The Benefits of Ziziphus

dried ziziphus (jujube berries)
dried ziziphus (jujube berries). JÃrgen Wiesler/ImageBroker/Getty Images

Ziziphus is a genus of plants used in herbal medicine. Extracts from the fruit of several species of Ziziphus (including Ziziphus jujuba, Ziziphus mauritiana, and Zizyphus spinosa) are available in dietary supplement form. In addition, the fruit of certain Ziziphus plants can be consumed as a whole food.

Uses for Ziziphus

Also known as jujube, Ziziphus jujuba is typically used as a folk remedy for the following health issues:

In alternative medicine, ziziphus jujuba is also said to increase strength, stimulate appetite and enhance liver health. When applied topically (i.e., directly to the skin), Ziziphus jujuba is thought to promote wound healing, treat dry skin, ease sunburn, and reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging.

In addition, plants within the Ziziphus genus are sometimes used in the treatment of such health problems as insomnia and menopausal symptoms.

Benefits of Ziziphus

Although research on the health effects of plants within the Ziziphus genus is limited, there's some evidence that a number of these plants may offer health benefits. In a report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2013, for instance, researchers looked at the available studies on Ziziphus jujuba and found that it may help reduce inflammation, fight obesity, stimulate the immune system, improve gastrointestinal health, and boost antioxidant capacity.

Here's a look at several other findings on the health effects of certain species of Ziziphus:

1)  Anxiety

Ziziphus jujuba shows promise in the treatment of anxiety, according to a preliminary study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2000. In tests on mice, the study's authors observed that compounds extracted from Ziziphus jujuba may have sedative effects.

2)  Diabetes

Some species within the Ziziphus genus may aid in diabetes control. For example, a mouse-based study published in Pharmaceutical Biology in 2010 determined that Ziziphus mauritiana may help manage diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.

Additionally, a preliminary study published in Natural Product Communications in 2013 found that Ziziphus mucronata may have anti-diabetic benefits. In tests on cells in culture, scientists found that Ziziphus mucronata may fight diabetes by helping cells to properly utilize blood sugar (and, in turn, protect against elevated blood sugar levels).


Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of consuming any type of Ziziphus plant in dietary supplement form. 

Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals.

 Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Alternatives to Ziziphus

To alleviate anxiety naturally, consider using such remedies as passionflower and valerian (two herbs found to offer anxiety relief in studies). However, while these herbs may help ease anxiety symptoms, neither should be used in place of physician-prescribed treatment for an anxiety disorder.

For help in controlling diabetes, there's some evidence that herbs like ginseng and cinnamon may be beneficial. Talk to your doctor before using either of these remedies for diabetes management.

Where to Find It

Dietary supplements containing extracts of Ziziphus plants are sold in many natural-foods stores and other stores specializing in natural products. You can also purchase Ziziphus products online.

Using Ziziphus for Health

Given the limited research, it's too soon to recommend ziziphus as a treatment for any condition. It should be noted that self-treating diabetes (or any other condition) with this remedy and avoiding or delaying standard care may be extremely harmful to your health.


Bhatia A, Mishra T. "Hypoglycemic activity of Ziziphus mauritiana aqueous ethanol seed extract in alloxan-induced diabetic mice." Pharm Biol. 2010 Jun;48(6):604-10.

Gao QH, Wu CS, Wang M. "The jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) fruit: a review of current knowledge of fruit composition and health benefits." J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Apr 10;61(14):3351-63.

Mousinho NM, van Tonder JJ, Steenkamp V. "In vitro anti-diabetic activity of Sclerocarya birrea and Ziziphus mucronata." Nat Prod Commun. 2013 Sep;8(9):1279-84.

Peng WH, Hsieh MT, Lee YS, Lin YC, Liao J. "Anxiolytic effect of seed of Ziziphus jujuba in mouse models of anxiety." J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Oct;72(3):435-41.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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