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Jujube fruit or ber is a tropical berry belonging to the family Rhamnaceae. It is one of the many fruits that have closely related and similar looking varieties in tropical, subtropical and temperate areas of the world and are enjoyed in both fresh and dried forms. Interestingly, ber fruit has an entirely different appearance and flavours in both of these forms. While the green to golden coloured fresh ber fruits are known to taste as sweet as apples, its dried forms have an appearance and flavour just like that of dates. In fact, ripe and dried ber fruit is also known as Chinese date.

This variety is not just apparent in flavours and colours, but jujube fruit also packs an array of health building nutrients. It has traditionally been used in the treatment of several diseases ranging from stomach upset to insomnia.

Jujube fruit is being used in Traditional Chinese medicine for about 3000 years and is considered one of the five important medicinal fruits in ancient herbal scriptures of China.

Curious to know more?

This article will provide you with scientific evidence behind traditional uses of jujube fruit and will also tell you about its use to reap maximum benefits.

Some basic facts about jujube fruit:

  • Botanical name: Ziziphus jujuba, Z. mauritiana
  • Family: Rhamnaceae
  • Common name: Jujube, Chinese date, Indian plum, Indian cherry, ber, Chinese fig
  • Parts used: Fruit, leaves
  • Native region and geographical distribution: Jujube fruit is native to India, China, Afganistan, Malaysia and parts of Australia. It also grows in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Florida, Guatemala and other dry and warm areas in the world.
  1. Jujube fruit (ber) nutrition facts
  2. Jujube fruit health benefits
  3. Jujube fruit use
  4. Jujube side effects

Ber fruit is low in calories and comprises majorly of carbohydrates. It is also a good source of potassium and vitamin C.

Here is a table depicting the amount of various nutrients present in jujube fruit.

Nutrient Value per 100g
Energy 79kcal
Carbohydrates 20g
Protein 1.2g
Fats 0.2g
Calcium 2%
Magnesium 2%
Iron 2%
Vitamin C 115%
Vitamin B6 5%*

*Depicts percent daily values from a 2000 kcal intake.

Jujube fruit holds a special place in traditional and ayurvedic medicine and is revered as an important medicinal fruit in Traditional Chinese medicine. All for a good reason. This sweet and sour fruit is loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids and other biologically active compounds that make it a must-have for any herbalist or traditional healer. And when you think that is it, ber fruit is also being studied extensively, both in vitro (lab) and in vivo (animal models) to understand more about this miracle fruit and to put it to the best of human use.

Let us explore some of the evidence-based health benefits of ber fruit.

  1. Jujube fruit benefits for brain
  2. Ber (jujube) fruit improves immunity
  3. Jujube fruit for weight loss
  4. Ber (jujube) fruit benefits for stomach
  5. Jujube fruit benefits for heart
  6. Jujube fruit benefits for skin
  7. Jujube (ber) fruit benefits for women
  8. Anticancer properties of ber fruit
  9. Other benefits of jujube fruit

Jujube fruit benefits for brain

Ripening in the months of spring, bel fruit provides your brain with the refreshing and rejuvenating touch of the season. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used for calming the senses and treating insomnia. Here is how ber fruit helps to improve brain function and inhibit brain damage:

  • Jujube fruit is known to be an effective neuroprotective agent, which means that it protects the nervous system from damage. Lab studies indicate that ber fruit helps maintain the structure and function of brain cells along with promoting neuron (brain cell) formation and cell signalling. This makes your brain work faster and with more precision. Bet you never thought a fruit can make you smarter.
  • It activates certain antioxidant pathways in your brain, which work actively in preventing oxidative damage and neuronal death. Since oxidative stress and impairment of neuron or brain cell function is the major characteristic of diseases like  Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, consuming ber fruits may also help delay them. Research evidence demonstrates that along with preventing nerve cell damage, ber fruit extracts inhibit the accumulation of A-beta protein in brain, which is responsible for brain plaques and dementia in people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
  • Further studies indicate the memory-enhancing effects of jujube fruit extract. Not only it prevents memory loss but also reverts and improves memory.
  • In a series of animal-based studies, ber fruit has been found to possess potent memory-boosting and cognition-enhancing properties. It also reduces anxiety and prevents epileptic convulsions, as evident by preclinical evidence.
  • Ber fruit extracts, when administered along with cAMP, has been found to improve depression symptoms in animal models.

(Read more: How to increase brain power)

Ber (jujube) fruit improves immunity

Our immune system is the main line of defence against diseases. Inflammation refers to the response of our body against an injury or infection. An impairment in immune function or the presence of an immunocompromised condition makes one prone to health conditions and poses a threat. Fortunately, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle may help improve immunity. Ber is one such food. Lab studies indicate that jujube fruit extracts modulate the formation of inflammatory molecules and thereby regulating inflammation.

Further, studies suggest that the various polysaccharides (sugars) present in ber fruit improve T cell development and function. You must know that T-cells form an important part of your immune system cascade and play a major role in clearing away harmful pathogens from your body.

