Da Zao – Jujube Date – Fructus Jujubae

Da Zao

English Name: jujube, date

Pharmaceutical Name: Fructus Jujubae

Medica Category: Qi-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Da Zao enters the Spleen and Stomach channels; it is sweet in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Da Zao?:

The Chinese Herb Da Zao is the dried, ripe fruit from the jujube tree known commonly as the Chinese (or red) date (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.). The jujube tree grows best in warm, dry climates with full sun and produces oval shaped, single stone fruits which ripen to a purplish-red color in the fall. The dates are harvested at this point, pitted, and sun-dried for use as medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Da Zao:

Da Zao tonifies the Spleen and Stomach to enhance their transformation and transport functions. It is often cooked into porridge or congee and consumed as food by people with weak digestive systems. It can, of course, be decocted/used in formula (in the manner one thinks of herbs being used as medicine).

Da Zao also tonifies blood when there are disorders present that are being caused by blood deficiency. Because Da Zao is a relatively mild herb/food tonifies both qi and blood, it is a great choice for persons who need to strengthen their overall health when they have been depleted by illness (or just by living life as the case may be).

Da Zao calms the shen in cases of concomitant Heart deficiency and Liver qi stagnation when there is disturbed sleep and emotional instability (e.g. mood swings, weepiness, outbursts of anger—as in the formula Gan Mai Da Zao Tang).

Da Zao is added to formulas in small amounts to help the different herbs work together more smoothly/synergistically. It also moderates the effects of some of the harsher herbs in a formula and prevents damage to the internal (zang fu) organ systems.