Encaustic painting ÒJujubeÓ by Raquel Edwards

 

More formally known as the Zizphus mauritana, elements of the jujube have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for 2,500 years. The tree appears in Classic of Poetry, a collection of Chinese poetry dating from the 11th to 7th centuries B.C., and John Gerarde mentions the jujube as an excellent tonic for all parts of the body in his Generall History of Plantes published in 1597.

Every part of the jujube is used medicinally. The roots treat coughs, gout and rheumatism; the leaves have exhibited substantial hypoglycemic effect; the bark is used to treat dysentery and has been shown to kill tumors; the fruit is suggested as an immune stimulant as well as a treatment for cuts, ulcers, pulmonary ailments and fevers; the seeds are known to quell nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain during pregnancy; and the flowers serve as an eye ointment.

With 64 alkaloids, the jujube offers a range of potentially useful medicinal substances, and research into the plant continues. Recently, the alkaloid betulinic acid, which is widely distributed in the plant, has demonstrated the ability to kill human melanoma cells while leaving healthy cells alive. In addition, betulinic acid has also demonstrated antiretroviral, antimalarial and anti-inflammatory properties.

To learn more about the jujube, visit http://www.phcogrev.com/article.asp?issn=0973-7847;year=2009;volume=3;issue=6;spage=320;epage=329;aulast=Mahajan

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