Chinese Name : 酸枣仁
Latin Name : Semen Zizyphi Spinosae
This herb is the dried, ripe fruit of Ziziphus jujuba Mill var spinosa (Burge.) Hu ex H.F. Chou of the family Rhamnaceae. The plant grows mostly in the mountains in the Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, and Shaanxi provinces of China. The fruit is collected in the autumn and the seed is dried in the sun after removing the pulp and stonelike shell. The herb is used unprocessed or stir baked and crushed. Zizyphus, also known as wild jujube seed, is traditionally used as a tranquilizer, anodyne, tonic, and sedative to treat rheumatic difficulties, sleeplessness (whether from weakness or from pain), and spontaneous night sweating.
Use of Zizyphus in TCM
Sweet in taste and neutral, it acts on the heart and liver meridians.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
- Nourishes the heart, tranquilizes the mind, and relieves restlessness:
- For dreaminess, palpitations induced by terror, and severe palpitations due to insufficiency of blood in the heart and liver, zizyphus is used alone in a decoction or combined with polygonus, Chinese angelica, poria, white peony root, and longan aril.
- To treat insomnia accompanied by restlessness, palpitations, night sweating, dry throat and mouth, and a thready, taut pulse, due to insufficiency of the liver accompanied with Heat, it is often used with anemarrhena rhizome, cnidium, licorice root, and poria, as in Suan Zao Ren Tang (R-40).
- To treat insomnia, palpitations, forgetfulness, dreaminess, and dryness of the mouth and throat caused by insufficiency of the heart and kidneys, as well as from the hyperactivity of yang, it is prescribed with dried rehmannia root, scrophularia root, schisandra fruit, biota seed, and other herbs, as in Tian Wang Bu Xin Wan (R-45).
- Zizyphus is used to treat general deficiency and excessive sweating: for spontaneous sweating and night sweating due to a general deficiency of Qi and Blood, it is mixed with codonopsis, schisandra fruit, and cornus fruit.
- For menopausal syndrome: treatment with a zizyphus complex recipe, such as Suan Zao Ren Tang (R-40), along with acupuncture gives satisfactory results.
In a decoction 10 to 18 g; 1.5 to 3 g if in powdered form; should be taken before sleep.
People with diarrhea, excess Heat in the heart and spleen, a cold, or pregnant women should avoid or use this herb with caution. Zizyphus rarely causes undesirable side effects or toxicity at the therapeutic dose. An overdose may cause nausea, vomiting, and a burning sensation in the stomach. Some people develop urticaria and dizziness. Avoid taking other sedative or hypnotic drugs with wild jujube seed.
Wild jujube seed contains two saponins, jujubosides A nad B , jujubogenin, betulin, betulic acid, ferulic acid, ceanothic acid, alphitolic acid, daucosterol, ebelin, lacton, spauins, volatile oil, and vitamin C.
- Sedative and hypnotic:
- Zizyphus and its jujubosides were demonstrated to be sedative and hypnotic on many animals by various tests.
- Zizyphus is synergistic with many sedatives and hypnotics.
- Hypotensive and anticonvulsant.
- Antipyretic and analgesic.
- Stimulates the uterus.
One clinical study in a double-blind trial on patients with anxiety found that it significantly improved mood, decreased sympathetic nervous symptoms, and improved performance. Another study of insomnia patients showed a significant improvement in sleep quality and well-being without side effects.