The 15+ Benefits of Ziziphus Jujuba (Jujube or Chinese Dates)

Jujube Improves The Brain And Reduces Anxiety



Ziziphus jujuba (jujube or Chinese dates), a plant in the family Rhamnaceae, has been used in several Asian countries as a food and a traditional medicine for over 3000 years. R

In this post we’ll go through jujube and discuss how the different parts of the Jujube plant (seeds, fruit, leaves, roots, etc) have profound effects on the body. R


  1. Basics
  2. Benefits
  3. Caveats
  4. My Experience
  5. Where To Get It
  6. Mechanism Of Action
  7. More Research


Jujube has typically been used in Chinese Herbal Medicines (CHM) for centuries for treating: R R R

  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • “Cleansing the blood” 
  • “Deficiency syndromes of the spleen”
  • Fatigue
  • Gut Disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Taste Enhancement

Modern studies have shown jujube to be beneficial in protecting the brain, enhancing the immune system against cancer, protecting against obesity, and much more. 




1. Increases Cognitive Function



Jujube can improve memoryR

For example, animals that were given jujube had improved abilities to remember puzzles. R

Jujube can also significantly increase neurogenesis in the brain (growth of new brain cells). R

It SIGNIFICANTLY increases brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and neurotrophin 3 (NT3). R R

Jujube also increases the dendrite growth of neurons. R

Jujube has shown to increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is necessary for learning. R

2. Protects The Brain

Jujube is neuroprotectiveR

It can prevent glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity in the hippocampus. R 

It can also help protect the brain against excitotoxicity by beta-lactam antibiotics. R

Jujube extract can also prevent the damaging effect beta-amyloid plaques (as seen in Alzheimer’s Disease) on the cells of the brain. R R

Jujube also helps with blood flow in the brain by increasing nitric oxide and reducing high blood pressureR R

Jujube may protect the brain against the toxic effects of alcohol consumption. R

It may also protect the brain during seizures. R

3. Helps With Anxiety And Depression

Jujube has strong anti-anxiety effects.

For example, its effects can be compared to two commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications (Buspirone and Diazepam). R

Jujube may also help with depressive symptoms by increasing serotonin in the brain. R R

4. Helps With Sleep 



Jujube has traditionally been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for insomnia. R R R

Jujube can increase the length of REM sleep and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep (sleep latency). R R

Jujube can be both hypnotic and sedative as it works on the neurotransmitter GABA. R

It can also reduce stress-related insomnia. R R

Magnolia can enhance jujube’s sedating effects. R

Jujube, in an herbal concoction of Suan Zao Ren Tang (SZRT), may also help with insomnia related to opiate withdrawal. R

Jujube synergizes well with melatonin or 5-HTP for sleep. R R

5. May Be Anti-Aging

Jujube may help increase longevity.R

In an experimental study, fruit flies were fed a calorie-restricted diet (essentially starvation) and given jujube fruit. R

Jujube was possibly able to protect the flies from the detrimental effects of calorie restriction, so the flies lived longer. R

These result suggest that the combination of starvation and jujube supplementation may increase FOXO gene expression, which would slow the aging process and make the flies more adaptive to stress in the long run. R

6. May Protect Against HIV

Betulinic acid (BA) from jujube can be protective against HIV. R R

BA has been shown to inhibit HIV activation and is a potent anti-viral. R

7. Has Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Jujube has anti-inflammatory/antioxidant properties and can activate the gene pathway NRF2. R R R

Jujube is high in nutrients and minerals such as vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. R

Also, betulinic acid (BA) from jujube can increase antioxidants such as glutathione, which protects against oxidative stress. R

Jujube’s antioxidant effect may be even stronger when jujube is in an extract of with other Chinese herbs. R R

Jujube also works on the immune system as an anti-inflammatory.

