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Jujube - Benefits of Jujube Tree & Fruit

Botanical Name: Zizyphus martiana

Family Name : Rhamnaceae

Jujube tree is small, evergreen but of variable size, up to 15 m or more with a spreading crown and stipular spines. Back rough, grey or dull block; leaves variable, oblong-elliptic, ovate or suborbicular, closely serrulate or entire, rounded at both ends, prominently 3-nerved; flowers greenish yellow, in axillary cynes; fruits oblong-globose or ovoid, red, orange or yellowish.

Origin and Distribution

The jujube originated in China where they have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years and where there are over 400 cultivars. The plants traveled beyond Asia centuries ago and today are grown to some extent in Russia, northern Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and the southwestern United States. Jujube seedlings, inferior to the Chinese cultivars, were introduced into Europe at the beginning of the Christian era and carried to the U. S. in 1837. It is cultivated to some extent throughout its natural range but mostly in India where it is grown commercially and has received much horticultural attention and refinement despite the fact that it frequently escapes and becomes a pest. It was introduced into Guam about 1850 but is not often planted there or in Hawaii except as an ornamental. Specimens are scattered about the drier parts of the West Indies, the Bahamas, Colombia and Venezuela, Guatemala, Belize, and southern Florida. In Barbados, Jamaica and Puerto Rico the tree is naturalized and forms thickets in uncultivated areas. In 1939, 6 trees from Malaysia were introduced into Israel and flourished there. They bore very light crops of fruit heavily infested with fruit flies and were therefore destroyed to protect other fruit trees.

Properties of jujube

Astringent and stomachic.

Forms of Use :- Fruit as such, leaves decoction

Food Value of jujube

Jujube fruit is eaten fresh. It is a good source of vitamin C and sugar and contains appreciable amount of mineral constituents. Analysis of the pulp of the fruit shows the following composition (per 100 gms):

Moisture 81.6%
Protein 0.8%
Vitamin C 76 mg/100 g
Carbohydrate 17.0%
Phosphorus 9 mg
Iron 1.8 mg
Calcium 4 mg

Citric acid is the major acid in the fruits, malic and oxalic acids being present in smaller amounts.

Medicinal Uses & benefits

  1. The unripe baer fruit increases thirst, lessens expectoration and biliousness.
  2. The ripe fruit is sweet, sour, and has flavour, not good for digestion; causes diarrhea in large doses.
  3. The fruit is useful in fevers and for wounds and ulcers.
  4. The seed is an aid to digestion.
  5. The dried ripe fruit is a mild laxative and expectorant.
  6. The fruit seed is astringent; tonic to the heart and brain; allays thirst.
  7. The berries are blood purifier and an aid to digestion.
  8. An ointment made of the seeds with some bland oil is locally used as a liniment in rheumatism.
  9. The plant is considered to have antitubercular properties.
  10. The seeds are also reported to have a sedative effect and recommended as a soporific.
  11. They are also prescribed to stop nausea and vomiting and for relief from abdominal pain in pregnancy.
  12. They are also given as an antidote to aconite poisoning, and used in poultices & other applications for wounds.
  13. The seeds are also used for the treatment of diarrhea.
  14. Badri is mentioned in the list of oral contraceptives.

Large-sized fruits, which just begin to turn yellow, are chosen for canning. They are deeply pricked and soaked in 2 per cent common salt solution. The concentration of the salt solution is incrlfa,sed every day by about 2 per cent till it becomes 8 per cent. Fruits are then transfeded to fresh 8 per cent salt solution, also containing 0.2 percent of pot. meta-bi-sulphite, and stored for 1-3 months. The fruits are' now washed in water till they become tender, and canned in the usual way in hot sugar syrup containing citric acid.

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