Herb: Japanese Raisin Tree

Latin name: Hovenia dulcis

Synonyms: Hovenia acerba, Hovenia inequalis

Family: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Medicinal use of Japanese Raisin Tree:

Antispasmodic, febrifuge, laxative. The fruit is antispasmodic, febrifuge, laxative and diuretic. The seeds are diuretic and are used in the treatment of alcohol overdose. The seeds are used to relieve intoxication due to wine. The stem bark is used in the treatment of rectal diseases.

Description of the plant:


10 m
(33 feet)



Habitat of the herb:

Plains and mountains to 2000 metres in W. China.

Edible parts of Japanese Raisin Tree:

Fruit - raw or cooked. They can be dried when they have the sweet flavour and texture of raisins and can be used similarly. The fruit is sweet and fragrant with a pear-like flavour. Dry and sub-acid. It is not a true fruit but a swollen receptacle. The fruit is up to 3cm long, it contains 11.4% glucose, 4.7% fructose and 12.6% sucrose. A sweet extract of the seed, boughs and young leaves is used as a substitute for honey. The seed contains 15% protein and 7.8% fat.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - germinates freely if sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be scarified and sown in early spring, it may not germinate for a year. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle and grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts and give some winter protection for their first couple of years outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood, late autumn in a frame.

Cultivation of Japanese Raisin Tree:

Plains and mountains to 2000 metres in W. China.

Known hazards of Hovenia dulcis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.