As the offspring of the thorny jujube tree, sweet jujube fruits have a melt-in-your-mouth quality that can disguise more bitter tastes. In fact, Chinese children are often given jujube fruits to appease the bitterness of certain oral medications, a trick likely born in the Han Dynasty over 2,000 years ago. While the benefits of jujube extracts have been thoroughly explored in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the majority of research in the Western world is still being conducted on animals. There are a few benefits of jujube extract that scientists have confirmed.
Modern day practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, utilize the sweet taste and warming effects of jujube to replenish qi, the body’s circulating life energy, in the spleen and stomach. Such qi imbalances are thought to have symptoms of energy loss, lack of appetite and loose stools. According to the TCM practitioners at Tcmbasics.com, jujube extracts should not be taken during abdominal distension or fullness, if intestinal parasites are suspected or if current medical conditions stimulate excessive fluid in the body.
The saponins found in jujube extracts distribute hypnotic and sedative effects which may be precursors to elevated mood, according to a 2007 study published in “Natural Product Research.” Researchers at South China University of Technology believe the metabolic roles of jujube’s saponins to be the main contributors in the prolonged sleep of animal subjects of controlled studies. The saponins found in jujube fruit extracts are called upon to combat depressive symptoms and mood swings in TCM practices.
The peel of various cultivars of the jujube fruit have been found by researchers to have strong antioxidant properties, according to a study published in the journal “Food and Chemical Toxicology” in 2010. Antioxidants are vital to the body because of their healing abilities and protection against disease. Researchers at China Agricultural University credit jujube’s naturally dark pigment for creating a nurturing environment for flavonoids, ascorbic acid and polyphenols; three antioxidants that are supremely enhanced when combined.