shen (Mulberry Fruit-Spike) 10g, rice 100g, and a little of honey. This recipe can tonify liver and kidney, nourish essence and blood, and blacken the beard and hair.
5. After birthing. Ingredients include jujube 20, egg 1, and brown sugar 30g. Stew them with water and take it once a day. This is formula is ideal for the mother after delivery since they require more nourishment to prompt the recovery. And jujube is rich in vitamins, which have a sound effect on strengthening blood capillary.
Potential jujube fruit side effects and contraindications
Though jujube fruit has very high nutritional value, it is recommended not to eat too much a time due to it is rich in fructose and indigestible. This is because fresh dates contain not only less moisture content (only 67%), but also high dietary fiber content (1.9%). As you know, dietary fiber content, in particular the insoluble cellulose, is hard to be digested. As a result, if the amount is more than the acceptable daily intake, gastrointestinal discomfort would thus occur. In terms of TCM, Da Zao is inadvisable in cases of damp phlegm syndrome, indigestion, tooth disease, and parasite disease.