Ziziphus (Zizyphus spinosa)

Traditional Indications

Ziziphus jujuba is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antinephritic, antioxidant, antiulcer, anxiolytic, aphrodisiac, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, cognitive enhancer, hypnotic, hypotensive, immunostimulant, sedative, tonic and vulnerary. (1)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Ziziphus is called Suan Zao Ren. Suan Zao Ren is sweet, sour and neutral and enters the Gallbladder, Heart, Liver and Spleen channels. Suan Zao Ren nourishes the Heart yin, tonifies Liver Blood and quietens the Shen (spirit) to treat irritability, insomnia, palpitations and anxiety due to deficiency. Suan Zao Ren specifically indicated to prevent abnormal sweating. (2)


Zizyphus possesses. ascorbic acid, thiamine, riboflavin-bioflavonoids and Pectin A and various chemical substances, Mauritine-A; Amphibine-H; Jubanine-A; Jubanine-B; Mucronine-D and Nummularine-B. Sativanine-E. Frangufoline, Ziziphine-A to Q, betulinic acid colubrinic acid, alphitolic acid, 3-O-cis-p-coumaroylalphitolic acid, 3-O-transp-coumaroylalphitolic acid, 3-O-cis-p-coumaroylmaslinic acid, 3-O-trans-pcoumaroylmaslinic acid, oleanolic acid, betulonic acid, oleanonic acid, zizyberenalic acid and betulinic acid, jujubosides A, B, A1 B1 and C and acetyljujuboside B and the protojujubosides A, B and B1, saponin, ziziphin, from the dried leaves of Z. jujube - 3-O-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1-2)-a-arabinopyranosyl-20-O- (2,3)-di-O-acetyl-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl jujubogenin. Saponin from leaves and stem are 3-O- ((2-O- alpha - D - furopyranosyl - 3-O- beta - D -glucopyranosyl) - alpha - L - arabinopyranosyl) jujubogenin and (6'''-sinapoylspinosin, 6'''-feruloylspinosin and 6'''-p-coumaroylspinosin. (1)

Zizyphus Spinosa has been widely used for the treatment of insomnia in oriental countries. A syudy found that the active constituent in Ziziphus, sanjoinine A augments pentobarbital-induced sleeping behaviours through the modification of GABA-ergic systems. (3)

A study in climacteric women with poor sleep quality concluded Zizyphus spinosa appears to be a relatively safe and effective short-term therapeutic option in improving daytime function. (4)

A randomised, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled trial looking at the efficacy and safety of suanzaoren for chronic insomnia disorder in adults concluded that the potential side effects of hypnotic medications hinder their clinical application thus, traditional Chinese medicine is considered as an alternative option for treating insomnia. (5)

1. Mahajan R, Chopda M. Phyto-Pharmacology of Ziziphus jujuba Mill- A plant review. 2009;3(6):320-9.
2. Info CH. Suan Zao Ren – Zizyphus seed – Sour Jujube seed – “Sour Date Seed” 2019.
3. Ma Y, Han H, Eun JS, Kim HC, Hong JT, Oh KW. Sanjoinine A isolated from Zizyphi Spinosi Semen augments pentobarbital-induced sleeping behaviors through the modification of GABA-ergic systems. Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin. 2007;30(9):1748-53.
4. Yeh C-H, Arnold CK, Chen Y-H, Lai J-N. Suan zao ren tang as an original treatment for sleep difficulty in climacteric women: a prospective clinical observation. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2011;2011:673813-.
5. Zhou Q-H, Wang H-L, Zhou X-L, Xu M-B, Zhang H-F, Huang L-B, et al. Efficacy and safety of suanzaoren decoction for chronic insomnia disorder in adults: study protocol for randomised, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled trial. BMJ open. 2017;7(4):e014280-e.



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