ZIZYPHUS ou ZIZIPHUS VULGARIS = Z.SATIVA
ZIZYPHUS ou ZIZIPHUS MAURITIANA
ZIZYPHUS ou ZIZIPHUS LOTUS
ZIZYPHUS ou ZIZIPHUS SPINA-CHRISTI
The ZIZYPHUS botanical genus, whose complex spelling of Latin origin is sometimes simplified into ZIZIPHUS (which can create confusion) exists in most continents.
there are about forty species of trees or shrubs often very thorny, particularly resistant to drought and poor soil, and which bear popular edible fruits in geographical areas with difficult climatic conditions, Sahelian and semi-desert zones.
The most famous are :
- The Chinese jujube tree or Zizyphus vulgaris (red date, chinese date) (probably equivalent to Z. sativa and Z. jujuba) an ancient food used also in traditional Arab and Chinese medicine found in temperate or Mediterranean climates.
- It is distinguished from Zizyphus mauritiana or tropical jujube tree that can grow in the desert or rather dry areas of sub-tropical regions but also in most tropical areas Africa, Indo-Pakistani region, West Indies, South America .
- Z. lotus and Z. spina-christi are mostly present in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
The interesting parts of JUJUBES from a dietary or medicinal point of view are the fruit ( jujube), the seed and to a lesser extent the leaves and roots.Tropical jujube, Zizyphus mauritiana
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
LEAVES OF JUJUBE TREE ZIZIPHUS
The jujube leaves contain astringent tannins with antibacterial, healing and antidiabetic properties.
The hydroalcoholic extract (ethanolic tincture) of leaves of Zizyphus mauritiana is hepatoprotective ; this extract protects the liver against chemical aggressions in the same way as the silymarin (blessed thistle).
There is also a substance in the jujube leaves that partially or totally suppresses the sweet taste in humans, zizyphine.
It is powerful enough to thwart the rebaudioside effect of stevia and suppresses the sweet sensation of most natural sweeteners (sugar, glucose etc.).
ROOTS OF JUJUBE TREE ZIZIPHUS
In Thailand, alkaloids extracted from the root of Zizyphus mauritiana have been studied for their antimalarial (Plasmodium falciparum) and antibacterial properties.
The jujubes of Zizyphus vulgaris, the "Chinese" jujube tree, vary in size according to the variety (between 15 mm and a few cm), purplish red in general when mature, it is the fruits of jujube that contain the most pulp.
The tropical jujube tree Zizyphus mauritiana has smaller fruits (15 to 20 mm), yellowish green when ripe, then becoming irregularly "rusting" while withering at the end of ripening.
Some varieties of Zizyphus mauritiana selected in India produce larger fruits.
Jujube pulp is pleasantly tart, sometimes a bit acrimonious if not ripe; it's a little reminiscent of some cider apples.
Average composition of jujube pulp :
- 65 to 70% water
- 20 to 30% of sugars (carbohydrates),
- 1 to 2% of proteins,
between 300 and 600 mg of vitamin C per 100g of fruit,
flavonoids with antioxidant properties, tannins, organic acids,
- as well as vitamin A and an interesting amount of iron, calcium and potassium.
Jujube fruit contains probably a substance (enzyme?) that prevents glucan synthesis from sucrose.
Glucan is formed in the mouth by a bacterial action and participates in the formation of "dental plaque" prelude to dental caries and tooth decay.
The consumption of jujube thus limit the formation of dental caries.
The jujube pulp is slightly laxative but the whole fruit may produce the opposite effect (constipation) probably because of the tannins in the fruit's skin.
THE SEED OR CORE OF JUJUBE FRUIT
The fruit jujube contains one or two seeds (sometimes called sanjoin).
The seed of zizyphus vulgaris (common or Chinese jujube) contains several groups of active substances on the functioning of the central nervous system:
- action on the appearance and duration of sleep,
- the mood,
- cerebral excitability.
The most active compounds: jujubosides, and alkaloids (sanjoinine or frangufoline, nuciferine, zizyphusin and cochlaurine).
These compounds are mainly studied in Asia (China and Korea) for their hypnotic, anticonvulsant, anti-epileptic, anxiolytic and sedative power, which corresponds to the traditional uses of jujube fruit in China and Korea.
The tradition is that the seeds have their hypnotic power increased when they are roasted slightly.
Among the active substances SANJOININE A seems the most interesting for its sedative and calming power.
In the traditional pharmacopoeia of Asia the complete fruit is used , mainly dried.
