What’s a Jujube? I’m not talking about those rubbery little candies we used to eat in the movies that could take a whole day to get out of your molars! These jujubes are small apple-like fruits that have been used in ancient medicine for over 4,000 years. When dried, they are also known as Asian dates, Chinese dates or Indian dates.
As Dr. Oz explains in his show about Ancient Chinese Cures, “Jujube, the red Chinese date, has been used for thousands of years in China to reduce stress and promote sleep, among many other wonderful health benefits. A big plus of the jujube is that it doesn’t make you tired when you take it during the day – actually, it seems to reduce fatigue related to nervousness. It is usually served as tea, made from a powder extract.” Well, here I was, face to face with the jujube fruit, dried and interesting-looking.
As I wandered through my local farmer’s market, I was first attracted by this colorful sign, praising the jujube for a myriad of benefits!
The jujube fruit, seed, bark and leaves are described in Korean, Indian, Japanese and Chinese traditional writings for its beneficial properties. The sweet, aromatic smell of the fruit is said to make teenagers fall in love! This adorable sign definitely piqued my interest and almost made me immediately fall in love with jujubes—as I got closer, I saw free samples of jujube tea being offered by a very enthusiastic lady touting all the health benefits. As you probably know by now, I love the saying, “Let Food be Thy Medicine,” and if jujubes deliver on all of these claims, it would be some sort of divine miracle! But I was intrigued so I tasted the tea and I really liked the flavor–mildly fruity with a little spice of ginger and cinnamon. Delicious!
According to Science Direct, the major mineral constituents in the the jujube are: potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. Iron, sodium, zinc, copper, vitamin C, thiamine and riboflavin are also found in the fruit. In fact, jujubes contain 20 times the amount of vitamin C as citrus fruits. As described by “Health Benefits of Jujube Fruit” in EHow.com, the jujube fruit contains 18 of the 24 amino acids required by the human body. Jujubes contain saponins, which have a relaxing and soothing effect on the nervous system.
- soothe the stomach
- ease sore throats and colds
- helps ease achy muscles
- suppress the appetite
- support cardiovascular health
- enhance metabolism
- cleanse the blood vessels
- eliminate oxidative stress in the liver
- inhibit growth of cancer tumor cells and has an anti-carcinogenic effect
- improve constipation as a mild laxative
- detoxify the liver and kidneys
- create a sense of well-being when feeling restless or irritable
- reduce anxiety
- alleviate insomnia and help promote a more restful sleep
- increase energy and stamina
- help build stronger muscles
- aid in digestion
- improve skin color and tone
- increases the activation of choline acetyltransferase and improves cognitive impairment disorder such as Alzheimer’s
With a list like that and a lovely flavor, I inched a little closer to the table. The little, dried, dark reddish fruit looked a bit like olives or prunes and were heaped in a mountain for the picking. But also available were hand-bagged kits containing every you need to make Jujube Tea! Way too simple, convenient and interesting to pass up.
How to make Jujube Tea…..
Jujube Tea Ingredients Conveniently contained in the bag:
- about 1 pound of dried jujube fruits
- a stick of fresh ginger root, unpeeled
- several pieces of cinnamon bark
- 1 large Asian pear, unpeeled, uncored, sliced into quarters
- Place 1 gallon of water in large pot
- Slice ginger root into 1 inch pieces. Put into pot, unpeeled.
- Add the cinnamon bark and slices of Asian pear
- Make a deep cut into each jujube and put into the pot.
- Simmer for 4 hours
- Strain all solid ingredients out of the liquid and the rest is tea
- Drink and enjoy!
- I enjoyed it hot, immediately. But the remainder should be cooled and refrigerated. It should keep about 10 days. From the fridge, it can be warmed up or drank cold, as iced tea! I added a nice squirt of lemon and loved it cold.
- Jujube tea can also be made solely by simmering only dried jujubes for 4 hours. The additional ingredients give it a mellow cinnamon-ginger flavor and the Asian pear gives it added sweetness. There are also added health benefits from the cinnamon and ginger
- Your kitchen will smell amazing
PS I have been drinking cup of Jujube Tea every night this week, sometimes hot, sometimes cold, always with a splash of fresh lemon juice and I’ve been sleeping like a baby (and by that I do not mean waking up every hour crying with a wet diaper!)
Jujubes can be found at Farmers’ Markets, Asian and Indian markets, health food supermarkets and on Ebay and Amazon!