Jujube can prevent macrophages from turning into foam cells (cause the build up of plaques in arteries), which may help in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. R R

Jujube may also help reduce “sickness behavior”. R

Jujube’s anti-inflammatory effects may speed up the process of wound healing and when applied as an essential oil may help with hair regrowth. R R

8. Helps With Pain

Jujube can reduce physical pain. R

It can also reduce the size and amount of pain associated with ovarian cysts in women. R

Jujube extract can be used as a local anesthetic and muscle relaxant. R

It can also protect against gut-related pain. R

9. Protects The Gut



Jujube has traditionally been used to prevent diarrhea (although too much can induce it). R R

It can be used to treat chronic constipation. R

It can also be used to protect against irritable bowel disease. R

Jujube can reduce ulcers in the gut. R R R

It also protects against oxidative stress on the gut. R

For example, jujube may help protect the gut against excessive ammonia. R

Jujube can also inhibit the formation of aberrant crypt foci (clusters of abnormal tube-like glands in the lining of the colon and rectum). R

10. May Help With Allergies

Jujube may help with allergies as it has anti-histamine properties. R

Jujube can stabilize mast cells (immune cells responsible for creating brain fog and allergies). R

Ge-Gen-Tang (an herbal concoction with jujube) has been used to treat allergy-related diarrhea. R

It may also be used to treat allergic rhinitis and anaphylaxis. R R

11. May Prevent Pregnancy

Jujube may be useful alternative to oral contraceptives with less side effects (see caveats for males). R

12. Has Antimicrobial Properties

Jujube has traditionally been used to treat fevers, influenza, and the common cold. R R

Jujube can protect against:

  • E. Coli R
  • MRSA R
  • P. aeruginosa R
  • S. mutans R
  • S. typhi R

Alphitolic acid, a metabolite from the jujube leaf, has anti-biofilm properties and may help with cavity prevention. R

Using jujube extracts on meat may decrease their ability carry bacterial infections. R

13. Protects Against Toxins

Jujube can attenuate the toxic effects of many plants:

  • Euphorbia Kansuia R
  • Radix Kansui R

14. May Protect Against Cancer



Jujube may protect against cancer. R R

It has betulinic acid (BA) and triterpenoids, which have anti-cancer properties. R R R

For example, BA has anti-tumor properties against melanoma cells. R

BA can also be used to fight against cancers of: R

  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Leukemia
  • Lung
  • Prostate

Tripenoids can protect against liver cancers. R

Jujube (in whole) may also protect against breast cancer and cervical cancer. R

It’s anti-cancer effects synergize well with EGCG. R

Jujube has also shown to protect blood cells against the toxic effects of some chemotherapy drugs. R

15. Protects The Liver and Fights Obesity

Jujube can help the metabolism, while protecting and improving liver function. R R R

For example, teenagers who ate jujube fruit daily for 1 month had reduced total cholesterol levels and reduced LDL-C levels. R

One reason for this may be because jujube (as fruit) has pectin (a natural prebiotic), decreases overall insulin levels, or because it increases short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). R R

Another reason could be since jujube has powerful flavanoids such as quercetinR

Jujube may protect against neonatal jaundice (liver injury in infants). R

Jujube can also help against diabetes since they protect against hyperglycemia. R

This effect can be enhanced when combine with hogweedR

Jujube can also help with diabetes-induced neuropathy. R R

Jujube’s protective effect against diabetes may be enhanced when combined with acupuncture or saffron + barberry. R R

Jujube also helps with inflammation associated with fat accumulation. R


Jujube may have estrogenic effects, as it may raise estrogen levels in the blood and brain, but I wouldn’t worry about it systemically. R R

In males in vitro, jujube may have anti-fertility effects and reduce sperm count and viability. R

Jujube due to its contraceptive effects should not be taken during pregnancy.

Jujube may interact with anti-coagulant drugs. R

It may also interact with drugs that are metabolized via the P450 pathway. R

Jujube seems to have no tolerance buildup. R

My Experience

If I take jujube with a stimulant, I get an awake-like calmness (enhanced by super coffee).

If I take it before bed, I have more vivid dreams and I remember what I studied the night before better.

Its effects seem greater when paired with theanine (suntheanine).

I don’t believe it has had any estrogenic effects on me, lessened my libido, or sperm count.

