Jujube has been used to alleviate stress, reduce inflammation, and enhance immune health for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. Read on to learn more about the potential health benefits of this fruit, as well as its other uses, interactions, and risks.
Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) is a fruit-bearing plant first domesticated in South Asia around 9,000 B.C. Jujube is known by more than 40 names around the world, being “red date” and “Chinese date” the most common ones in English. The two most popular varieties are Li and Lang.
Traditionally used in Chinese medicine, Jujube is still used today to treat digestive disorders, high blood pressure, inflammation, fever, insomnia, and skin infections. More recently, jujube has been used in the food industry as a food additive and flavoring .
- Apigenin: with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activities [3, 4]
- Isovitexin: with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties 
- Puerarin: a glycoside with anti-aging properties 
- Spinosyn: a C-glycoside with sedative properties [7, 8]
- Oleanolic acid: also known as oleanic acid, this compound has potential antiviral and antitumor properties [9, 10]
- Ursolic acid: with anti-inflammatory, liver-protective, and antitumor activities [9, 11]
- Pomolic acid: with anti-inflammatory and anticancer potential 
- Sanjoinine A: an alkaloid with anti-anxiety effects 
- Oleic acid: a fatty acid abundant in olive oil that promotes heart health 
- Ziziphin: a compound unique to jujube leaves that blocks the human taste receptors for sweetness 
- Vitamins B1, B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, A, C, and E
- Magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc
- May lower blood cholesterol, thus helping prevent heart disease
- May improve blood sugar control
- May improve sleep quality
- May improve digestive issues
- May improve anxiety and depression
- May help remove heavy metals from breast milk
- The bark has potential uses in drug delivery systems
- Insufficient evidence for most benefits
- Many trials tested jujube in combination with other herbal extracts
- Unknown safe profile
Jujube fruit powder (3x/day for one month) decreased total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels in a clinical trial on 70 obese adolescents with high blood fat levels. This may reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing artery hardening .
In another trial on 116 people with type 2 diabetes, a balanced diet in combination with jujube infusion (10 g/100 mL boiling water) before meals for 12 weeks lowered triglycerides, total cholesterol, and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) .
Although limited, the evidence suggests that jujube may reduce the risk of heart disease by improving blood fat profile. You may use jujube as a complementary approach if your doctor determines that it may be helpful in your case. Importantly, never take it in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes.
In a clinical trial on 11 healthy people, dried jujube fruits reduced blood sugar spikes after meals, especially if combined with almonds .
In another trial on 116 people with type 2 diabetes, a balanced diet combined with jujube infusion (10 g/100 mL boiling water) before meals for 12 weeks reduced a marker of poor blood sugar control (glycosylated hemoglobin) .
Again, limited evidence suggests that jujube may help improve blood sugar control. You may discuss with your doctor if this fruit may benefit you. Remember that you should never take jujube instead of antidiabetic medication prescribed by your doctor.
Suan Zao Ren Tang is a concoction containing jujube used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat insomnia. In a clinical trial on 90 people, this remedy improved sleep quality and efficiency. Suan Zao Ren Tang was also effective in combination with another traditional Chinese medicine (Zhi Zi Chi Tang) in another trial on 119 people with insomnia and anxiety [25, 26].
However, a complex with jujube extract (4.5 g/tablet), milk protein, hops extract, vitamin B6, and magnesium taken daily for 2 weeks was not more effective than placebo at improving sleep quality in a clinical trial on 171 people .
Jujubosides in jujube fruit increased the duration of REM sleep in rats .
Although the results of most clinical trials are promising, they all tested jujube as part of multi-herbal extracts, making the specific contribution of jujube difficult to estimate. More clinical trials with jujube alone are needed to establish its effects.
In a clinical trial on 37 chronically constipated people, jujube extract reduced constipation and increased quality of life .
A single clinical trial and some animal research cannot be considered sufficient evidence to claim that jujube improves digestive issues. Larger, more robust clinical trials are needed to validate these preliminary results.
Two traditional Chinese formulations (Suan Zao Ren Tang and Zhi Zi Chi Tang) reduced anxiety and sleep disturbances in a clinical trial on 119 people when taken in combination daily for 4 weeks .
Inflammation may be involved in the development and progression of depression. A concoction with jujube, wheat, hawthorn, and lily decreased depressive symptoms and the levels of a pro-inflammatory cytokine (TNF-α) in mice .
