What is Jujube?
Jujube, scientific name Ziziphus jujuba, also known as Chinese date are size of a date and range from brown to purplish-black. Jujube comes in several different sizes and shapes depending upon the cultivar type. Each berry is about the size of 3-6 cm in diameter ranging in shape from oval, oblate, round to elongated and cylindrical. Inside, its slightly sticky, crispy textured pulp has apple-like sweet and tart taste in case of raw, green fruits.
As the berry dries on the tree, its color turns from light green to red or brown. Completely mature fruit develops wrinkles on its surface as in dates. Fruits can be harvested on the basis of consumer demand, whether to enjoy crunchy light green berries or dried red ones.
The active compounds in jujube extract have strong antibacterial properties. They fight off infections like sore throats and acne. The fruit is also rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts your immunity and prevents cancer. Jujube also improves cardiovascular health by protecting heart muscle cells.
History Of Jujube
The species has a curious nomenclatural history, due to a combination of botanical naming regulations, and variations in spelling. It was first described scientifically by Carl Linnaeus as Rhamnus zizyphus, in Species Plantarum in 1753. Later, in 1768, Philip Miller concluded it was sufficiently distinct from Rhamnus to merit separation into a new genus, which he named Ziziphus jujube, using Linnaeus’ species name for the genus but with a probably accidental single letter spelling difference, “i” for “y”. For the species name he used a different name, as tautonyms (repetition of exactly the same name in the genus and species) are not permitted in botanical naming. However, because of Miller’s slightly different spelling, the combination the earlier species name (from Linnaeus) with the new genus, Ziziphus zizyphus, is not a tautonym, and was therefore permitted as a botanical name. This combination was made by Hermann Karsten in 1882. In 2006, a proposal was made to suppress the name Ziziphus zizyphus in favor of Ziziphus jujuba, and this proposal was accepted in 2011. Ziziphus jujuba is thus the correct scientific name for this species.
Nutrition Value of Jujube
Nutritional Facts Of Jujube
|PRINCIPLE||NUTRIENT VALUE||PERCENTAGE OF RDA|
|Total Fat||0.06 g||0%|
|Vitamin A||11.12 IU||0%|
|Vitamin C||19.3 mg||32%|
|Vitamin B-6||0.0 mg||1%|
|Vitamin B-12||0.0 mcg||0%|
|Iron||0.13 mg mg||1%|
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 79
- Total Fat 0.2 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 3 mg
- Potassium 250 mg – 7% RDA
- Total Carbohydrate 20 g – 6% RDA
- Protein 1.2 g – 2% RDA
- Vitamin C 115% RDA
- Calcium 2% RDA
- Iron 2% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 5% RDA
- Magnesium 2% RDA
Rich in Disease-Fighting Vitamin C
As both a high-antioxidant food and vitamin C food, jujube consumption is an excellent way to increase your intake of key nutrients. Antioxidants are nutrients that block damage caused by free radicals. Excessive levels of free radicals in the body are linked with an accelerated aging process as well as more serious health concerns like cancer and heart disease.
Since our bodies can’t produce vitamin C on their own, it’s essential that we make sure we get enough vitamin C in our diets. Having just under a half cup of fresh jujubes fulfills over 100 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement. That’s a pretty easy and tasty way to fight free radical damage and stave of disease.
Vitamin C is also key to healthy skin and hair, while helping heal wounds and injuries to the body more quickly.
Amazing Healthy Benefits of Jujube
1. Detoxifies Blood
The saponins and alkaloids found in jujube fruit have been directly linked with purifying the blood and eliminating harmful toxins from the body’s systems. This antioxidant effect can help prevent a large number of diseases and also ease the stress on the immune and lymphatic systems.
2. Aids in Digestion
Jujube fruits have high fiber content which adds bulk to the stool and helps with bowel movement preventing constipation, bloating and diarrhea. Saponins and triterpenoids in jujube fruit helps optomize the uptake of nutrients and promoting healthy movement of food through the bowels.
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3. Reduces Cancer Risk
Jujube fruits contains antioxidants which seek and neutralise free radicals within the body. Free radicals are produced in the body as a result of the natural phenomenon of molecules reacting with active oxygen. An uncontrolled growth of free radicals harm your cells, DNA and are responsible for causing cancer.
The water extracted from jujubes has demonstrated its potential at inhibiting cancerous cells. One study in particular from the Vaccine and Serum Research Institute in Iran tested the water extract of dried jujube fruit for possible anticancer effects and induction of apoptosis (automatic cell death) of human tumor cell lines. Using DNA fragmentation analysis, researchers showed that jujube extract suppressed the human tumor cell lines, especially a leukemia line. Overall, this scientific study showed jujube’s impressive ability to kill off tumor cells, making jujube fruit a potential cancer-fighting food.
4. Treats Insomnia
The high concentration of organ content in jujube helps you to feel relaxed and comfortable. It also calms the nervous system as it contains flavonoids, polysaccharides and saponins. This helps treat sleeplessness and those suffering from insomnia.
5. Prevents Anemia
The jujube fruit is a rich source of both iron and phosphorous, which are key ingredients in formation of the red blood cells. Iron deficiency occurs due to a deficiency in iron that leads to low haemoglobin and is characterised by fatigue due to low oxygen transportation.
6. Eliminates Anxiety and Stress
The fruit contains a good amount of anxiolytics, which help soothe the body and are known to positively impact the hormonal levels, preventing the body from the effect of stress hormones such as cortisol.
7. Regulates Blood Pressure
Jujube is rich in potassium which is a vasodilator and helps relax the blood vessels and regulates blood flow thereby preventing hypertension.
8. Boosts Immunity
Jujube is rich in vitamic C and antioxidants which help boost immunity. Vitamin C regulates the production of neutrophils, which is responsible to protect the immune system. Antioxidants seek and neutralie free radicals that may lead to health problems.
9. Aids in Weight Management
Jujube has high fiber content and have low calories. low amount of calories prevents the body from fat accumulation in arteries and reduces cholesterol levels. Fiber provides a satiety fell for longer and prevents overeating and snacking between meals.
10. Respiratory Health
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.
11. Aids in Sleeping
For people suffering from insomnia or restlessness, consuming the extract of the seeds of the jujube fruit can be a good remedy. The soothing nature of the organic compounds contained in this beneficial fruit can calm the body and mind, so if you find you are unable to sleep at night, then perhaps a small jujube decoction is exactly what you need.
12. Regulates Circulation
The jujube fruit is a rich source of both iron and phosphorous, which are key ingredients in the red blood cells. If you suffer from low iron content in your blood or anemia, you may experience symptoms like muscle weakness, fatigue, indigestion, light-headedness, and cognitive confusion. By increasing your iron and phosphorous intake with jujube fruit, you can increase blood flow, thereby oxygenating your organ systems more effectively.
13. Improves Bone Strength
By increasing minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and iron (all of which are prevalent in jujubes), you can ensure that your bones remain resilient and strong. As we age, we tend to suffer from osteoporosis and other bone degrading conditions, so adding jujube fruit to your diet can slow or reverse this trend.
14. Enhances Gastrointestinal Health
Consuming at least 40 milligrams of jujube a day can prove extremely beneficial for your gastrointestinal health. It can improve the overall environment of your gastrointestinal region and reduce its exposure to toxic ammonia and other such harmful compounds. In fact, it has been found to prevent the formation of gastric ulcers in rats.
15. Relieves Chronic Constipation
Constantly feeling constipated can be a real pain in the bum (pun intended!) and make you feel oh-so-low. Well, lucky for us all that jujube works pretty well when it comes to relieving constipation. A study conducted by the Meir Medical Center in Israel found that consuming the jujube extract not only relieved the symptoms of constipation, but it also improved the quality of life.
16. Reduces Inflammation
Topical use of jujube extract can help relieve a number of muscle aches and joint pains. This is because it has been found to work as a potent anti-inflammatory agent, according to a study.
17. Improves Cognitive Function
If you’re on the lookout for a fruit that will boost your brain activity, your search ends with jujube. Jujube extract improved the deteriorating overall memory and spatial memory of mice after they had been given alcohol. Moreover, jujube extract also boosted nerve cell growth and development in the dentate gyrus area, which is one of two areas in the brain where new nerve cells develop.
18. Protects Against Seizures
An experimental study done on seizure-induced mice showed some promising effects of jujube extract on them. The study found that mice that had been treated with jujube extract before being induced with seizures exhibited improved learning and memory and reduced oxidative stress as compared to the control group, thus proving that it can significantly reduce the brain damage caused by seizures.
19. Has Antimicrobial Properties
The weapon you need to wield when fighting any infection has got to be jujube. The flavonoids found in jujube have been proven to be potent antimicrobial agents. In fact, the ethanolic extract of this fruit has been found to be a great component for treating infections in children. Also, the betulinic acid found in jujubes has been found to fight HIV and influenza virus infection in experimental studies.
20. Improves Ovarian Health
A study conducted by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (Iran) used a herbal product of jujube called Shilanum to treat ovarian cysts. At the end of the study, they found that this natural formula was just as effective in treating ovarian cysts as birth control pills (that are usually prescribed for this condition) without causing too many side effects.
21. Removes Breast Milk Toxins
In a study conducted in Iran, lactating mothers were made to eat 15 grams of fresh jujubes a day for 2 months to test its effect on the levels of lead and cadmium in their breast milk. At the end of the trial, they found that the women who had eaten jujubes had lower levels of these toxic elements in their milk as opposed to the control group.
23. 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.
