Jujube fruit, also known as red dates or Chinese dates, is a sweet treat eaten fresh or dried, and it is used in both Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine thanks to its high nutritional value and health benefits. The small fruit tastes similar to apples when ripe and dates when mature, and can be eaten raw or cooked. Snack on it plain, add it to yogurt, make it into a jam, bake it into a cake — and enjoy the health benefits of your new favorite dessert. You no longer have to choose between indulging your sweet tooth and eating healthy.
Jujube in TCM
China has 90% of jujube production in the world, and jujube has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to improve sleep, increase blood flow and health, improve heart health, soothe the nerves, and reduce diarrhea.
In TCM, jujube is considered “warm” in nature, helping those who have too much “cold” in their bodies by restoring balance between yin and yang. Their sweet taste also factors into their health benefits — according to the Five Phases theory in TCM, taste is a key determinant of a food’s reaction in the body and what organs and meridians are targeted. Sweet ingredients like jujube are said to slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body, and target the spleen and stomach.
Jujube is also said to tonify the blood, preventing blood deficiency — similar to anemia in Western medicine — that leads to poor memory, insomnia, dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, and limb weakness. Flavonoids from jujube stimulate the expression of erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates blood production. Jujube is also a rich source of iron and vitamin C, which can both help prevent anemia. TCM practitioners also prescribe jujube as part of a tonic for blood nourishment, which in turn supports the nourishment and function of the organs, tissues, muscles, and bones. Even the skin, hair, and nails rely on blood nourishment to stay strong and healthy.
A big nutritional bang for your buck
Jujube fruits are low in calories but rich in antioxidant compounds including flavonoids, polysaccharides, and triterpenic acids. They also contain high levels of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and has immune-boosting benefits — just a three-ounce serving provides 77% of the Daily Value of vitamin C.
Fight free radical damage and cancer
Free radical damage has been shown to contribute to several health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Antioxidants can prevent and even reverse that damage — making antioxidant-rich jujube a great ingredient for long-term health. Though more research needs to be done on humans, test-tube studies have found that jujube extracts can help combat ovarian, cervical, breast, liver, colon, and skin cancer cells.
Tossing and turning? Before you reach for prescription sleep aids that can create dependency, a supplement with jujube might be your answer. Jujube fruit and seed extracts have been found to increase not just sleep time but sleep quality in studies of mice, thanks to jujube’s bioactive compounds that can increase time spent in slow-wave sleep and REM sleep, the two most restorative stages of sleep.
The bioactive compounds that make jujube a great sleep aid can also help you chill out. Jujube affects your GABA and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that are important for mood and relaxation.
Boost your brainpower
Start the day with jujube in your tea or fruit smoothie — your brain will thank you. Studies have found that jujube improves learning and memory and protects against oxidative stress that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Both fresh jujube fruit and dried, mature jujubes (the ones used in TCM herbal formulas) could provide a brainboost.
This delicious fruit can improve your gut health, too. Half of its carbohydrate content comes from fiber, helping move food through your digestive system, reducing constipation, and promoting beneficial gut bacteria. Jujube extracts may also help strengthen your stomach lining and intestinal lining, protecting against ulcers, injury, and harmful bacteria.
Tasty, easy to eat, and chock-full of health benefits, jujube hits the sweet spot. Try our snow fungus dessert recipe or you can also find it in NOOCI’s Noo Moon Menstrual Support formula, which could provide relief from cramps, reduces bloating, and support irregular cycles, all in one go.