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Ziziphus jujuba

Common name: Jujube

Family: Rhamnaceae

Parts used: Seed & Berries (Fruit)


  •      Triterpenoid Saponins: jujubosides A & B
  •      Triterpene acids (e.g. betulinic acid, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, betulonic acid, oleanonic acid, and ursonic acid)
  •      Alkaloids (sanjoinine A & nuciferine)
  •      Flavonoids (Rutin & quercetin)
  •      Phytosterols
  •      Polysaccharides (Pectin)
  •      Vitamins (C, B & others) & Minerals (Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium & Iron)
  •      Volatile Oils

Medicinal actions:

  •      Antioxidant
  •      Antimicrobial
  •      Cytotoxic (Anticancer)
  •      Demulcent
  •      Hypoglycemic
  •      Hypotensive
  •      Nervine Relaxant & Sedative
  •      Nutritive
  •      Vulnerary

Medicinal uses:

  •  Traditionally used as a tonic, aphrodisiac, and anxiolytic. Also considered to have anti-cancer (Melanoma cells), antispasmodic, cardiotonic, immunostimulant, and vulnerary properties..
  •  Employed in some countries as a demulcent for the relief of throat respiratory irritations, and in asthma. Also used for digestive upset, constipation, and intestinal & urinary inflammation.
  •  In Traditional Chinese Medicine the seed is considered to nourish the heart and calm the Spirit. Primarily used for palpitations with anxiety, insomnia, night sweats and dream disturbed sleep. Some species are dried and eaten as fruit, much like dates.
  • Has demonstrated sedative and anxiolytic activity in both human and animal studies. A formula containing mainly Zizyphus has been studied in double-blind trials. In one study, patients with anxiety were found to significantly improve mood and have decreased sympathetic nervous system symptoms. Another study of insomnia showed a significant improvement in sleep quality and well-being without side effects.


  •  Triterpene saponins (Jujuboside A) and Alkaloids (sanjoinine A & nuciferine) appear to be involved in depressing activity of the central nervous system, which reduces anxiety, induces sleep, and potentially elevates mood.
  •  Betulinic acid has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in vitro, and has been found to selectively kill human melanoma cells, while leaving healthy cells alive. Has also been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and inhibits the growth of both Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.
  •  Extract has been found to stimulate nitric oxide release in vitro, in cultured endothelial cells, and in vivo in the kidney tissues of rats. It is theorized that this mechanism may contribute to its hypotensive & anti-nephritic actions by increasing renal blood flow.


  •      Decoction: 1 Tbsp/cup, simmered 20 minutes, TID.
  •      Tincture: (1:2, 40%), 1-2 ml BID. 40 ml weekly max.
  •      Capsules: 3-10 g, QD (standardized to triterpene saponin content)
  •      As food.

Toxicity: None known. 


  •      Avoid in pregnancy above culinary amount (potential uterine stimulant).


  •  Potential additive effects with anticonvulsant, diabetic sedative and hypotensive agents.

About Marisa Marciano

Naturopathic Herbalist


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