The Jujube or Red Date in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Chinese red dates, also known as jujube, are great tasting and even better for your health! (Frank C. Müller)
Chinese red dates, also known as jujube, are great tasting and even better for your health! (Frank C. Müller)

This little red fruit known as the jujube (a.k.a. red date) from Asia has long been a staple in Chinese medicine and cooking as it has been cultivated in China for 4,000 years. It is starting to get press in the U.S. now too, so here is a quick overview.

First, they are delicious. The dried fruits are eaten as a snack and can even be counted as a dessert. You can also use them to make jam, wine, or tea.

Second, they are nutritious. Modern pharmacology has found that jujubes contain fat, carbohydrates, organic acids, vitamin A, and calcium, among other nutrients. Some of the jujube’s more surprising health facts: It even has 20 times more vitamin C than your typical citrus fruit. It has 18 important amino acids, which your body uses to form proteins and heal wounds.

Medical studies have also found that it can potentially protect the liver, protect the skin from cancer, and keep cholesterol down.

Chinese herbal medicine books say that the jujube’s properties are “sweet and warm”. This makes them effective at nourishing the spleen and stomach meridians. They are commonly known in China as the liver’s bodyguard.

In herbal Chinese pharmacy, the use of jujubes is sometimes classified into the following categories:

  1. Strengthen the spleen and stomach
  2. Fortify the Chi and blood flow
  3. Nourish blood cells
  4. Neutralize potent drugs being taken for other health issues

These inexpensive little fruits are worth exploring for preventative health care.

China’s First Lady Added to Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed List
Thoughtful, Gentle, Delicate Summertime Artwork from Tokyo Artist Tatsuro Kiuchi