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What is Da Zao?

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  • Written By: Bess C.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Da zao, also known as the Chinese Jujube or Red Date, is a common plant native to China that is often used to relieve stress, ease upset stomach and reduce anxiety. It is also believed to cleanse and nourish the body's blood, it sometimes is indicated to treat high blood pressure and a-plastic anemia as well.

As a medicine, da zao is widely believed to have a tonifying effect on the spleen and stomach. It often is used to help relieve stress, prevent liver disease and relieve diarrhea. People who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks may benefit from the fruit as well.

Some users also claim that it helps clear the skin and give it a more youthful appearance. Da Zao may also help with anti-aging and illnesses associate with neurological function. Studies have shown it may be effective in inhibiting monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B), which is a gene that regulates neurotransmitters. An imbalance of MAO-B and can lead to such age-related illnesses as Parkinson's disease. MAO-B imbalance also contributes to such neurological illnesses as schizophrenia and depression. The da zao fruit may help to bring MAO-B back into balance.

The is widely believed to nourish and cleanse the blood. It often is indicated to help heal blood-related disorders such as high blood pressure and anemia. It also may help stunt the growth of tumors.

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The fruit is usually consumed after being dried and crushed into a powder. It often is used in tablet form or boiled in water to make a tea concoction. It is available in many herbal compounds or by itself. Products usually can be found at health food stores or online health food merchant websites.

The culinary uses of da zao are numerous as well. In several countries, the da zao fruit is dried and eaten as candied fruits, or served fresh, as an apple might be served in western countries. The sweet, warm flavor of the da zao fruit, also called a jujube, has contributed to the widespread use of the word ‘jujube’ to refer to a candy or treat. It can also be preserved in vinegar, made into a tea, wine or honey, or used as an ingredient in several dishes.

The scientific name for the da zao plant is ziziphus zizyphus, labeled first by Hermann Karsten in 1882. It is a durable plant, similar to a shrub, that grows small and close to the ground. Its fruit is small and oval-shaped, beginning green and with the consistency of an apple, but maturing to a reddish-color with a wrinkled skin, from which it gets its name Red Date. Reportedly, it is able to withstand almost any degree of heat, leading to widespread cultivation in several different climates, including China, Pakistan, India and parts of northern Europe. The popularity of the plant probably comes in part from the ease with which it can be grown.

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