Herb: Jujube


Latin name: Ziziphus jujuba


Synonyms: Ziziphus sativa, Ziziphus vulgaris, Ziziphus zizyphus


Family: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)



Medicinal use of Jujube:

Jujube is both a delicious fruit and an effective herbal remedy. It aids weight gain, improves muscular strength and increases stamina. In Chinese medicine it is prescribed as a tonic to strengthen liver function. Japanese research has shown that jujube increases immune-system resistance. In one clinical trial in China 12 patients with liver complaints were given jujube, peanuts and brown sugar nightly. In four weeks their liver function had improved. Antidote, diuretic, emollient, expectorant. The dried fruits contain saponins, triterpenoids and alkaloids. They are anodyne, anticancer, pectoral, refrigerant, sedative, stomachic, styptic and tonic. They are considered to purify the blood and aid digestion. They are used internally in the treatment of a range of conditions including chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, pharyngitis, bronchitis, anaemia, irritability and hysteria. The seed contains a number of medically active compounds including saponins, triterpenes, flavonoids and alkaloids. It is hypnotic, narcotic, sedative, stomachic and tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of palpitations, insomnia, nervous exhaustion, night sweats and excessive perspiration. The root is used in the treatment of dyspepsia. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of fevers. The root is made into a powder and applied to old wounds and ulcers. The leaves are astringent and febrifuge. They are said to promote the growth of hair. They are used to form a plaster in the treatment of strangury. The plant is a folk remedy for anaemia, hypertonia, nephritis and nervous diseases. The plant is widely used in China as a treatment for burns.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
10 m
(33 feet)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Dry gravelly or stony slopes of hills and mountains.

Edible parts of Jujube:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Mealy and sweet. A sourish-sweet flavour. The fruit can be eaten fresh, dried like dates or cooked in puddings, cakes, breads, jellies, soups etc. The dried fruit has the nicest taste. The fruits are often left to become wrinkled and spongy, which increases their sweetness, and are then eaten fresh or cooked. The dried fruit can also be ground into a powder. This powder is used in the preparation of "kochujang", a fermented hot pepper-soybean paste that resembles miso. Fruits are about 13mm in diameter and contain one or two seeds. Average yields from wild trees in the Himalayas are 9.5kg per year. The fruit contains about 8.7% sugars, 2.6% protein, 1.4% ash, 1.7% pectin and 1.3% tannin. The fruit is about 25mm long, though it can be larger in cultivated varieties. The fruit can be used as a coffee substitute. Leaves - cooked. A famine food, they are only used when all else fails. A nutritional analysis is available.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants can be grown as a hedge. Wood - dense, hard, compact, tough. Used for turnery, agricultural implements etc. It makes an excellent fuel and a good charcoal.

Propagation of Jujube:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed requires 3 months warm then 3 months cold stratification. Germination should take place in the first spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant out in early summer. Root cuttings in a greenhouse in the winter. Best results are achieved if a temperature of 5 - 10C can be maintained. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, November to January in a frame. Division of suckers in the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry gravelly or stony slopes of hills and mountains.

Known hazards of Ziziphus jujuba:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.