Being a rich source of vitamin C, ber helps you reach your daily recommended requirements quickly.

Vitamin C prevents the entry of pathogens through your skin along with increasing the production of immune system cells. As an antioxidant, it reduces oxidative stress, which has an improving effect on immune function.

Since vitamin C deficiency is associated with a weakened immune system, taking ber fruit would ensure that your body’s defences never suffer.

(Read more: Immunity boosting foods)

Jujube fruit for weight loss

Did you know munching on ber fruits can help you get rid of all those piled up pounds? According to the WHO, about 650 billion people were in the obese category worldwide, in the year 2016. This number is only going to increase if appropriate steps are not taken on time.

Obesity is basically a result of an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure, which results in the accumulation of fat. Preclinical studies suggest that ber leaf extracts help lower body weight along with reducing total food intake. It also reduces the amount of LDL or harmful cholesterol in your body, which is one of the major factors responsible for fat deposition in body tissues. This anti-obesity effect was found to be similar to that of the commercial drug sibutramine. 

Being low in calories, ber fruit does not contribute much to your total calorie intake and it also improves the digestion process, which has an elementary role in maintaining energy balance in your body.

In a clinical study, regular consumption of ber fruits demonstrated marked hypolipidemic (reduces body fat) activity in obese children.

Toss in some ber fruits in your fruit salad to melt all of that extra fat.

(Read more: Weight loss diet chart)

Ber (jujube) fruit benefits for stomach

Ber fruit is considered to be a potent gastroprotective (protects stomach) agent. Traditionally, the dried seeds, bark and leaves of ber plant are used for the treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders like ulcers, diarrhoea and dysentery.

In vivo studies indicate that bark extract obtained from ber stem protects the inner lining of your stomach and prevents stomach ulcer. Though, it was not found to be helpful in reducing ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori.

Recent studies have found that jujube fruit may be helpful in alleviating diarrhoea symptoms and controlling the growth of E.coli, the causative agent of diarrhoea and some forms of dysentery.

In a clinical study including 37 people who were suffering from chronic constipation, regular intake of ber fruit extract was demonstrated to be effective in improving their symptoms and reducing colon transit time (time taken by food to pass through your intestines).

(Read more: How to improve digestion)

Jujube fruit benefits for heart

Ber fruit has several benefits for your heart. First, it facilitates cholesterol reduction, which is one of the major risk factors for heart diseases. The antioxidants present in jujube fruits protect you from atherosclerosis.

Plaque development, when left unchecked, would narrow down your arteries and increases blood pressure. So, ber also protects you against high blood pressure. Research evidence also demonstrates the anti-hypertensive effects of ber fruit. This can be attributed to the presence of various bioactive chemicals in this delectable fruit. However, it may also be due to a good potassium content, which would balance out excess sodium in your body and also help regulate heart rhythm (Read more: Arrhythmia causes and treatment).

Also, it aids in regulating circulation and preventing blood clotting, which, otherwise pose a risk of heart attack and stroke.

Jujube fruit benefits for skin

Healthy skin makes a healthy body. Your skin not only protects you from the harmful effects of solar radiations but also stands as a barrier against the entry of infectious microbes into your body. Ber fruit is a treasury of nutrients that make the perfect addition to your beauty regime. Here is how jujube fruit benefits your skin:

  • Ber fruit possesses strong anti-inflammatory activity. The antibacterial effects of this fruit may help inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria. This means it can protect you from the discomforts caused due to acne.
  • Traditional Iranian medicine lists jujube fruit in one of the primary herbs that can facilitate a reduction in allergy symptoms and aid in managing itching caused due to eczema and dermatitis.
  • Jujube extract has been found to be a useful wound healing agent in animal-based studies. According to a clinical study mentioned in the Journal of Medicine and Life, topical application of jujube extract ointment, two times a day, speeds up wound healing in case of second-degree burns.
  • Lab studies indicate that ber fruit extracts inhibit the growth and spread of melanoma cells. However, more studies are needed to confirm ber fruit as an anticancer agent. (Read more: Skin cancer treatment)
  • Being a good source of antioxidants, ber fruit helps your skin fight oxidative stress and prevent the first signs of ageing including fine lines and wrinkles. Research studies suggest that regular consumption of jujube fruit increases lifespan and overall health.

Jujube (ber) fruit benefits for women

Apart from being your skin’s best friend and promoting heart health, jujube fruit has some other benefits for women health. It provides you with a good source of calcium, while it is not one of the richest sources of this mineral, ber fruit would help you reach your daily requirement. Since women are more prone to bone loss and osteoporosis, ber fruit could be an excellent dietary supplement to prevent this condition.

In a randomized control study, jujube fruit extracts were found to be effective in reducing the harmful effects of toxic metals like lead, arsenic and cadmium. These metals may otherwise travel to the baby and cause severe health problems. So, breastfeeding women may consider consuming this fruit after confirming with a doctor.

