Jujube fruit (Ziziphus jujuba), also known as the jujube date or red date, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for calming and sedation for thousands of years.* That’s because this little red or green plant is nutrient-dense and packed with antioxidants, amino acids, flavonoids, saponins, and polysaccharides, and these compounds help promote rest via multiple pathways.
For starters, jujube’s antioxidants help protect cells against free radicals, reducing oxidative stress pathways that can make it difficult to fall asleep.* One of its flavonoids, spinosin, also seems to affect the body’s serotonin receptors and kick-start sleepiness.* As mbg previously reported, the saponins in both jujube fruit and seeds also have calming properties.* Finally, jujube has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect on the mind—reducing mental chatter while promoting memory and learning.*
Modern research is emerging to further validate the ancient remedy. Last year, a small, randomized study out of Australia found that those who took jujube seeds nightly for four weeks reported having longer, higher-quality sleep than those who took a placebo.* Another randomized control trial on healthy adults found that a sleep complex containing jujube improved sleep quality, as well as mood and energy levels, over the course of two weeks.* Jujube has also been shown to reduce sleep onset—the time it takes to fall asleep—by 10 minutes, on average, compared to a placebo.*
Finally, a 2020 study found that postmenopausal women who consumed jujube seed daily for 21 days also experienced improved sleep quality and fewer sleep disturbances, leading authors to call it a promising herbal remedy for rest.*
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