What is Jujube?
Jujube, also called a Chinese date, is a hardy fruit with a history going back approximately 4,000 years. In the United States jujube grows mainly in southwestern states, although according to California Rare Fruit Growers, a jujube tree can withstand unlimited summer temperatures and winter temperatures of minus 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Jujube is sweet fruit that tastes best when dried, although you can eat it fresh or use it as a cooking or baking ingredient. Depending on how you choose to use it, jujube can provide both nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Jujube fruit is a good source of vitamin C, a vitamin you must get from dietary sources because your body cannot manufacture it. According to Nutrition Data, a single, 1 oz. serving of raw jujube provides 32 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. This vitamin is important for cell growth and repair, collagen formation and wound healing. In addition, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
Jujube contains the saponins jujubosides A and B, both of which natural medicine consider as having a sedative effect on your body. The results of a 2009 animal study completed at the Peking University, School of Basic Medical Science and published in June 2010 in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” provide some evidence for this theory. Study results state that administering 9 mg of jujubosides once per day for three days produced a significant increase in total sleep time as well as in the quality of rapid eye movement, or REM, deep sleep in the rats participating in the study.
Oil extracted from the seeds of jujube fruit may be beneficial in reducing skin inflammation, according to an animal study completed at Daegu University’s Department of Biotechnology in the Republic of Korea. This study, published in 2010 in “Food and Chemical Toxocology” states that using both a one percent and 10 percent essential oil suspension resulted in a significant decrease in skin inflammation as well as a 51 and 53 percent decrease in fluid produced by the inflammatory response.
Tumor Cell Reduction
Research is continuing to determine how effective jujube is in preventing tumor cell formation/reduction. A 2008 study completed at the Vaccine and Serum Research Institute in Mashhad, Iran and published in the February 2008 edition of “Cytotechnology Journal” showed that jujube extract appears to have tumor inhibiting capabilities, especially in T cells affected by leukemia. More research is necessary, however, to discover the components causing this effect and understand how they work.
The jujube’s sweet smell is said to make teenagers fall in love, and as a result, in the Himalaya and Karakoram regions, men take a stem of sweet-smelling jujube flowers with them or put it on their hats to attract women.
In the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, jujube and walnut were often placed in the newlyweds’ bedroom as a sign of fertility.
In Bhutan, the leaves are used as a potpourri to help keep the houses of the inhabitants smelling fresh and clean. It is also said to keep bugs and other insects out of the house and free of infestation.
In Japan, the natsume has given its name to a style of tea caddy used in the Japanese tea ceremony.
In Korea, the wood is used to make the body of the taepyeongso, a double-reed wind instrument.
In Vietnam, the jujube fruit is eaten freshly picked from the tree as a snack. It is also dried and used in desserts, such as sâm bổ lượng, a cold beverage that includes the dried jujube, longan, fresh seaweed, barley, and lotus seeds.