Ziziphus (Ziziphus jujuba, fruit; Z. spinosa, seed)

Family: Rhamnaceae

Parts commonly used: Fruit (date) and seed.

Properties/energetics: Fruit (dates) – Neuro-restorative, nutritive tonic, expectorant, mildly sedative/Neutral, moist; sweet. Seeds – Neuro-restorative, slightly sedative, analgesic/Neutral, moist; sweet, sour.

Systems predominantly affected:  Nervous, digestion, cardiovascular.

Uses: The dates treat poor appetite and digestion. They are a nurturing energy tonic that prevents and treats nervous exhaustion, low energy, and weakness and that stabilizes the emotions. They increase weight gain and help malnourished individuals grow stronger. The seeds are an excellent nerve tonic and mild sedative that can modify how one’s system responds to adrenalin. By nourishing and quieting down the sympathetic nervous system (generator of the fight-or-flight response, which sends energy out to deal with external stress), ziziphus seeds nourish and revitalize those who have been functioning on pure adrenal flow for too long. Ziziphus quiets anxieties and nervous irritations, having a specific affinity for heart palpitations. This herb is an effective tonic for thin, anxious, nervous individuals who have a hard time buffering the stresses of everyday life.

Combinations: Combines well with Wild Oat for neurologically motivated people with fast and strong heart palpitations. Treats insomnia, irritability, nervous exhaustion, and poor memory by soothing the nerves and calming the mind and emotions. It will also reduce inappropriate spontaneous sweating or night sweats.

Affects on specific body types: Very useful for Seers showing nervous exhaustion, particularly when there is also apparent cardiac irritability. Ziziphus fruit and seeds are therapeutic cousins to Wild Oat. (Refer to discussions of Oat and Motherwort for more information.)

Preparations/dosage: The red dates are considered more medicinal than the black ones. After preparing a decoction, eat the dates. Decoction: 3 to 10 dates, or 1/3 to 1/2 ounce of crushed seeds. The dates are also cooked in soups and stews for their health benefits and to enhance the flavor of the food.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition