The Jujube: An Ancient Superfood

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The humble jujube is a well known medicinal and homeopathic remedy in many cultures and regions of the world. The jujube originated in China where they have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years.

In places as varied as Morocco, Persia, Korea, and India all use the jujube to create foods like tea, honey, candies, and even vinegar, to treat a wide variety of ailments and promote general health.

The jujube fruit is not named for the gummy candy you might have eaten as a child, but rather the other way around.

The jujube berry has a thin, edible skin surrounding whitish flesh of subtle sweet flavor. Inside there is a single hard stone that contains two seeds. It matures on the tree from green to red, and the fully ripened berry is bright red.

Most people prefer to pick and eat the berry immediately before it is totally red. After the berry is fully ripe, it starts to wrinkle and become spongy inside. If you plan on drying the fruit for use in baking or as a snack, it’s best to pick the jujube before it gets too wrinkled in order to dry it. For easy consumption, you can eat them raw or dried. Try baking them into muffins, or tossing them in salads.

The fruits have been used for centuries in Chinese and Korean traditional medicine for a variety of ailments, including stress reduction and as a soothing laxative for chronic constipation. Jujubes are anti-inflammatory, and anti-spastic. Some studies have shown that they aid in cardiovascular health, enhance metabolism and cleanse the blood vessels. They are often brewed in a tea to aid a sore throats, and are used in some cultures as part of a healing paste put on wounds. Additionally, the jujube has found to have 18 of the 24 amino acids that are necessary for the body to function. Amino acids help maintain the health and formation of our bones, muscles, blood, hormones, skin and enzymes.

Other fun facts about the jujube:

+ Jujube leaves can be used in a potpourri mix to help keep bugs and insects away!

+ Himalayan men believe that the smell of the Jujube flower can make a woman fall in love with them.

+ In traditional Chinese weddings, the jujube is put in the newlywed’s bedroom as a fertility charm.

[Image by Fotoosvanrobin]

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