Anticancer properties of ber fruit

Ber fruit possesses several components that have been found to supress the growth of tumours and cancerous cells. It also induces cell death in certain types of cancer. Laboratory studies suggest that jujube extracts interfere with certain cellular pathways to inhibit the growth of breast cancer and cervical cancer cells.

Being a good source of antioxidants, it assists in reducing oxidative stress and preventing free radical damage, which is one of the major causes of DNA damage and cancer.

Other benefits of jujube fruit

  • Lab-based studies indicate that jujube fruit extracts reduce kidney damage.
  • By reducing bilirubin concentration, ber fruit helps alleviate jaundice symptoms in neonates, as demonstrated by clinical evidence.
  • Preclinical studies indicate that jujube fruit essential oil is an excellent hair growth promoting agent. However, clinical studies are still pending to confirm. (Read more: Hair fall prevention)
  • Bel fruit has been found to be an effective antimicrobial agent. It prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and yeast.

Ber fruit can be taken both fresh and in dried form. However, it is also consumed in the form of tea and decoction (kadha) in certain regions. It is an important part of many polyherbal formulations in both ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.

You can also include jujube fruit in your various recipes including tarts, pies, and cakes or just throw some pieces in your salads and ice creams.

Ber fruit is also used to make a type of wine.

  • Ber fruit is known to be a hypotensive agent. If you are suffering from low blood pressure or are a hypertensive individual on medication, it is best that you refer a doctor before taking it.
  • Animal studies demonstrate the contraceptive effect of ber fruit extracts. Pregnant women are advised to talk to a doctor to know more about the safety of ber fruit.
  • Ber fruit may lower blood glucose levels in some people.
  • People who are allergic to latex have been found to be allergic to ber fruit as well. This is because of a phenomenon known as latex-fruit syndrome.
Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
Dabur Janma GhuntiDabur Janma Ghunti71.25
Hamdard Joshina SyrupHamdard Joshina Syrup114.0
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References

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  2. Liu Z, Zhao X, Liu B, Liu AJ, Li H, Mao X, Wu B, Bi KS2, Jia Y. Jujuboside A, a neuroprotective agent from semen Ziziphi Spinosae ameliorates behavioral disorders of the dementia mouse model induced by Aβ 1-42.. 2014 Sep 5;738:206-13. PMID: 24886882
  3. Eugene L. Opie. Inflammation and Immunity. J Immunol October 1, 1929, 17 (4) 329-342;
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  6. Hamedi S, Arian AA, Farzaei MH. Gastroprotective effect of aqueous stem bark extract of Ziziphus jujuba L. against HCl/Ethanol-induced gastric mucosal injury in rats.. 2015 Dec;35(6):666-70. PMID: 26742312
  7. Naftali T, Feingelernt H, Lesin Y, Rauchwarger A, Konikoff FM. Ziziphus jujuba extract for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation: a controlled clinical trial. 2008;78(4):224-8. PMID: 19142004
  8. Mansouri P, Khademi A, Pahlevan D, Memariani Z, Aliasl J, Shirbeigii L.Review of Medicinal Remedies on Hand Eczema Based on Iranian Traditional Medicine: A Narrative Review Article. 2016 Aug;45(8):986-996. PMID: 27928524
  9. Vafaei F, Abdollahzadeh F. Investigating the effects of Hydroalcoholic extract of jujube fruit (Zizyphus vulgaris L.) on second degree burn wound healing in Balb/c mice. 2015;8(Spec Iss 2):117-120.PMID: 28255409
  10. Ghimire S, Kim MS. Jujube (Ziziphus Jujuba Mill.) fruit feeding extends lifespan and increases tolerance to environmental stresses by regulating aging-associated gene expression in Drosophila. 2017 Apr;18(2):263-273. PMID: 28251407
  11. Abedini MR, Erfanian N, Nazem H, Jamali S, Hoshyar R. Anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of Ziziphus Jujube on cervical and breast cancer cells. 2016 Mar-Apr;6(2):142-8. PMID: 27222827
  12. Awad DS1, Ali RM, Mhaidat NM, Shotar AM. Zizyphus jujuba protects against ibuprofen-induced nephrotoxicity in rats. 2014 Feb;52(2):182-6. PMID: 24074058
  13. Ebrahimimd S, Ashkani-Esfahani S, Poormahmudibs A. Investigating the Efficacy of Zizyphus Jujuba on Neonatal Jaundice. 2011 Sep;21(3):320-4. PMID: 23056808
  14. Yoon JI, Al-Reza SM, Kang SC. Hair growth promoting effect of Zizyphus jujuba essential oil. 2010 May;48(5):1350-4. PMID: 20206225
  15. Lee MF, Chen YH, Lan JL, Tseng CY, Wu CH. Allergenic components of Indian jujube (Zizyphus mauritiana) show IgE cross-reactivity with latex allergen. 2004 Mar;133(3):211-6. Epub 2004 Feb 16. PMID: 14976388
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