A single clinical trial (using jujube in combination with several other extracts) and some animal research are insufficient to support this potential health benefit of jujube. Further clinical research testing jujube alone is needed to establish its potential use against anxiety and depression.
In a clinical trial on 40 women who had recently given birth, those who ate fresh jujube fruits daily had lower concentrations of toxic heavy metals such as lead and cadmium in their breast milk .
Larger, more robust clinical trials are needed to confirm this preliminary result.
Jujube bark was successfully tested in adhesive discs to deliver drugs to patients with mouth disease in both a gelatin layer and a small trial on 10 healthy volunteers. Further research is needed until jujube bark can be used as part of drug delivery systems .
Jujube extract protected against seizures, improved brain function, and reduced oxidative stress in epileptic rats .
Glutamate is an important excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. Too much glutamate may cause brain damage in conditions such as stroke, epilepsy, or Parkinson’s. Jujuboside A, a compound in jujube, reduced glutamate levels .
Amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques are involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Ziziphus mucronota, a close relative of jujube with some of the same active compounds, reduced the toxic effects of Aβ plaques in human brain cells .
Astrocytes are star-shaped cells found in the brain that protect neurons by releasing growth factors and controlling antioxidant enzyme levels. Jujube extract improved their function in cell-based studies .
Betulinic acid found in jujube fruit protected immune cells from inflammation caused by an anticancer drug (doxorubicin) .
CKBM is a jujube-containing concoction commonly used for inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. CKBM reduced inflammatory cytokine (IFN-gamma) production in a study in immune cells (T and B cells) .
Jujube has been traditionally used to treat eczema. In a study in mice, jujube essential oil (1% and 10%) reduced skin inflammation .
Jujube essential oil (1%) applied to shaved skin increased the number of hair follicles and hair length in mice .
Betulinic acid from jujube prevented the replication and development of the HIV-1 virus .
Note, however, that these are very preliminary results that haven’t been replicated in humans and even in animals. More studies are needed to determine if jujube, when ingested at normal doses, may be of any use against the infections caused by these microorganisms.
Below, we will discuss some preliminary research on jujube’s anticancer potential. It’s still in the animal and cell stage and further clinical research has yet to determine if its compounds are useful in cancer therapies.
Do not under any circumstances attempt to replace conventional cancer therapies with jujube, its components, or any other dietary interventions. If you want to use it as a supportive measure, talk to your doctor to avoid any unexpected interactions.
Jujuboside B killed stomach cancer cells in test tubes and suppressed stomach cancer tumor growth in mice .
Keep in mind that the safety profile of jujube is relatively unknown, given the lack of well-designed clinical studies. The list of side effects below is not a definite one and you should consult your doctor about other potential side effects based on your health condition and possible drug or supplement interactions.
Jujube is generally safe when ingested in normal food doses. Indeed, no adverse effects have been reported in the few clinical trials carried out so far.
Pomonic acid is a compound found in jujube that may increase the risk of fatty liver disease based on the results of a cell-based study .
Supplement/Herb/Nutrient-drug interactions can be dangerous and, in rare cases, even life-threatening. Always consult your doctor before supplementing and let them know about all drugs and supplements you are using or considering.
Jujube extract (100 mg/kg) increased the effects of antiepileptic drugs in rats .
Because jujube is not approved by the FDA for any condition, there is no official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on trial and error. Discuss with your doctor if jujube may be useful as a complementary approach in your case and which dose you should take.
The doses used in clinical trials testing jujube alone were:
- Blood cholesterol levels: 5 g of jujube fruit powder 3x/day or 300 mL of an infusion (10 g/100 mL) 3x/day [18, 19]
- Blood sugar control: 84 g dried fruits per serving or 300 mL of an infusion (10 g/100 mL) 3x/day [23, 19]
- Constipation 20-40 drops of extract per day 
- Heavy metal removal from breast milk: 15 g/day jujube fruit juice 
The opinions expressed in this section are solely those of jujube users, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Their reviews do not represent the opinions of SelfHacked. SelfHacked does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.
Do not consider user experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers because of something you have read on SelfHacked. We understand that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.
Many users reported taking jujube as part of a supplement to reduce anxiety or improve memory. Some satisfied users claimed that it curbed their anxiety and improved their sleep quality.
However, dissatisfied users complained that jujube had no effect in their case. Some users were worried about the potential of jujube to increase GABA receptor activity.