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Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba)

Z. sativa. Z. vulgaris. Z. zizyphus. (L.)Karsten. Rhamnus zizyphus.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Ziziphus jujuba

Plants can be grown as a hedge[178].

Wood – dense, hard, compact, tough. Used for turnery, agricultural implements etc[74, 146, 158]. It makes an excellent fuel[146] and a good charcoal[158].

  • Medicinal Use

    Jujube is both a delicious fruit and an effective herbal remedy. It aids weight gain, improves muscular strength and increases stamina[254]. In Chinese medicine it is prescribed as a tonic to strengthen liver function[254]. Japanese research has shown that jujube increases immune-system resistance. In one clinical trial in China 12 patients with liver complaints were given jujube, peanuts and brown sugar nightly. In four weeks their liver function had improved[254].

    Antidote, diuretic, emollient, expectorant[11, 61, 174, 178, 194].

    The dried fruits contain saponins, triterpenoids and alkaloids[279]. They are anodyne, anticancer, pectoral, refrigerant, sedative, stomachic, styptic and tonic[4, 176, 218]. They are considered to purify the blood and aid digestion[240]. They are used internally in the treatment of a range of conditions including chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, pharyngitis, bronchitis, anaemia, irritability and hysteria[176, 238, 279].

    The seed contains a number of medically active compounds including saponins, triterpenes, flavonoids and alkaloids[279]. It is hypnotic, narcotic, sedative, stomachic and tonic[147, 176, 218]. It is used internally in the treatment of palpitations, insomnia, nervous exhaustion, night sweats and excessive perspiration[176, 238].

    The root is used in the treatment of dyspepsia[218]. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of fevers[4, 240]. The root is made into a powder and applied to old wounds and ulcers[240].

    The leaves are astringent and febrifuge[4, 218]. They are said to promote the growth of hair[218]. They are used to form a plaster in the treatment of strangury[240].

    The plant is a folk remedy for anaemia, hypertonia, nephritis and nervous diseases[218].

    The plant is widely used in China as a treatment for burns[218].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[1, 2, 3, 100, 158]. Mealy and sweet[46]. A sourish-sweet flavour[174]. The fruit can be eaten fresh, dried like dates or cooked in puddings, cakes, breads, jellies, soups etc[183]. The dried fruit has the nicest taste[11, 132]. The fruits are often left to become wrinkled and spongy, which increases their sweetness, and are then eaten fresh or cooked[238]. The dried fruit can also be ground into a powder. This powder is used in the preparation of ‘kochujang’, a fermented hot pepper-soybean paste that resembles miso[183]. Fruits are about 13mm in diameter[194] and contain one or two seeds[238]. Average yields from wild trees in the Himalayas are 9.5kg per year[194]. The fruit contains about 8.7% sugars, 2.6% protein, 1.4% ash, 1.7% pectin and 1.3% tannin[194]. The fruit is about 25mm long, though it can be larger in cultivated varieties[200].

    The fruit can be used as a coffee substitute[183].

    Leaves – cooked. A famine food, they are only used when all else fails[179]. A nutritional analysis is available[218].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed requires 3 months warm then 3 months cold stratification[113]. Germination should take place in the first spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant out in early summer. Root cuttings in a greenhouse in the winter[200]. Best results are achieved if a temperature of 5 – 10¡c can be maintained[238]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, November to January in a frame[238]. Division of suckers in the dormant season[174]. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.
Succeeds in most soils so long as they are well-drained[3, 200]. Prefers an open loam and a hot dry position[1, 3]. Succeeds in an alkaline soil[200]. Plants are fast growing, even in poor soils[146]. Plants are hardy to about -20¡c[200]. Another report says that they are hardy to about -30¡c when fully dormant[160]. The jujube is often cultivated in warm temperate zones for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties[50, 183]. The trees need a hot dry summer if they are to fruit well, which rather restricts their potential in a country like Britain[238, K]. The tree spreads by root suckers and self-sowing, often forming dense thickets. Where the climate suits it, the plant can escape from cultivation and become an invasive and problematic weed[274]. Trees are resistant to most pests and diseases[160]. Responds well to coppicing[146]. Trees form a deep taproot and should be planted into their permanent positions as soon as possible[200]. Fast growing and quick to mature, it can fruit in 3 – 4 years from seed[200].
E. Asia – China, Japan.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.