How To Use Jujube
From culinary to medicinal and cultural, there are a ton of different ways that jujube is used by people around the world. Here’s a rundown of some of its most important uses:
- Fresh and dried jujubes are eaten as a snack all over the world.
- Jujube flavored tea syrup and teabags are widely consumed in China and Korea.
- In some parts of India, jujube is also used to make pickles.
- Croatians use jujube fruit to make marmalades, juices, and a fruit brandy called
- Jujube is majorly used in the Chinese medicine practice of Kampo for its antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- The leaves of the jujube plant are dried and used as potpourri in Bhutan.
- Koreans use the wood of jujube plant to make a wide variety of things like bowls, beads, violin parts, and a double reed instrument called taepyeongso.
- One little plant and so many uses – who knew, huh? Let’s now look at how to select and store it.
How To Select And Store Jujube Fruit
Jujube is available from July to November. If you’re looking to buy fresh jujubes, make sure you pick ones that are light green and firm. Dried jujubes are usually sold in packets.
Store fresh jujubes on the counter if you mean to consume them within 3-4 days. They’ll last for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Dried jujubes can be stored and used for several months.
Jujube Fruit Recipe
Jujube Butter Oatmeal Bars
- 2 cups jujube fruit (chopped)
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ sticks butter (6 ounces)
- 1 cup pecans (chopped)
- 9×9 pan
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Pour the jujubes and apple cider into a saucepan and heat them until they start boiling. Lower the flame and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Puree the cooked jujubes until it forms a smooth paste.
- In a big bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix them with a wooden spoon.
- Add the butter and stir the mixture until it starts coming together like a dough, without any dry patches.
- Separate half of the dough and keep it aside for later.
- Combine the pecans with the rest of the dough.
- Grease the bottom and sides of your pan with butter.
- Pat the dough you reserved earlier (without the nuts) into the bottom of the pan.
- Spread the jujube butter evenly on top of the dough.
- Add and pat down the rest of the dough (with the nuts).
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until the top has slightly browned.
- Let it cool before cutting it into bars or squares.
Samgyetang – Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup
- 1 cornish hen (2-3 lbs/ 1-1.3 kg)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion
- 1 dried or fresh Korean Ginseng (substitute American Ginseng)
- 3 jujube dates (대추)
- 3 ginkgo nuts (optional)
- 2 green onions , chopped
- 1 cup soaked sweet rice (optional) – soak about 1 hr
- 6 cups water
- salt and pepper
- Rinse and clean chicken. Cut off wing tips and tail end (see my yeong gye baeksuk post)
- Stuff chicken with sweet rice (optional) and garlic
- Add about 7 cups water, chicken, whole onion, ginseng and jujubes to pot. Optionally add ginko nuts.
- Bring to boil and then simmer for 50 min or so until meat falls off the bone.
- Season soup with salt and pepper.
Garnish with chopped green onions and serve.
Medicinal uses of Jujube
Dry jujube fruits and its powder used in many traditional Chinese medicines to cure nervousness, stave off infections, and to improve digestive power.
Selection And Storage Of Jujube
Fresh jujube berries begin arriving in the markets from July and lasts until November in the mainland China. Varieties of fresh or dried date-like berries can be available in the markets.
After harvesting, jujube fruits should be graded according to the degree of ripening and fruit size. Drying can be done as in raisins, dehydrating under the sun for about three weeks or in a drier machine at commercial processing units. Dried fruit can be consumed as such or further processed into juice, wine, powder and so on.
Look for fresh, light-green, full, firm berries if you wish to buy apple-crunchy textured berries. Dry berries can be available in the packs.
Raw, fresh berries last for 3-4 days at room temperatures, and for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. Dried berries, however, can store well for several months.
Preparation and serving method
Wash them in clean water, and dry mop using a paper towel. Fresh as well as dried berries can be eaten out of hand without any seasonings and add on.
Here are some serving tips:
- Fresh berries can be eaten out of hand as in apples.
- Dry fruits can be used in a much similar way like dried dates, in cakes, tart, bread, muffins, etc.
- Jujube fruit tea is a welcome drink in Korean culture.
- In Korean peninsula, dried red jujube and ginseng tea (insam-daechu cha) is a popular drink.
- Jujube rice cake (Daechu tteok) is another favorite recipe of Koreans.
- Dry jujube employed to prepare jams, paste, puree in China. Jujube paste, sweet pastry, mooncake, prepared during the mid-autumn festival in China.
Jujube fruits fresh or dry can be consumed safely in children and pregnant mothers.
Negative Effects Of Jujube
Fortunately, jujube does not have any side effects that are a major cause for concern. However, diabetic people should avoid this fruit as its carbohydrate content can affect their blood sugar level. Consuming large amounts of jujubes can cause drowsiness, diarrhea, reduced appetite, bloating, and malaise in rare cases.