The hydroalcoholic extracts of dried jujube with its seeds have antalgic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and bronchodilator properties.
Nevertheless animal tests show that it takes a relatively large amount of extract to observe an effect.
Other properties have been mentioned by Korean researchers including effects on the cardiovascular system: antiarrhythmic and hypotensive effect.
In practice we realize that the consumption of dried jujube can slow down the intestinal transit or lead to constipation.
JUJUBE FRUIT ESSENTIAL OIL
Recent studies in South Korea show that the essential oil of Chinese jujube seed is anti-inflammatory and increases hair regrowth in the mouse, after depilation, at concentrations of 1 and 10% .
The effect on hairiness is the best at 1% concentration.
This essential oil is also antibacterial.
Jujube trees are not well known in the West but are widely used in Asia ("Suan Zao Ren" in China), India (called "ber") and the Middle East (called "sidr").
The different species of jujube trees adapt to all climates except those with cold and wet winters.
These are trees that are particularly well suited to arid regions or those with a prolonged dry season where their plantation must be encouraged (especially in Africa)
JUJUBE FRUIT DIETETIC
All fruits of the jujube species are edible but not all are so tasty.
Jujube trees in China and selected varieties of Z. mauritiana in India have marketable fruits that are consumed fresh, cooked, dried or fermented.
You can make fruit juice, marmalade, dry pulp flour, dry pulp cakes
Jujubes fruit make a fermented drink (containing vitamin B) similar to cider or beer with low alcohol content.
These are "natural" fruits that are interesting and easy to keep.
As we have seen above, the pulp of jujube fruits favors the intestinal transit but it is necessary to use mature fruits and if possible without the skin.
JUJUBE IN PHYTOTHERAPY
Jujube is not yet used in Western medicine, but in Asia it is a medicinal plant used to promote sleep and reduce nervousness.
Chinese and Korean doctors associate dried jujube with its kernel to other plants, which is the tradition in Chinese medicine.
In a 2002 report on the use of plants to treat insomnia in Taiwan, the most prescribed is Polygonum multiflorum (Shou-wu-teng, 23.8%), followed by Ziziphus spinosa (Suan-zao-ren, 18.3%).
it is the thorny variety of the Chinese jujube tree.
Jujube has no significant toxicity and does not cause addiction.
Jujube leaves are commonly used in plasters on infected or uninfected wounds in deprived areas or when antiseptics or dressings are not available.
Because of its content in flavonoids and tannins, it can be used in case of moderate type 2 diabetes, in the form of daily infusion.
The daily dose will be decreased or spaced in case of constipation.
The concentrated infusion is antidiarrheal, dries up the inflamed mucous membranes, can be used as a mouthwash, as a liquid to clean a wound or a burn.
Ziziphus leaves are readily eaten by camels, cattle and goats. They are considered nutritious.
THE FLOWER OF JUJUBIER
The jujube blossom is small but attracts browsers, it produces a honey known for its taste and its supposed aphrodisiac properties (Yemen sidr honey for example).
The flower of several species of Zizyphus, especially Z. mauritiana, emits a very odoriferous volatile substance, the scatol (or skatole), which has the particularity of being a pleasant perfume at low concentration but smells of excrement (fecal odor) at a highter concentration.
This very powerful smell is typical of jujube blossom in the West Indies.
ZIZIPHUS (JUJUBE) CULTURE
The Chinese jujube tree can grow and bear fruit in all countries with a temperate climate and a dry season. Some varieties support frost up to -10 °.
The tropical jujube tree has been improved in India where it is a widespread fruit tree, selected varieties ae grafted on rootstocks adapted to the soil and local climatic conditions.
It is a tree whose cultivation is encouraged in Africa and in the Middle East .
Propagation is preferably from seeds, the root network is highly developed and must be preserved when changing the place of the young tree that will often be secondarily grafted.
Jujube trees planted tightly form impenetrable hedges.
The wood of the well developed trees is sought after because of excellent quality in joinery-carpentry or to make charcoal.
JUJUBE FRUIT TREES USEFUL and MEDICINAL
Jujube trees are trees or shrubs from tropical and warm temperate regions, their fruit is edible and extracts from the seed of the Chinese jujube tree are active on the nervous system with a tranquilizing action and promoting sleep.
In this fruit there is also a substance that can limit dental decay.
This tree is mostly used and studied in Asia: China, Korea and India
The planting of jujube trees is encouraged in arid or tropical zones with prolonged dry season especially in Africa. .
Copyright 2019 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel