Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: Harvest mature fruits, remove flesh and seed shells, collect seeds and dry them
Dosage: 6 - 18 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Nourishes the Heart Yin and calms the spirit. Contains Fluid leakage.
Contraindications*: Should not be used when there is extreme Fire in the body nor in cases of severe diarrhea.
Common TCM formulas in which jujube seeds are used*:
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), jujube seeds are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit' category. These herbs are substances that tranquilize the mind and treat symptoms such as restlessness, palpitations, anxiety or insomnia. They tend to have sedative properties by tonifying Heart Yin and Blood as in TCM it is believed that the Heart is the store of the mind.
Furthermore jujube seeds are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that jujube seeds typically don't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin excess. The Neutral nature of jujube seeds means that you don't have to worry about that!
Jujube seeds also taste Sour and Sweet. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sour ingredients like jujube seeds help with digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of fluids from the body, such as diarrhea or heavy sweating. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such jujube seeds are thought to target the Gallbladder, the Heart and the Liver. Similar to modern medicine, in TCM the Gall Bladder stores and releases bile produced by the Liver. It also controls the emotion of decisiveness. In addition to regulating blood flow, the Heart is believed to be the store of the "spirit" which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and body fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.
A study on mice suggested that Jujube seeds possess anxiolytic effect at lower doses and sedative effect at higher doses1
1. WH Peng, MT Hsieh, YS Lee, YC Lin, J Liao (2000). "Anxiolytic effect of seed of Ziziphus jujuba in mouse models of anxiety". Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 72, Issue 3, Pages 435-441.