Wild Jujube seeds Sour Jujube seeds Semen ziziphi spinosae
Common name:Choerospondias axillaris
It’s estimated that while 10% of the population suffers from chronic insomnia, fully 50% experience significant insomnia at some time, originating from emotional upsets, pain, or physical disorders.
While some people turn to drugs or alcohol, which often exacerbates the problem, others find help through meditation or exercise. Those consumers in-the-know are finding healthy solutions on the herbal products shelf as well. However, there has been some negative press recently about kava kava, one of the most widely used for relaxation. It seems that there is some possibility of its role in a few cases of liver damage, although the brevity of the adverse event reports has left many insiders with questions about the quality of the evidence. Even so, the bad press has damaged kava’s reputation and left many manufacturers to consider alternatives.
It has recently been discovered that Valerian, another commonly used relaxation, may also negatively impact liver health in specific cases.
Wild Jujube seed is a very interesting solution to this problem. The herb has been highly regarded by thefor centuries for its excellent relaxation properties and extremely low toxicity, yet has remained for the most part undiscovered by western consumers. In Traditional Chinese (TCM), Wild Jujube seed is the most popular sedative herb, calming the heart and spirit, and reinforcing liver yin. That is, it actually enhances liver function in the process of reducing anxiety..
The Wild Jujube herb is the seed from the fruit of the subspecies Zizyphus jujuba var. spinosa (also spelled Ziziphus), which is a spiny deciduousnative to East Asia. The seed is removed from the ripe drupe collected during late autumn and early winter and is dried in the sun. “Sour Date Seed” or “Suanzaoren” is believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine to be the best herb in the TCM repertoire for calming disturbed “shen” (spirit) with symptoms of nervous exhaustion, fatigue, irritability, and insomnia. Classified as a nutritive sedative, it calms the mind, relaxes and nourishes muscles, nourishes the blood, spleen and liver, helps to conserve energy, and is analgesic.
Scientific studies with animals have shown Wild Zizyphus seed to have anti-anxiety and hypnotic effects, causing a reduction in the speed of conditioned reflexes, a reduction in hyperactivity, and a lowering of blood pressure.
Other effects of Wild Jujube seed augment its calming and sleep inducing effects, revealing potential for additional product applications. Because of its muscle relaxing effects, the herb is sometimes used as an anticonvulsant. Animal studies have demonstrated it effectiveness in reducing pain sensation and increasing pain tolerance, further substantiating its use as an analgesic. The herb could be useful in products for arthritis, backache, headache or any type of pain that interferes with sleep. In addition, for those with hypertension, Wild Jujube seed has been shown to produce significant, persistent and prolonged reductions in blood pressure.
The phytocompounds found in significant quantities in Wild Jujube seed are triterpene saponins, jujubosides A and B, flavone glycosides, and ferulic acid. The triterpene constituents include betulinic acid, betulin, ceanothic acid, alphitolic acid and daucosterol. The fleshy fruit surrounding the seed also contains triterpene saponins and has sedative effects, but the effects are milder than those from the seed.
Wild Jujube can be used alone or in the context of a formula. The renowned TCM Zizyphus formula, “Suanzaoren Tang”, containing calming herbs like Poria cocos, has been confirmed scientifically in its ability to treat insomnia and restlessness.