Have you ever heard of jujube? It might sound like a fairy tale character, but it’s actually one of the healthiest plants around. Jujube, or Ziziphus Jujuba, produces fruit known as Chinese dates. They’re small and round, boasting a color that varies from dark red to purplish black.
Jujube might be new to you, but it has a solid place in traditional Chinese medicine. And once you learn about these health benefits of jujube, it’ll be easy to see why.
1. Possesses Antibacterial Properties
Jujube extract has flavonoids, saponins, and alkaloids that have antibacterial properties. In fact, BioMed Research International claims that jujube can cure a sore throat, the most common illness. It fights both Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens present in sore throats. This means that jujube is a viable alternative for antibiotics – with few side effects, too!1
Have a minor wound? Don’t forget about these antibacterial benefits of jujube. Applying the extract to your skin can prevent infection and encourage proper healing.
2. Boosts Immune System
Like many other fruits, jujube is teeming with vitamin C.2 This potent antioxidant helps your immunity flourish. It does so by encouraging the growth of T-cells, the white blood cells of your immune system. So you are protected from colds, infections, and other diseases.3
Jujube also boosts your immune system by ensuring your gastrointestinal system stays healthy. After all, gut bacteria are your immunity’s first line of defense. Jujube’s protective properties keep them balanced and, therefore, healthy.4 And it is jujube’s ability to protect the gastrointestinal system that is responsible for this.5
For an immune boost from food, use jujube dates in your smoothie. Adding ingredients like peaches, mangoes, and apricots will have additional health benefits.
3. Improves Heart Health
Jujube’s nutritional benefits extend to the heart as well. The saponins from its seeds can protect your heart muscle cells known as cardiomyocytes. The saponins stop LC3 conversion, a process necessary for cell death. The result? Protection from cell damage and reversal of injury.6
4. Protects From Cancer
Extracts of jujube can also ward off cancer. Its rich phytochemical content – specifically, phenolics – can enhance the antioxidant activity of the fruit. The phenolics do this by boosting mRNA and protein expression of antioxidant enzymes.
This means that those antioxidants will be better at fighting oxidative stress. Free radicals won’t stand a chance.7
5. Treats Insomnia
In traditional Chinese medicine, jujube has had a long-time role as a sleep aid. Its saponins have sedative effects on the brain, which help you get a good night’s rest. It also has hypnotic properties, so you’ll be sure to sleep like a baby.
To treat insomnia, sip on jujube tea before bedtime. It tastes even better with honey and can be made hot or cold.8
6. Improves Skin Health
Jujube’s potent antioxidants also help your skin by stopping the proliferation of skin cancer (melanoma) cells, so they can’t grow and spread.9 So if you are exposed to the sun a lot, consider eating jujube for this benefit. Of course, it shouldn’t replace sunscreen.
The essential oils of jujube also relieve skin inflammation. This comes in handy if you’re suffering from acne, itchiness, or a pesky infection. Your skin’s thickness also increases, helping it heal from inflammation.10
However, don’t forget to do a patch test first. You want to make sure that you aren’t allergic or sensitive to jujube’s oils.
7. Promotes Hair Growth
Jujube’s beauty benefits don’t stop at the skin. A study in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that an essential oil made from its seeds promotes hair growth. Better yet, hair comes back thicker than before.11
If you’re dealing with bald spots, why not use some jujube? You can blend it with other hair growth oils like vitamin E, rosemary, and peppermint oils.
Check out health food stores or Chinese groceries for fresh and dried jujube. You might also be able to find dried jujube online. Many retailers also sell its essential oils, extracts, and tea. Regardless of its form, jujube will successfully transform your health!
|↑1||Mehreen, Arifa, Muzzamil Waheed, Iram Liaqat, and Najma Arshad. “Phytochemical, Antimicrobial, and Toxicological Evaluation of Traditional Herbs Used to Treat Sore Throat.” BioMed Research International 2016 (2016).|
|↑2, ↑5||Gao, Qing-Han, Chun-Sen Wu, and Min Wang. “The jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) fruit: a review of current knowledge of fruit composition and health benefits.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 61, no. 14 (2013): 3351-3363.|
|↑3||Manning, Jared, Birgitta Mitchell, Daniel A. Appadurai, Arvind Shakya, Laura Jean Pierce, Hongfang Wang, Vincent Nganga et al. “Vitamin C promotes maturation of T-cells.” Antioxidants & redox signaling 19, no. 17 (2013): 2054-2067.|
|↑4||Wu, Hsin-Jung, and Eric Wu. “The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity.” Gut microbes 3, no. 1 (2012): 4-14.|
|↑6||Han, Dandan, Changrong Wan, Fenghua Liu, Xiaolong Xu, Linshu Jiang, and Jianqin Xu. “Jujuboside A Protects H9C2 Cells from Isoproterenol-Induced Injury via Activating PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling Pathway.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016 (2016).|
|↑7||Anantachoke, Natthinee, Pattamapan Lomarat, Wasin Praserttirachai, Ruksinee Khammanit, and Supachoke Mangmool. “Thai Fruits Exhibit Antioxidant Activity and Induction of Antioxidant Enzymes in HEK-293 Cells.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016 (2016).|
|↑8||Jiang, Jian‐Guo, Xiao‐Juan Huang, and Jian Chen. “Separation and purification of saponins from Semen Ziziphus jujuba and their sedative and hypnotic effects.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 59, no. 8 (2007): 1175-1180.|
|↑9||Hung, Chi-Feng, Bo-Yang Hsu, Shyh-Chung Chang, and Bing-Huei Chen. “Antiproliferation of melanoma cells by polysaccharide isolated from Zizyphus jujuba.” Nutrition 28, no. 1 (2012): 98-105.|
|↑10||Al-Reza, Sharif M., Jung In Yoon, Hyo Jung Kim, Jong-Sang Kim, and Sun Chul Kang. “Anti-inflammatory activity of seed essential oil from Zizyphus jujuba.” Food and chemical toxicology 48, no. 2 (2010): 639-643.|
|↑11||Yoon, Jung In, Sharif M. Al-Reza, and Sun Chul Kang. “Hair growth promoting effect of Zizyphus jujuba essential oil.” Food and chemical toxicology 48, no. 5 (2010): 1350-1354.|