I also use jujube as an alternative to sugar or artificial sweeteners

Where To Get It



Ziziphus may synergize with piracetam. R

Mechanism Of Action



  • Activates HIF1α (inducing expression of erythropoietin) R
  • Activates PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling R
  • Enhances expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) R
  • Has high amounts of xanthine, hypoxanthine, adenine, uridine, guanosine, cAMP and cGMP R R
  • Increases Acetylcholine R
  • Increases Adiponectin R
  • Increases HDL-C R
  • Increases Nitric Oxide R
  • Increases Serotonin R
  • Inhibits Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) R
  • Inhibits Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) R
  • Inhibits COX-1 R
  • Inhibits COX-2 R
  • Inhibits NF-kB R R
  • Reduces ALT, AST, and LDH R
  • Reduces IL-1b R
  • Reduces IL-6 R
  • Reduces IL-8 R
  • Reduces LDL-C R
  • Reduces LPa R
  • Reduces MMP2 R
  • Reduces MMP9 R
  • Reduces PGE2 R
  • Reduces TNF-α R R R
  • Reduces Total Cholesterol R
  • Reduces VEGF R R
  • Stabilizes ROS, GSH-Px, SOD, NQO1, and GCL via NRF2 activation R R R


  • Jujube has flavonoids (procyanidin B2, epicatechin, catechin, rutin, quercetin-3-O-rutinoside, quercetin-3-robinobioside, quercetin-3-O-galactoside, kaempferol-glucosyl-rhamnoside, kaempferol-glucosyl-3″-rhamnoside, saponarin, spinosin, vitexin, swertish, 6‴-hydroxybenzoylspinosin, and 6‴-feruloylspinosin), saponins and polysaccharides, which consist of Jujubogenins (jujuboside A and B), suanzaoren (Zizyphi Spinosi Semen), triterpene-acids (alphitolic, betulinic, maslinic, and oleanolic), cerebrosides, amino acids, phenolic acids (p-Hydroxybenzoic, gallic acid, glycosides, protocatechuic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, rutin, and quercetin), and mineral constituents. R R R
  • It is also high in linoleic acid, dietary fiber, fructose, glucose, sucrose, rhamnose, sorbitol, citric, succinic, and malic acid. R
  • Jujube also goes by ge-gen-tang, Zizyphi Fructus, and Suan Zao Ren. 
  • GGT activates ATP-sensitive Kþ channels in cultured ICCs and inhibits pacemaker potentials through activation of β1-adrenoceptors. R
  • Jujube is a serotonin receptor (5-HT) antagonist (specifically of 5-HT1B) and that may be the pathway that it produces relaxation and sedation. R R R
  • Another reason for it’s sedating effect is by its ability to decrease glutamate in the hippocampus. R
  • Also oleamide in jujube is procholinergic, which may help with increasing REM. R
  • Saponins have more of an on sedation and hypnotic function than that of flavonoids, whereas polysaccharides do not have sedative and hypnotic effects. R
  • Jujube increase GABA(A) receptor expression, especially in the hippocampus. R R R
  • Betulinic acid (BA) has anti-cancer, anti-HIV, and antioxidant effects, such as raising catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione (GSH), and metallothionein, while decreasing rea
    ctive oxygen species. R
  • Jujube also increases GPx activity in the hippocampus. R
  • Jujube decreases hyperglycemia by acting as a alpha-glucosidase inhibitor. R
  • Jujube seems to have no effect on dopamine or adenosine receptors, unless combined with magnolia. R
  • Jujube arrests melanoma cells at the G2/M phase during the cell cycle and in breast cancer cells shows significant antiproliferative effects on estrogen receptors. R
  • Jujube prevents obesity on adipocyte differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadiocytes by suppressing lipid accumulation and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase activity without affecting cell viability. R
  • Jujube reduces blood pressure by increasing renal blood flow and has antinephritic effects. R
  • Jujube’s pain relieving properties are partly because of it’s ability to control the flow of ions across cell membranes. R
  • Jujube can reduce mast-cell histamine release. R
  • Jujube can act as a contraceptive due to its inhibitory effect on delta(5)-3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (delta(5)-3beta-HSD) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PDH), which are the main enzymes involved in ovarian steroidogenesis. R
  • Ziziphus antagonizes high glucose-induced upregulation of cleaved caspase-3. R
  • Jujube may increase the P450 CYP1A2 activity. R
  • Jujube may decrease monocytes and neutrophils, but increase lymphocytes. R
  • Jujube increases neurogenesis through signaling of cAMP-PKA-CREB. R
  • Jujube helps recycle HO-1, biliverdin reductase A, biliverdin reductase B, and ferroportin. R

More Research

  • There are nearly 30 kinds of jujube diseases, such as rust, anthracnose, white rot, fruit rots, ascochyta spot, fruit shrink, dieback and witches’-broom. R
  • Ziziphus jujuba may increase muscle stamina and strength. R